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When Wilma Met Fred

A Human Evolution Case



Author:

Bruno Borsari
Biology Department
Winona State University
bborsari@winona.edu

Abstract:

This "clicker case" follows a professor and his students in a study abroad course in Tanzania who are searching for human fossils in an effort to better understand where humans come from. The case story, presented as a PowerPoint presentation, is complemented by a classroom game that mimics modern TV shows where people look for an ideal "soul mate." Students are challenged to identify in the audience mates of the same species through clues disclosed by the instructor. The case and game facilitate learning about human evolution and the physical/cultural characteristics of a few, selected species of early hominins. Developed for a non-majors' introductory biology course, the case is also suitable for courses in evolution, natural history, biological anthropology, and general biology for majors with modifications. Although designed as a clicker case using PowerPoint slides (1.3 MB) with embedded questions that students answer in class, the case can be adapted for use without these technologies.

Objectives:
  • Understand the environment - both physical and social - in which early humans and their recent ancestors evolved and how this has led to what we think of as uniquely human characteristics.
  • Learn the physical and cultural differences among early hominins of the genus Homo.
Keywords: Human evolution; hominin; Homo erectus; Homo habilis; Homo neanderthalensis; Neanderthal; Neandertal; Homo sapiens; Pleistocene; Tanzania
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF, PowerPoint
Type/Method: Clicker, Interrupted, Role-Play
Language: English
Subject Headings: Evolutionary Biology   Anthropology   Biology (General)  
Date Posted: 1/25/2011
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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