Modelling Muscles: Students Create Leg-Muscle Models to Learn about Muscle Structure and Function

By Goodwyn, Lauren; Salm, Sarah | The Science Teacher, December 2007 | Go to article overview

Modelling Muscles: Students Create Leg-Muscle Models to Learn about Muscle Structure and Function


Goodwyn, Lauren, Salm, Sarah, The Science Teacher


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Teaching the anatomy of the muscle system to high school students can be challenging. Students often learn about muscle anatomy by memorizing information from textbooks or by observing plastic, inflexible models. Although these mediums help students learn about muscle placement, the mediums do not facilitate understanding regarding integration of the skeletal and muscular systems. To make learning about muscle origins, insertions, and movement an interactive experience, we created a lab in which students construct full-size muscle models out of plastic skeletons, nylon stockings, and various types of tape.

Active participation

Working in groups to construct muscles encourages students to collaborate and actively participate in learning. Students learn better and remember more when they are active participants (Springer, Stanne, and Donovan 1999). Edgar Dale proposed a "Cone of Experience" that categorized different learning techniques based on the level of student participation (1969).

According to Dale's model, students who participate in active-learning exercises, with the greatest student involvement, remember 70-90% of what they say, write, or do after two weeks; students who learn with passive techniques (hearing or reading) only recall 10-30% of the lesson after two weeks (Dale 1969). In addition, learning is more effective when the teacher works as a facilitator and students learn with their peers. "The best answer to the question, 'What is the most effective method of teaching?' is that it depends on the goal, the student, the content, and the teacher. But the next best answer is, 'students teaching other students'" (McKeachie 1998).

Lab framework

Focus and materials

This lab requires students to construct nine leg muscles on their skeleton, which is enough to cement the ideas of origin, insertion, and action (Figure 1). It also teaches the concepts of antagonistic muscles (muscles that work in opposition to each other). Although we focused on the muscles of the leg, there is no reason the activity could not be extended to other skeletal muscles such as those of the shoulder and arm.

The muscle-construction activity takes one, two-hour class period to complete (see clarification on time under "Background information"). Materials needed include: one skeleton for each group, nylon stockings, several types of tape (e.g., masking or painter's, duct, double-sided, cellophane, electrician's, and lab tape), and scissors. (Note: This lab works equally well with full-sized or small articulated skeletons. Each group of four to six students works with one full-sized skeleton. Smaller group sizes are preferred when smaller skeletons are used.)

Early in the year, students use skeletons to learn about bones; reusing these skeletons reinforces the integral relationship between the skeletal and muscular systems. Nylon stockings have the muscle characteristic of elasticity, are inexpensive, and can be reused. Students use tape to attach the nylon muscles to the skeletons.

Background information

Several days before the lab, to introduce students to leg muscle anatomy and terms, we provide students with a prelab worksheet (Figure 1). Using their textbooks or other sources, such as the internet, students fill in information on muscle origins, insertions, and actions, and define terms associated with muscle movement. Doing research to complete this worksheet ensures students have the basic vocabulary needed to participate in the lab.

During the lab, students have access to the freely available "Get Body Smart" website (www.getbodysmart.com). This interactive medium provides details helpful to the construction of muscle models, such as muscle origin, insertion, action, and animated movement. On the website, the origin and insertion of each muscle are clearly described and shown in relation to bone.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Modelling Muscles: Students Create Leg-Muscle Models to Learn about Muscle Structure and Function
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.