Human Anatomy at Colby

Entries Tagged as 'Special Activities'

Alexandria Lucas: Meeting with High School Anatomy Students

February 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on Alexandria Lucas: Meeting with High School Anatomy Students

Alexandria Lucas_237129_assignsubmission_file_ALucasSophMajorPic

In high school, I never had an opportunity similar to this one in which I was able to visit a college science class and interact so directly with the college students and the material they are learning. Not only did they get to come and visit, but they were able to dissect a pig’s heart and we were there to help them do it! I do not know what have been a cooler fieldtrip in high school than this one.

It was very interesting and engaging because as we walked around and took them through the lab exam we had just taken, they could identify some of the anatomy and share knowledge about things we may not have learned because they too were currently in an anatomy class. In addition, it was helpful to be in the teaching role as we described and identified the anatomy on the different models. I think this truly works as a way to understand and learn the material better, and is not often a position that us college students are in. This particular lab test was on the heart, eye, ear, and the brain.


After taking them around our lab exam, we went downstairs to dissect the pigs’ hearts. Each group had their own heart to dissect, and it was both an opportunity for the students to learn about some of the anatomy we had just reviewed as well as to explore whatever pieces of the heart they found intriguing further. Some groups dove right into ripping apart the heart, while others took more reserved action and precise cutting to open the heart.


The purpose of this field trip was initially supposed to be meeting with the students to help them come up with ideas for the Maine Math and Science Alliance Science Fair. Because of our current class, we brainstormed ideas that directly related to anatomy and physiology, such as do different styles of music have an effect on the heart rate, or do different color filters of light effect pupil dilation in similar or varying ways.

Perhaps my favorite part of the day, which was the only unplanned part as it happened, was answering questions the group of students I was showing around had on college science classes, premed requirements, college class schedules, and more. Before I came to Colby, I truly had no idea what college was like, and needless to say I also had no idea how classes, lectures, exams, etc. operated. They were very curious about what a typical day looks like and what is different about high school classes versus college classes, and the two biggest things I shared were that exams make up very large portion of your grade particularly in science class, for very infrequently do you have daily homework assignments that significantly contribute to your grade like in high school. I also shared the much greater need for independent learning and studying in college, for it is your responsibility to make sure you understand the material covered in class during lecture and to study outside of class if you don’t. It was fun to be able to reflect on the time I have had here at Colby so far and share my learning and knowledge with students who will soon be headed off to college themselves.

Tags: Bi265j · Special Activities

Laurel Edington: MMSA Mentoring Session

February 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on Laurel Edington: MMSA Mentoring Session


One of my favorite parts of this month was mentoring high school students involved in the Maine Math and Science Alliance. Each grand rounds group was paired with two high school students. The two girls my group worked with were named Shea-Lynn and Cierra. Shea is a home-schooled junior and Cierra is a sophomore at Dover-Foxcroft. The plan for the day was to show them around the lab, talk to them about anatomy and physiology, and help them come up with ideas for a science fair project.

Before the students arrived, we took our second lab practical and then walked around talking about the answers to the exam so that we could show the high school students what we have been learning over the past week.


IMG_5584            When they arrived and we were in our groups, we went through the entire exam with them. We all looked at the models and slides, explained the answers to each question, and explained the functions of each anatomical structure. This was great because it reinforced the material. Over the past few days I had been trying to memorize all of the structures of the neurons/spinal cord/brain, eyes and ears, and the cardiovascular system. By explaining the structures and functions to Shea and Cierra, it helped me to learn and understand the material even more.


After the lab tour, each group dissected another pig heart since there were some hearts left over from the week before. I was really excited that I was able to be involved in a dissection on this day because I wasn’t able to be in class when we did the dissections the week before. Shea and Cierra, although a little timid at first, dove right in and were able to find the aortic and pulmonary valves very quickly. They did the of the dissection while we instructed and did a little demonstrating.



