Bertha Vazquez

SEA Homeschoolers

Online Conference Series Speaker

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Bertha Vazquez

Bertha Vazquez is a retired science teacher who taught middle school for 34 years in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. She is the education director at The Center for Inquiry, an international nonprofit organization that promotes reason and science. She runs several CFI projects, including the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES), Generation Skeptics, and ScienceSaves. Her multi-faceted approach to teaching climate science has been featured in the New York Times, NPR, Earth magazine, and a book and film series by Lynne Cherry titled, Empowering Young Voices for the Planet. Her efforts awarded her the 2008 National Environmental Education Charles C Bartlett Award, among others. She is the editor and contributing author of the book, On Teaching Evolution, published in 2021. Ms. Vazquez has also worked on several translation projects, including translating Maria Jinich’s book into English, A Brief History of Four Billion Years of Evolution: Understanding Darwin. Thanks to her work in evolution education, the National Association of Biology Teachers awarded her the 2017 Evolution Educator Award, and the National Center for Science Education is awarding her this year’s Friend of Darwin Award.

November 4, 2023
3:40pm ET/12:40pm PT

The Skull Comparison Investigation without the Expensive Skulls

Brought to you by The Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Biology

Comparing the human skull to other primates and extinct hominids is considered an important lab activity in high school biology. There are many versions of this lab available, where students can compare the similarities and differences between the different species and observe the pattern of the gradual accumulation of traits over time, leading to modern humans.

Unfortunately, skull models can be very expensive; some sets can cost thousands of dollars. This investigation is cost-prohibitive for many educators and families. The Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science has created a skull comparison investigation that can be completed at no cost. The activity includes a slide show explaining each measurement the students will take (facial slope, prognathism, cranial cavity capacity, etc.); as well as informational handouts, a blank data tables for collecting data, links to Smithsonian’s 3D skull collection, and final assessment questions.

During this session, Ms. Vazquez will show the attendees where to access all the free materials to successfully complete this activity and walk the attendees through the basics of the lesson, so that they are able complete it with their learners in their home or co-op.

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