Student Spotlights: Human Evolution Traveling Trunk Kit at New Mexico State University

Kylin is the third of our student highlights this week and is working on an education project for the University Museum of New Mexico State University.

Kylin Cummings
M.A. Candidate in Anthropology
Specializations in Biological Anthropology and Museum Studies
New Mexico State University

Graduate Internship Project: Development of a Traveling Trunk in the University Museum of New Mexico State University for Human Evolution K-12 Educational Outreach

A human evolution traveling trunk kit is currently being developed at New Mexico State University in order to provide an educational outreach tool for the University Museum.  This trunk kit will be available to K-12 teachers to use in their classrooms as an alternative source when teaching about this subject matter.

A kit such as this will greatly aid 6th and 7th grade teachers in meeting learning standards mandated by the State of New Mexico.  The kit will provide educators more options to utilize while teaching their students about evolution and adaptations of Homo sapiens and their ancestors. 

The goal of this kit will be to identify these fossil hominins using morphological features of the craniums and to examine the differences in the encephalization and cranial capacities of these species.  It will also stimulate curiosity and encourage exploration for these students, especially in regard to human evolution which is often under served in the target audience.

The University Museum can also use this kit to expand and enhance community-based science and anthropology education within the museum.  The advantage of the production of a traveling trunk kit is that the teachers can bring their students to the museum where the kit can be used as an additional activity during their field trip or when resources and funding are not available for field trips, the teachers can be provided training by knowledgeable museum staff members and introduce the activity to their students in their classrooms.