Human Anatomy at Colby

Alexandria Lucas: Meeting with High School Anatomy Students

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Danielle Levine: Heart Dissection and MMSA Visit

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

Danielle Levine (’15, Biology)

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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