The last part of the day (after a quick lunch break) was used to help the students come up with topics for science fair projects based on anatomy and physiology. Cierra’s family owns a farm with over 50 beef cows so she wanted to do a project based on livestock. Together, we all came up with the idea of seeing how different types of food affect the growth of the cows. If she did this project, she was thinking of finding the mass and other size measurements for the cows of different ages and comparing the measurements between the cows that were fed hay and the cows that were fed grain. Shea was interested in determining if different emotions caused changes in blood pressure and heart rate. We talked about having people watch different videos that would cause them to experience different emotions and then she would take heart rate and blood pressure measurements before and after the videos to detect any changes. This day was very rewarding because we were able to reinforce what we have been learning, help high school students become excited about science, and we were able to have a great time.



Tags: MMSA Mentoring Session · Special Activities

Ariel Oppong: A Memorable Aspect of Anatomy and Physiology- ART!

February 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on Ariel Oppong: A Memorable Aspect of Anatomy and Physiology- ART!

Ariel Oppong_237134_assignsubmission_file_colby id possible pic

During the first week of class we made a trip to the Colby Art Musuem. Since the Art museum opened during the summer of 2013 I had only actually participated in one small tour. I feel like a version of myself enjoys art and objectively recognizes its value but a version of myself that is more present on campus does not really have the time or make the efforts to appreciate art. Thus, I was happy we went.

While we were there we completed a scavenger hunt that required our knowledge of different human muscles to find the art pieces that matched with eight different short stories and descriptions. We were allowed to work together or to work in groups of three or less.


After we completed the scavenger hunt we were asked to find a piece of artwork within the museum and to create our own question/description of the artwork with the central usage of a certain muscle being used by the characters or subjects in the artwork. For my question I decided to make focus on a 1997 piece of artwork called Leader by American artist, Betye Irene Saar. Born in Los Angeles, California in 1926, she has been known to incorporate collage and assemblages into statements of political and social protest.


In this picture, a strong woman is standing and maintaining the trunk of her body in a firm position. This position represents the woman’s strong presence in the family dynamic of families of this ancestry. Because of the importance of her stance as a symbol for other aspects of her womanhood, I decided to focus my piece on a large muscle that helps the main subject hold that stance: the gluteus Maximus.


The gluteus maximus is the largest and most superficial of the three-gluteal muscles (including the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus). The gluteus maximus is proximally attached to the outer surface of the ilium and is distally attached to the superior and lateral surfaces of the greater trochanter of femur. As the largest and strongest muscle in the body, the gluteus maximus is both important in being responsible for the movement of the hip bone and thigh but in also in creating a shape to the human body and creating the appearance of hips. I really enjoyed learning more about Betye Saar, her work, and her work’s impact on general society. At first our student created scavenger hunt questions were supposed to be consolidated into a new list of synopsis for high school students to look at when they came to visit Colby early the following week. However, due to some logistical issue the students were not able to complete the scavenger hunt. Instead of completing a hunt, the high school students completed a heart dissection with us, The day prior to the students’ arrival on campus we had completed an almost trial run like heart dissections on our own in the lab. I enjoyed learning on my own and then showing the high school students different anatomical parts of the heart because it allowed me to see what aspects of the lessons before I was and was not retaining.



Tags: Bi265j · Special Activities

Danielle Levine: Heart Dissection and MMSA Visit

February 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on Danielle Levine: Heart Dissection and MMSA Visit

Danielle Levine (’15, Biology)


While taking Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology this JanPlan, I was given the opportunity to perform a wet dissection of a pig heart. Having learned about the surface and blood vessel structural features via the study of powerpoint slides, listening to class lectures, and studying plastic models, the wet dissection gave me the opportunity to view the anatomy learned in an actual heart. Studying a list of anatomical features and seeing pictures of them on paper is a very different experience from actually getting one’s hands “dirty” and exploring a real heart and seeing what those structures actually look like.

Besides being able to dissect the heart in lab, one of my favorite activities of the semester was when during the following week we dissected another pig heart with visiting high school students, and were able to show them everything we had learned about the heart the week before. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a number of high school students from different schools in Maine visited Colby for the day as part of a collaboration between the Maine Math and Science Alliance and the Colby Goldfarb Center; we were able to show the students around the lab and talk to them about anatomy and physiology, as well as help them with potential science fair project ideas.

