Teaching

Aerial view of Blodgett Hall, an extravagant stone building in Vassar College

Blodgett Hall, home of Vassar’s Anthropology Department, in promotional material from HBO’s Sex Lives of College Girls (image source)

Biological Anthropology Curriculum @ Vassar College

Anth 120 – Human Origins (Syllabus-Spring 2022)
Anth 211 – Virtual Anthropology (“Intensive,” Syllabus-Spring 2022)
Anth 223 – Primate Behavioral Ecology (Pandemic edition; Syllabus–Fall 2020)
Anth 224 – Race and Human Variation (Pandemic edition; Syllabus–Fall 2020)
Anth 322 – Human Evolutionary Developmental Biology (Syllabus-Spring 2021)

Other anthropological offerings

ENST 177 – Prehistoric Perspective on Climate Change (Syllabus–Spring 2022)
Anth 235 – Central Asian Prehistory (Syllabus-Fall 2017)
Anth 305 – A New Human Species (Syllabus-Spring 2017)

Other links:

Anth 235 student-written wiki: Central Asian Prehistoric Sites (2017)
Anthropology Department website
Materials for Resampling in R Workshop (Vassar URSI program, 12 June 2020)

Biological anthropology lab activities20150922_194319

Lab activities create hands-on opportunities for students to learn about data collection, hypothesis testing, and other concepts. Below are links to posts describing labs I developed for different courses, mainly at Nazarbayev University, and which you can use in your own classes if you wish. Included also is the link to the materials from the R workshop from the 2016 American Association of Physical Anthropologists conference.

Brain size and scaling – virtual activity

Estimating students’ brain sizes

Sexual size dimorphism

Estimating Miocene ape body mass

Do toe bones make Ardipithecus a biped?

Primate limb proportions

Determining fossil species

Estimating hominin brain size

Chimpanzee developmental osteology

Materials from the R workshop (AAPA 2016)

12 thoughts on “Teaching

  1. Pingback: A new year of bioanthro lab activities | Lawn Chair Anthropology

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  3. Pingback: Bioanthro lab activity: Sexual dimorphism | Lawn Chair Anthropology

  4. Pingback: Bioanthro lab activity: Hominin brain size | Lawn Chair Anthropology

  5. Pingback: Updated bioanthro syllabi | Lawn Chair Anthropology

  6. Hi Dr. Cofran,

    If you don’t mind my asking, for your Bioanthro lab activity: Primate proportions, it looks as though you are having your students use the raw MeshLab measurement and then creating indices with that. Am I interpreting that correctly? Or are you converting the raw unit measurement into mm? Apologies if this was made apparent somewhere in the documents you have uploaded, I was just curious as I am crafting something that uses similar techniques that I hope to also convert into a classroom activity. Thanks so much for any information you can give!

    Best,
    Jessica Skinner

    • Hi Jessica,
      I’ll need to review this exercise (it’s syllabus time!) but I think that the measurements are already in mm. I could be wrong. Either way, if you’re making indices they will become dimensionless so it shouldn’t matter (although students may get suspicious if a marmoset has a smaller humerus than a macaque). I hope this helps!
      Zach

  7. Hi Zach,

    Thanks so much for your response! I feel you, it is definitely that time again. This was a big help as I am working with some skeletal material, and most of the measurements I am conducting are dimensionless, but I was playing around with MeshLab and testing some of its capabilities and had a brainwave for using it in Lab. Here’s to a successful semester for you!

    Cheers,
    Jess

  8. Pingback: #AAPA2017 – Modularity & evolution of the human canine | Lawn Chair Anthropology

  9. Pingback: New anthropology syllabi for 2017 | Lawn Chair Anthropology

  10. Dr. Cofran,
    I am a HS Biology teacher who tries to use hominid anthropology examples as data sets and to teach evolution as much as possible. I have been using 3D printed crania and mandibles for the past two years but have always wanted to dive deeper. A- May I use/modify your published labs in my classroom giving you full credit of course? B- I have had several people on twitter ask how they can dive deeper into hominids, do you mind if I publicize your page to other HS teachers on Twitter, so they can also see your labs? I would be tagging Science teachers….but you know how twitter goes. Thank you for all that you do and whatever you decide I more than understand. -Dan

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