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Fiction. Paranthropus. Phenotype is the physical manifestation of an organism’s genes. Louis Leakey employed Jane Goodall at the National

Museum in Nairobi, Kenya.




oon after Mindy

Pitre, assistant

professor of


started teaching at

St. Lawrence, she

recognized the need to bring

course material to life in a more

visual and collaborative

manner. Together with Holly

Hunold ’13, medical illustrator,

and Nicole Burt, curator of

human health and evolutionary

medicine at the Cleveland

Museum of Natural History,

she created a card game,

“Origins: An Evolutionary

Journey,” which makes

learning complicated evolution

concepts easier than ever.

“Origins is the first of its kind

for biological anthropology

courses,” Pitre says. “It teaches

students about the nature of

humanity from both a

biological and cultural

perspective, and it allows the

instructor to disguise learning

as fun. In fact, Pitre’s former

student, Heather Raimer ’17,

agrees, “The format of the game

makes sure you are able to

articulate ideas, identify groups

of similar concepts, and

describe, point out, or draw

associated images or features.”

Through the game, students

learn about the history of

evolutionary thought, the fossil

and genetic evidence for human

evolution, the origins of

language and culture and

human biological

diversification. This, Heather

says, “is a way to both help

review key concepts, realize

what we might need to study

more and provide another

presentation of the material.”

The game consists of cards

like ‘Guess WHO’ and

‘ARTifact,’ which are “color

coded by overarching concepts

and drawn by one of Pitre’s

former students,” Heather says.

“It has a few different ways to

play; we can do a quick review

as a group going through the

cards specific to a section, but

there is also a competitive way

to play as teams. You get points

for getting things right and

there are ways to steal players

from other teams.”

The excitement surrounding

the game, which was also

recently profiled on


has led to many new ideas.

“We have been throwing

around the idea of expansion

packs for the game, even

creating a Human Osteology

version,” Pitre says. “We love

hearing about how it’s being

used in the classroom to

increase student learning

outcomes. At the beginning the

student are always a bit

nervous…but in the end it’s

hard to get them to stop.”


Evolution: The Card Game