More Outreach: A Return to KIPP, Year Five


I brought some friends to show variation in the mandibles of some apes and hominins.

This is the fifth (and likely final) year that I’ve visited the 8th graders at the KIPP school in Lynn, Massachusetts. Each Spring I visit for about three hours to talk about anthropology, evolution, and what life in college is like. This coincides with the time in the school year they are discussing evolution in their science classes.

In my most recent visit last week, the theme of the day was how all living things are biologically related, though we focused mostly on humans and other primates. In a way, all humans are ‘cousins’, as is everything that lives. I also brought some fossil casts with me to enhance the presentation, including a new addition to our lab at UMass Boston — that of a Gigantopithecus. Of course, it was a big hit. Who can resist the concept of Gigantopithecus?  

When I started doing this, I asked around if any teachers in the area wanted me to come speak with their students. Only one teacher responded, and she kept inviting me back each year. This time she told me that she’s moving on to another position, so it will likely be my last year visiting KIPP unless something changes. I may have to find another way to share anthropology with middle schoolers.

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Another Trip to KIPP

This is the fourth year I’ve visited the 8th graders at the KIPP school in Lynn, Massachusetts to talk about anthropology and evolution for a few hours. Every year, their teacher has them write me thank you notes, about 90 in all over three classes. That alone makes the visit worth it.

KIPP 2014


Public Outreach: Sharing Anthropology Outside the University
Public Outreach 2: KIPP Lynn
More Public Outreach
KIPP Students Rock


KIPP Students Rock!

…as does their teacher, Ms. Bertrand. 

I just got a nice package in the mail today, full of seventy or so “thank you” notes for my visit to the three 8th grade classes at KIPP Lynn last week. I appreciate it, guys.

What really makes me smile are the notes that mention how students had their curiosity piqued or that they explored some idea further on their own.  That alone is worth the visit. Learning isn’t limited to school. It never stops, and the world is yours to explore.

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More Public Outreach

For the third consecutive year, I went back to the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) school in Lynn, Massachusetts to share a little biological anthropology with some 8th graders again. They have a beautiful new building, and I’m even more impressed by their students. The first class starts at 7:25am, and they were really bright young minds who asked lots of questions.  I was a little burnt out by the third class, but the students really kept me on my toes. The three hours actually flew by.

Their teacher, Ms. Bertrand, even had the class present me with an Honor Roll t-shirt. Do I have any ganas? Yup.

Related: Public Outreach 3: Sharing Anthropology with 8th Graders.

Public Outreach 2: KIPP Lynn

With classes and exams completed at UMass Boston, I finally feel like I have a little bit of breathing room.


Today, I visited KIPP Lynn for the second time, giving a presentation on evolution and cooperation for three 8th grade classes. It was necessarily condensed talk, but the students in all three classes were really engaged with terrific comments and questions. It’s been a while since I was in the 8th grade, and it’s hard to remember what that age was like, intellectually. Nonetheless, I thought they were really impressive kids, with bright futures ahead of them. 


Now to finish up some grading…


Related post: Public Outreach: Sharing Anthropology Outside the University (Apr 17, 2011) 

Public Outreach: Sharing Anthropology Outside the University

Work Hard. Be Nice.” – motto at the KIPP school in Lynn, Massachusetts

Over the past few months, I’ve done more voluntary outreach teaching than at any point in my past. In sum, I’ve spoken to four separate 4th grade classes in Cranston Rhode Island, three separate 8th grade classes at KIPP Lynn, and given five lectures to 50 year-old+ adults at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Boston. All of these presentations/ discussions were 40 to 90 minutes each, and pertained to primate biology/behavior, human biological variation, or the human fossil record. Why now?

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