Editor’s note: For the first time this fall, teachers and students at Piqua High School in Ohio used the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System. In July, we wrote about what they hoped and expected from using the system. (Read the preview here.) What follows is a recap of the semester.
“They loved it—they loved it,” said Scott Bloom, Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Ohio’s Piqua High School, located in greater Dayton.
The teacher who led students was Dana Pencil. The class was Human Body Systems. There were nearly 90 students this fall across three separate classes. Another 90 are registered for the second semester.
“It isn’t a full-blown anatomy course in the amount of detail, but it allowed kids to work with a wide variety of body systems and look at anatomy through the heath care lens,” said Bloom.
Piqua High School is a career-focused. The school culture strongly encourages students to plan their future—whether it’s college, career, vocation, or military. The health care strands are “very popular,” said Bloom.
The Human Body Systems class included units on blood pressure, simulating blood typing, urinalysis, DNA fingerprints, lung volume work and learning Spirometry, and more.
“A wide variety of topics,” said Bloom. The students built anatomical parts in clay on the Anatomy in Clay® MANIKEN® model as a kick-off to each unit.
Teacher Pencil, said Bloom, “just told me last week that it’s been the absolute favorite part of the class for the kids to be able to work with Anatomy in Clay MANIKENS.”
The hands-on work, said Bloom, was “really interesting because for the most part the kids had a real lack of knowledge. For instance, where basically everything fit inside the body cavity.”
It’s one thing to think you know, isn’t it?
And another to put it all together.
“It wasn’t until they started actually building them that they realized, ‘hey, this doesn’t really fit where we think it fits,’” said Bloom. “It really helped them visualize how the organization of the internal organs was laid out in the human body. She (teacher Pencil) said she could not have done it without the MANIKENS.”
At times, Bloom stepped into the classroom to help teach, too. “The kids absolutely loved it,” he said. “It has really made a big difference for us in being able to demonstrate how the body systems are organized—everything from the digestive and muscular systems, down to the nervous system—they have been able to model anything they needed to.”
One minor glitch?
Bloom said students needed time to learn how to manipulate the clay. Maybe they had used PLAY-DOH as young children, he said, but as high school students today they needed to refine their grasp of clay and making shapes.
“Isn’t that weird?” he said. “That was the biggest learning curve, learning how to construct something out of a block of clay. Their clay work had eroded a little bit. It took a bit of time for them to get familiar with the shape of it and the scale—that, ‘wait a minute, the heart is not five times bigger than the lungs.’ That kind of thing.”
Hats off, Piqua High School! Here’s hoping the second semester is as good as the first.