Teaching Tools

The COVID-19 pandemic forced all of us to be innovative with our pedagogical strategies to accommodate student needs in the remote and hybrid learning environments. Here are several virtual activities that I designed for my introductory archaeology and anthropology courses at The College of Wooster; activities which can directly or through modification be also adapted to an in-person environment. I intend to continue developing more “traditional” activities as well as incorporating online and virtual learning opportunities into my classrooms, so I will continue to update this page with further activities as I develop them. Feel free to use these or modify these for your own classes as you see fit.

Google Earth Survey

The objective of this activity is to encourage students to learn about the geological and physical features that archaeologists use to find archaeological sites using aerial maps and imagery, and to use this knowledge to find actual and potential archaeological sites in a geographic region of their interest. The students must present their final product by making a Google Earth aerial survey presentation.

This activity is accompanied by two videos, and a set of downloadable instructions.

Video 1: How to detect archaeological sites
Video 2: How to make a Google Earth Aerial Survey Presentation (silent video)

Screenshot of one of the steps in this PowerPoint-based activity


This multi-step Powerpoint-based activity helps students understand how data for reconstructing paleoclimates can be collected from sources beyond long-term weather observations, such as tree rings. In this activity, in addition to learning the fundamental mechanics of dendrochronology, students will also recognize the direct impact of climate on annual tree growth patterns. This assignment was inspired by another activity developed by the CEETEP at Oregon State University. In a virtual setting, the PowerPoint can be shared with students broken out into small groups, allowing them to to work on it together simultaneously.

Age and sex determination

The objective of this activity is to teach students how to determine the age and sex of human remains. In addition to learning about the mechanics and biological underpinnings of the process, in-class discussions also take a critical look at the challenges of sex determination, including the anthropologists’ tendency to falsely equate sex with gender.