That day, our class began with a lab practical that covered the eye, the ear, and the nervous and cardiovascular systems before the high school students arrived; after we finished the exam, we met the high school students who would be spending the day at Colby with us. Each lab group of Colby students partnered with two high school students, my group with Cierra, a sophomore from Dover-Foxcroft, and Shea-Lynn, a home schooled junior. After introducing ourselves, we took the high school students on a tour of our lab, showing them all the different models we use to help us learn about human anatomy. In addition, we went over with them the lab practical exam that we just took, explaining what the answers were (of course, we had an answer key, and we had gone over the answers in class after we had finished the exam), and the physiological significance of the various anatomical structures identified. This was a very enjoyable experience, as not only did it reinforce my knowledge of the material, but it also gave me the opportunity to share that knowledge with these students by teaching them a little bit of anatomy and physiology.


After the lab tour, we had enough pig hearts left over from the previous week, and so we were able to dissect another pig heart, this time letting the high school students perform the dissection while we helped and taught them about the different structures and features of the heart they were looking at – this teaching was reinforced by the use of pictures and models of the heart.


After successfully dissecting the heart and exploring its anatomic features (and after lunch), we talked about potential Maine Science Fair project ideas for Cierra and Shea-Lynn; they came up with some interesting topics such as the effect of emotions on heart rate and blood pressure. The day was very rewarding, as it gave me a feeling of competence in that I was able to teach others material I had learned in the course – not to mention, it was also a lot of fun!

Heart1 Heart2

Pictures of two of the heart models we used to study the cardiovascular system and teach the high school students with.

Tags: Lab · Special Activities

Calvin Robbins: The Science Behind Run Til You Puke

February 23rd, 2015 · Comments Off on Calvin Robbins: The Science Behind Run Til You Puke


Have you ever heard of somebody exercising to the point of vomiting? Or have you done it yourself? I never have, but during the digestive system lecture of the BI 265 Human Anatomy and Physiology class this Jan plan I had a sudden realization as to why this happens.

While nausea may be a common feeling when working out due to food or liquids in the stomach being bounced around, that is not usually why we actually end up vomiting during hard exercise. In fact, one of the biggest causes starts with the respiratory system. The job of the respiratory system is to remove CO2 from the blood and replace it with O2. During exercise, cells produce CO2 as sugars are broken apart to make ATP, which the cell uses for energy. Some of the CO2 byproduct goes into the blood and attaches to hemoglobin, but the vast majority of CO2 is actually transported as carbonic acid, which induces respiratory acidosis. When a person is doing anaerobic activity, such as running at full speed for a long enough time, their lungs are unable to get all of this accumulating CO2 and carbonic acid out of the bloodstream thus creating increasingly acidic blood. It is not due solely to lactic acid as many people believe, but the inability to exchange enough gas in the lungs.

As the blood gets increasingly acidic, the body has to find a way to get rid of all of this acid. One of the main ways the body has of releasing acid, as you may have already guessed, is through vomiting. As you vomit, the hydrochloric acid used for digestion is expelled from the stomach, which is lined with highly vascularized rugae. As the acid is forced out of the stomach, the acidic contents of the blood are pulled out to replace the Hydrochloric acid that was lost from vomit. Following the same thought process, this is why excessive puking will produce alkalosis (high pH) in the blood.


If you vomit frequently after heavy exercise you should take a few steps to achieve a healthier and more beneficial workout:

  1. Base your workouts on a heart rate range.  This will force you to stay within a set range for aerobic exercise, which can be roughly calculated based on your age. Usually 85% of max heart rate is the highest you should be going for an aerobic workout to prevent acidosis.
  2. Drink plenty of water; if you are vomiting due to dehydration, it is a much more severe issue than acidosis. Steadily drinking water before, during, and after exercise will help, as well as a small amount of sports drink to replace some of the ions lost during the work out.

It takes a lot of anaerobic exercise for the body to get to the point of vomiting. This kind of activity, contrary to what some may think, is very bad for your body, and is not something to strive for in a hard workout. Remember to drink plenty of water and keep a reasonable heart rate target in mind for a healthy and effective workout.

