UMSL Students' Reflections

"My visit to the Center for Human Origin and Cultural Diversity (C.H.O.C.D.) was very insightful and informative. Upon entering C.H.O.C.D., I became reluctant. Social studies was not my favorite subject because it was difficult for me to remember facts and dates and I was never given any opportunity for hands-on learning. Therefore as the speaker began to talk about C.H.O.C.D. and use terms such as anthropology and archeology, I sat back in my chair and prepared my mind for information overload. But I became immediately alert when asked to move over to a table in the corner of the room.

"My visit to C.H.O.C.D. was very informative and I learned a lot of valuable information. I felt like a sponge; soaking up as much information as I could. I could not remember the last time I had been that excited about learning social studies. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the presentation, listening to every word that was being said. I left C.H.O.C.D. feeling confident about what I had learned and was eager to share what I had learned with others."

"C.H.O.C.D. is a place I would definitely want to take my students to. After my discussion with my colleagues, one of them said to me "Wow, I can tell you are really excited about this." I responded by saying "I am. It was really exciting. I learned a lot of new things. I never would have thought that learning social studies could be so much fun!"

"I believe that the lesson about skin color and its relation to the equator was a great lesson about diversity. This lesson allows students to understand why people have different skin color determined by how close their ancestors lived next to the equator. This is also a good geography lesson. Students will learn map skills as well as the concept of skin color. I found this lesson one of the most meaningful, throughout my experience at CHOD because it takes a sensitive topic, such as skin color and discusses differences scientifically and not judgmental at all."

"I observed four areas of social studies being taught at the CHOCD. The first, history, dealt with the origins of humans and how humans progressed over time. The second, geography, dealt with the location of people of different skin tone across the globes, the locations of ancient humans on Earth, and the geographic and weather conditions that determine how people live. The third social studies area covered, anthropology, dealt with the ways ancient people lived and the way modern people live in Africa and how their culture is both different and the same as American culture. The fourth area I observed, sociology, dealt with the organizations and groups in modern African culture."

"The C.H.O.C.D. lab was a great learning experience. I learned so much about culture that I never knew about. I think this program is great for all ages. I think that all of the things that were taught to me in this lab are so important to know about. In addition, the way these topics were presented will really make a child want to learn. When they are involved in so much activity, they will be more interested in learning the topic, because they are having fun. I think that everyone should experience these labs at some point in their life."

"After visiting the Center, I have thought about how many ways the information from the Center could be incorporated into all of the disciplines that I will teach: social studies, science, mathematics, and communication arts. "

"The CHOCD was able to provide me with not only creative and informative ways to approach cultural diversity in the classroom, but also identified many misconceptions that I had and could have ultimately passed on to my future students."

"The activities that were selected by the program obviously had a lot of thought and planning behind them. The criterions discussed in the text were evident in all of the activities. Each one was useful in achieving an objective, clarified an important concept, required careful thinking, was an accurate representation, was reasonable in space and expense (only $8!!), and had the needed materials available. The most prevalent aspect for me was that it reinforced prior knowledge. I have taken various anthropology courses, and none of them embedded the information in my mind as well as the activities that were presented in the C.H.O.C.D. The activities for the students lend themselves easily to the science, language, reading, and math curriculum."

"Overall, I feel that CHOCD is an extremely useful tool that can help a young student get a realistic view of humans and how we have evolved through the years. The center gives a person a chance to stimulate their thinking. Whether it is understanding how the environment can impact one's diet or how the sun can affect the darkness of one's skin, the center provides a comfortable atmosphere that is conducive to exploring these concepts. This center has done an excellent job of providing a hands-on approach to learning. By being able to touch the fossils and artifacts, this creates a more meaningful experience than just reading about it in a book. The format used to teach the material is clearly designed to be interactive between the student and the presenter. I liked the format because it makes it easy for a student to ask questions and explore concepts with the other students that are also participating. I would recommend this center not only to students, but to their parents as well."

"I would have to say that the field trip was greatly informative. The Center was set up in a manner that encouraged its visitors to be interested in the tour. I felt like I had actually flown to Africa for real. The artistry in the center was set up great, and the slides also seemed to capture the moment. The play that we participated in, fits in great with the field trip as well. I indeed feel that this method of learning is affective, and I would certainly be interested in learning this way again. Oh and the food preparation station in which we were able to churn the corn gave me a clear visual of what life would be like in Africa. It was also interested to see that Africa is not constructed in the manner that it is stereotyped to be. It was interesting to see that Africa has cities just as we do. My picture of Africa is certainly different after attending this field trip. C.H.O.C.D. was a great field trip."