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Sackler Educational Laboratory

Take part in a virtual lab experience with the Hall of Human Origins Educational Laboratory!

The Human Evolution Activity was designed for students in grades 6-8. The Genetics Activity is for students in grades 9-12.

Human Evolution

This activity is designed for students in grades 6-8 to collect and analyze data with scientists from the Human Origins Educational Laboratory. Students will explore how humans have evolved and determine the evolutionary relationships among modern humans and our extinct relatives. 

Virtual Lab Worksheet 

Students can use this worksheet to collect data while going through the three part activity.

Worksheet for Hall of Human Origins Educational Laboratory virtual lab experience

Three-part activity

Part I: What are the major changes that have taken place in human evolution? 

Start by watching this video clip. Make notes about how humans have evolved over the past 7 million years.

Part II: Comparing hominin and ape anatomy

Begin by watching this video tutorial and then explore the Meet the Relatives activity. Fill out the data table on your question sheet. 

Part III: Determining evolutionary relationships

Watch this instructional video and use the data table that you filled out in the previous section to complete a cladogram (evolutionary tree). 

Additional Resources for Teachers

Teacher's Guide for the Virtual Lab Activity

Genetics

Collect and analyze data with scientists from the Human Origins Educational Laboratory.  Explore how scientists measure and study human genetic variation. 

Virtual Lab Experience: Three-part activity

Part I: Race and human health

Start by watching this video clip. Discuss why the concept of race is not considered a scientific concept and is not useful for studying genetic variation.

Part II: Comparing genetic variation using gel electrophoresis

Begin by going to the Genetic Science Learning Center simulation to practice doing gel electrophoresis. Next, based on the video tutorial,  construct a hypothesis predicting which species, humans (Homo sapiens) or chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), have more genetic variation. 

Part III: Comparing genetic variation using DNA sequencing

After watching this video clip, copy and paste the mtDNA sequences from your worksheet onto the EZBiocloud website to compare them. Examine the percent similarity between individuals from various populations. 

Virtual Lab Worksheet 

Use this worksheet to collect data while going through the three-part activity

Worksheet for Hall of Human Origins Educational Laboratory virtual lab experience 

Educator’s guide

Educator’s guide for genetics virtual lab experience

The Museum is deeply grateful to the Hall's lead benefactors Anne and Bernard Spitzer, whose marvelous generosity inspired and made possible the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins. The Museum also extends its gratitude to The Mortimer D. Sackler Foundation, Inc., Katheryn C. Patterson and Thomas L. Kempner, Jr., Arlene and Arnold Goldstein, the Honorable Lucy Wilson Benson, and the Stout Family for their generous support.

The Museum greatly acknowledges The Mortimer D. Sackler Foundation, Inc. for its support to establish The Sackler Brain Bench, part of the Museum's Sackler Educational Laboratory for Comparative Genomics and Human Origins, in The Spitzer Hall of Human Origins, offering ongoing programs and resources for adults, teachers, and students to illuminate the extraordinary workings of the human brain.

Select Sackler Educational Labs are offered free of charge to school groups through the Con Edison STEM Days Out program.