Tags: Human Health · Lab · Special Activities

Lauren Shirley: Cardiology: Getting to the heart of the matter

February 22nd, 2015 · Comments Off on Lauren Shirley: Cardiology: Getting to the heart of the matter


One of the highlights of my experience in BI265j was the cardiac section and in particular, the heart dissections we got to do. I had a fairly solid understanding of the heart coming into the class from my EMT training. I knew that the blood came into the heart through the vena cava entered the right atrium passed through the tricuspid valve to the right ventricle, was pumped to the lungs through the pulmonary arteries to receive oxygen and then returned to the heart through the pulmonary veins into the left atrium then through the mitral valve to the left ventricle and out to the ret of the body through the aorta. What my EMT training had failed to teach me, however, was the beauty of this process, which is almost artful in its simplicity and elegance. This class gave me a greater appreciation of the elegance of the heart and the mechanisms behind its continuous beating. I was fascinated by the spread of electrical signal and its motion through the myocardium. The depolarization starting at the sinoatrial node, which spreads to the atrioventricular node then through the bundle of His and out to the Purkinje fibers is a highly linear path, simple yet powerful. While the lecture on the heart and studying plastic models in lab fascinated me, it was the opportunity to dissect the heart that truly solidified by understanding of it.


We dissected preserved cow hearts. Initially, I was impressed by the thickness of the muscle in the heart walls. It took quite a bit of work with a scalpel and scissors in order to get down into the different chambers of the heart. The sheer thickness of the walls and the work it took to get through them spoke to the sheer power of the heart as a muscle and the strength needed to supply a large body, such as a cow, with blood. Once inside the heart, I was fascinated by the sheer strength of the chordae tendinae, the fibers that keep backflow from occurring in the tricuspid and mitral valves. Despite pulling on these relatively thin cords, they didn’t tear! This further illustrated the necessary strength of the heart to me and the great pressure and quantity of blood that it pumps.


While it was really exciting to get to see a real life illustration of the models we had studies (that wasn’t color coded), it was even better to have a chance to share our newfound knowledge of the heart with the high school students who visited. I felt that teaching them what I knew solidified it in my mind. However, it was also exciting to see the “next generation” of young science students and how fascinated they were with the human body and its functions. I felt that my enthusiasm for cardiac function was almost contagious as I eagerly showed them how to dissect ad encouraged them to explore and understand the heart in front of them.





Long story short, this class got me pumped for cardiac anatomy and physiology and a possible career in cardiology. Ironically, I love the heart!

Tags: Bi265j · Lab · Special Activities

Bi265j Mentioned in the Goldfarb Center Newsletter!

January 30th, 2015 · Comments Off on Bi265j Mentioned in the Goldfarb Center Newsletter!

For the last two years the Goldfarb Center has generously supported a variety of activities in Bi265j Human Anatomy and Physiology through their Civic Engagement Course Development Grant. These activities include:

  • A tour of Maine General Augusta and a presentation of their Grand Rounds talks along side similar talks from Human A&P students at Kents Hill prepatory HS to the third year UNE medical students on clinical rotations.
  • Metabolic Analysis Lab in conjunction with the Waterville HS cross country team.
  • Development of an internship for a former Bi265j student shadowing a nurse pratitioner in the Inland Hospital system in conjunction with being a TA for the Bi265j class.
  • Bringing high school students interested in human A&P from a variety of regional school districts to campus for a day of mentoring by Bi265 students in collaboration with the Maine Math and Science Alliance. Activities included touring the anatomy lab, a hands-on pig heart dissection, and a brain storming session for helping the students develop human A&P based projects for the 2015 Maine State Science Fair.

These activities were recently mentioned in the latest Goldfarb Center newsletter which you can read here.

From myself and all of the Bi265j students at Colby and high school students from across the state that have benefited from the Goldfarb Center’s support, we give you our thanks. A special thanks to Alice Elliot, the Goldfarb Center’s Associate Director for her considerable logistical support and Amanda Cooley, the Assistant Director, for the write up in the GC newsletter.

Tags: Special Activities · Uncategorized

Human A&P Grand Rounds Presentations

January 23rd, 2015 · Comments Off on Human A&P Grand Rounds Presentations


Our Human Anatomy and Physiology class will be presenting a series of talks on various diseases this coming Wendesday, January 28th 2015 from 9 until 11 AM on Colby’s campus in the Olin 01 auditorium, beneath the Olin Science Library. Each of the five 15 minute talks will be followed by a brief Q&A and will cover the following topics:

  • Celiac Disease
  • Oligoastrocytoma
  • Atypical Hyperplasia of the Breast
  • Postpartum Coronary Artery Dissection
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting vs. Stent Implantation

The presentation is free and open to the public and light refreshments will be served.

