I should’ve done this when I audited botany

This fall I’m going to be teaching the mammalogy lab. This is going to be something of a stretch, since I actually study plants and insects — and I’m already trying to get a grip on the material. I haven’t put in any real memorization-based studying in a long time, but I’ve got my coyote skull, and I’m going to learn the names of all the bits, dammit.

One thing that helps: Genius, a freeware flashcard-creator and study tool. I spent my first time with the skull creating a list of flashcard-type associations between the bones of the skull and their descriptions, and now the program can quiz me. Incredibly, this seems to be working: I know the zygomatic process of the maxilla from the condyloid process after just a few minutes-long sessions.

My only complaint about Genius, so far, is that it’s only for Macs, which prevents me from offering to share the flashcard files with my students.

Canis latrans skull
Photo by boneman_81.
  • so you can make visual flash cards not just word based question and answers? cause this could be useful for anatomy once that starts

  • No, Genius is text only. The trick, for me, has been to have use descriptions for the questions (i.e., “Two bones joined at the mandibular symphysis to form the mandible.”) and then a simple, easy-to-type answers (“dentary bones”), since the quizzing component requires you to type your answers.

    I’ve also usually studied with an unlabeled skull handy, so I’m getting the visual cues as well as the descriptive stuff.