Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden osteoarchaeologists hold an online class for Italian schoolchildren

Postdoctoral researcher Veronica Tamorri and a PhD candidate Maia Casna held an online osteoarchaeological class for secondary school children. However, based on reactions, the exchange of ideas seemed to go both ways.

Veronica and Maia holding the class in the Laboratory for Human Osteoarchaeology.

How it all came together

Already a few months ago, Veronica Tamorri gave a speech to the students of Rosetta Rossi School in Rome. A teacher at the school invited her to share her experience of working and living abroad. "When I was there", Veronica explains, "we discussed the idea to host a proper osteoarchaeology class from the Lab in Leiden because the pupils were very interested." As the class was going to be taught in Italian, Veronica invited her colleague and fellow Italian osteoarchaeologist, Maia Casna, to join her in this little project.

Expanding the knowledge

As the students taking the class, aged between 12 and 13, have just finished studying the human body as a part of their Science course, that was a great base to build upon and introduce them to the ways skeletons and bones are used in archaeology to learn more about the past populations.

Thus, in class, students had an opportunity to learn more about the field of osteoarchaeology and the work the researchers do. Veronica and Maia also introduced them to differences between skeletons of different ages and sex, as well as the effects of some common diseases on bones. At the end of the class, the students played a quiz game and demonstrated an impressive understanding of the human body, exceeding expectations.

The osteoarchaeology class as seen in the Rosetta Rossi school.

Mutual exchange

The students learned a lot, but our researchers also had an inspirational experience. “I think sometimes we give for granted that children lack understanding or knowledge on many things, but you always find out they actually know and understand much more than you expected. It is somehow very refreshing to talk about your research with children once in a while. Many fun ideas come from it!”, Maia explains.

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