Tags: Grand Rounds · Human Health · Special Activities · Uncategorized

High School Students Visit in Conjunction with Maine Math and Science Alliance and Colby Goldfarb Center

January 22nd, 2015 · 1 Comment

We were very lucky to have visitors to our class on Monday the 19th, MLK day, from a number of High Schools in Maine. The high schools included Lincoln Academy in Newcastle, Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft, and even a home schooled Junior. The visit was designed to help the ten visiting students get a better sense of human anatomy and physiology in the hope of developing science fair projects for the Maine State Science Fair being held on March 21st in Bangor. The day was organized in conjunction with the Maine Math and Science Alliance and the Colby Goldfarb Center. For my part I was hoping to drive the material further into the brains of my students by following the aphorism the person who comes to teach learns the keenest lesson, while inspiring the spirit of mentorship towards the visiting students. The day started for my students at 9am with a practical lab exam covering the anatomy of:

  • The central and peripheral nervous systems
  • The eye and ear
  • Sensory receptors
  • The cardiovascular system and blood

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The lab has been up in Arey 307, typically the turf of microbiology lab, but for a month transformed into a splendid anatomy lab.


Danielle Levine (’15, Biology) contemplating a synaptic bouton during the test.


Lauren Shirley (’17, Biology/Music) looking at a dissected pig heart and Ariel Oppong (’16, Biology) inspecting an eosinophil in a histologic blood smear.


Mayra Arroyo (’16, Biochemistry) peering through a stereoscope at the optic chiasm on the 3D plate of a dissected brain from the Edinburgh Stereoscopic Atlas of Anatomy published in 1911.

Following the lab test the high school visitors turned up. I had initially intended for the visitors to start with an Art & Anatomy scavenger hunt similar to the one that I had designed for my students last week in the Colby Museum of Art, except this one would be based on clues created by the Colby students themselves, however the timing didn’t workout with the visitors being able to visit on their day off from school and MLK day falling on a Monday, the day that the museum is typically closed.  Instead the students got to tour the lab and then participate in dissections of pig heart specimens. Rather than type out a description of the day I am simply going to reproduce the official event summary drafted by Stefany Burrell from MMSA, punctuated by annotated photos from the day taken by myself, Amanda Cooley of the Goldfarb Center and Stefany Burrell and Lynn Farrin of MMSA.

Notes from Colby J-Term Anatomy & Physiology Mentoring Session 1/19/2015

10:15    High school students from Lincoln Academy, Foxcroft Academy and a homeschool met Dr. Klepach’s class outside of the science buildings. It was a mild 40 degrees and sunny. Everyone headed into a lab in the Arey Building for an introduction.

10:30    Dr. Klepach welcomed the visitors and described his philosophy on science and teaching. The students were struck by his enthusiasm and knowledge. Many were inspired by his belief that teaching is learning.


Introduction by Stefany Burrell and Dr. Klepach.


Lynn Farrin (left) and Stefany Burrell (right) of the Maine Math and Science Alliance.

10:45    The students introduced themselves and the formed five groups, each with two high school students and three Colby students. Prior to this meeting, the class completed a lab exam. The exam consisted of approximately 30 questions in which students needed to identify various parts of human anatomy. The exam was broken into four sections: eyes, ears, nervous system and vascular system. As an icebreaker, the college students walked their charges through the exam, explaining what the physical models represent. The exam also included microscope slides, diagrams and a real pig hearts.


The Colby Human Anatomy and Physiology class started escorting their visitors around the test that they had finished less than an hour earlier. 


Lauren Shirley is discussing the chambers of the heart with her fellow Colby students, Allison O’Connor (’17) and Cal Robbins (’17, Cellular/Molecular Biology) to the left and Dover-Foxcroft HS sophomores Bonnie (second from right) and Erika (far right).


