Virtual Field Trip to the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Hall of Human Origins

Part of Hall of Human Origins.

Welcome to a virtual field trip to the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Hall of Human Origins! This field trip is designed for students in grades 9-12 to explore how hominins have changed over time.

This activity is modular to give teachers flexibility in how they assign components to their students. The Virtual Hall Tour and Student Investigation are the core assignment.  The extension activities are meant to provide opportunities for deeper student engagement.

Two skeleton, one modern human and one Neanderthal, on display in the Hall of Human Origins.
New research suggests the larger bodies of modern humans, shown here in the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins, are genetically linked to their bigger brains.
© AMNH/D. Finnin

For more information about how to adapt this activity for your students, standards-alignment, and answer keys, download a Teacher's Guide:


Core Activity: Virtual Hall Tour and Student Investigation

Students will use Google Arts and Culture to take a virtual tour of the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins starting with the three skeletons at the entrance. Ask students to explore the hall and find: 

  • The model of the Australopithicus afarensis couple walking arm-in-arm
  • Four dioramas of hominins over time

Then, students will complete a worksheet using the photos in the PDF for reference. 



Extension Activities

Virtual Lab Experience

To deepen student engagement with this content, you may choose to add a Virtual Lab Experience to explore Genetics or Human Evolution. These virtual labs include video tutorials and hands-on activities. 

Reading Assignment

Students can prepare for their virtual visit by reading a non-fiction text about human evolution titled "Evolution: How it Works." This reading can help introduce the topic or serve as a content refresher to help frame their investigation.

Student Writing Task

Based on your reading and your exploration of the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Hall of Human Origins to synthesize in writing what you learned about human evolution. Be sure to:

  • define evolution and variation
  • Using the reading, explain the physical and behavior changes that has occurred in the human lineage over time.
  • describe the evidence that sports how we know these changes have occurred
  • include a chart that highlights the major differences between humans and the other species.

Support your discussion with evidence from the reading and the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins.

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