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Study Thyself, Learn Thyself

Brandee Gillham recalls a single insight from Colorado State University professor Mark Frasier and it really stuck with her.

Frasier’s line (as recalled by Brandee): “You really should be studying the body you carry around with you every single day.”

Here at Anatomy in Clay® Learning Systems, we agree!

Shout it from the rooftops!

Can you imagine a world in which we made the study of human anatomy as important as 2 plus 2?

To Brandee Gillham, the comment stuck.

“I thought, you know, that really is a wise statement,” she recalls today. “I just loved the perfect design of the human body, so for me I was really intrigued to go ahead and study it.”

After one “incredibly long” year of teaching math and science in a public school, Brandee found a summer teaching position at Morgan Community College (in Fort Morgan, Colorado). The professor she was teaching under said he preferred not to teach a human anatomy class that summer and Brandee encountered her first Anatomy in Clay® Learning System models, sitting in the classroom on the back tables.

“I thought, ‘this is really cool, this is really neat, this is what we need,’” says Gillham. “Instead of rote memorization where you’d rather poke your eye out, it was actually engaging. It was hands-on.”

For four years, Brandee taught with the Anatomy in Clay® system at Sheridan College in Wyoming before taking a break to raise a family. Today, she homeschools those two boys and uses the system for anatomy lessons with them. (Those kids will grow up knowing the body they carry around with them every day!)

The boys have even helped Brandee come up with new ways to teach anatomy, suggesting to their mom that roll out “worms” of clay to show the gyri (ridges) the sulci (depressions) of the cerebral cortex. “It really did change how I taught the brain,” she says, adding that she uses the manual extruder to ensure the clay is a consistent size.

Today, Brandee Gillham gives professional developments for teachers all over the country—at conferences, at the non-profit Anatomy in Clay® Centers in Denver, and at arranged one-day and two-day classes as needed.

The key to Brandee about the hands-on approach?

“It’s not just rote memorization,” she says.

Memorization means “fast facts that are gone with the vapor. This puts it in their hands, and they can take it with them, and they’re prepared in their classroom. I love that about our professional developments.”

Brandee knows, in her words, that it will “revolutionize” how they teach anatomy.

It’s also great, she says, for all grade levels—from grade school (witness her own homeschool kids) to college and with professional doctors, nurses, or anyone who works with or needs to know the human body (that’s a long list!).

“Anyone who wants to learn about their body can learn about it using this system,” says Brandee.

Anybody, that is, who wants to study the body they carry around with them every day.



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