Mayra, flanked by her Colby group members Ivan Yang (’17, Cellular/Molecular Biology, left) and Chris Lee (’17, Cellular/Molecular Biology, right) points to structures on a model of the heart to help Lincoln Academy seniors Abby (second from right) and Andrea (far right) understand what they are seeing on the dissected pig heart in front of them.


Erika getting a chance to look at the Edinburgh stereoscope slides.


Ivan discussing a cross sectional model of the spinal cord.


Can (John), a Lincoln Academy freshman (center), inspects a left coronary artery dissection as Colby students Yvette Qu (’18, left) and Alex Lucas (’17, Neuroscience & Sociology) look on.

11:10    The group moved to another lab where they put on gloves and aprons to dissect pig hearts. Each dissection station included a computer with loads of diagrams to assist in dissections. Under the Colby students’ guidance, the high schoolers dissected the hearts. Dr. Klepach moved around the room, answering questions as they came up. He took a few minutes to explain how blood moves into and out of the heart before and after birth.


Enormous cow heart ready for dissection.


Students preparing to dissect a pig heart try to orient themselves based upon surface anatomy. 


Danielle discussing the surface anatomy of the heart with Cierra, a  Dover-Foxcroft sophomore, and Shea-Lynn, a home schooled junior, as her classmates Ari Thomas (’16, Neuroscience, far left) and Laurel Edington (’15, Biology, second from left) look on.IMG_0344IMG_0312IMG_5945IMG_0315

Ashley (left) and Norma (center), seniors from Lincoln Academy, make the first cut into a pig heart as their Colby mentor, Rebecca Gray (’18, Biology / History), looks on.


Thilee, a senior from Lincoln Academy explores the left ventricle.


The aortic and mitral valves revealed!


Dr. K goes to the board to explain the flow of blood through the chambers of the heart.


12:00    Everyone got cleaned up and walked across campus to the Foss dining hall for lunch. Many people were drawn to the location as there was a noontime speaker in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The crowd was thick and the supply of dishes and cups was low, but the food was delicious. Dr. Klepach had reserved a room for the group to eat lunch together. Many of the high school students were a bit overwhelmed trying to get their food amid such a crowd.


12:45    The next stop was the Olin Building, to a lecture hall below the science library. The students returned to their groups and Dr. Klepach introduced the final activity of the day: developing testable questions for science fair projects. Using a SMART Questions document produced by MMSA, the students came up with questions related to anatomy or physiology. They honed their questions and discussed how they might go about answering the questions.
One group had a good discussion about parameters that students can easily measure such as blood pressure, pulse, body mass index and body fat percentage.
Two other groups were curious about the physiological effects of various emotional states such as fear or amusement. They considered the use of video clips to trigger different emotions.
Another group, spurred by one student’s interest in livestock, was stumped by how they might measure parameters in a cow.
One pair of high school students, knowing that they would not be doing a science fair project, took the time to ask their mentor about college life.
The final group wanted to explore body image, comparing how people view their weight to reality. They came up with a good research plan that involved anonymous surveys asking people to describe if they think they are underweight, overweight or at a healthy weight. The subjects would guess at their weight and then use a scale to determine their actual weight.
Dr. Klepach asked each group to report out and asked thought-provoking questions such as how students would isolate variables. He also asked the students about the limitations of common measurements such as body mass index.


1:45    To wrap up the day, all participants filled out surveys. High school students and college students took separate surveys that asked about their motivations for participating, what skills they honed and what they considered to be the day’s highlights.

I thoroughly enjoyed having the visitors in the class and look forward to having them back in the future for this and other activities.

~Dr. K

Tags: Lab · Special Activities · Uncategorized

Art and Anatomy Field Trip to Bowdoin College Art Museum

January 13th, 2013 · Comments Off on Art and Anatomy Field Trip to Bowdoin College Art Museum

This past Thursday our Human Anatomy and Physiology class was given an opportunity to experience and learn anatomy through the artwork of the Bowdoin College Art Museum.  The works of art that we examined presented various anatomical features of the human body.  Carefully analyzing each piece, it was incredibly intriguing to find that so many pieces of art created by various ancient artists, revealed and glorified various parts of the human body.


Tags: Lab · Special Activities