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The implementation of clay modeling and rat dissection into the human anatomy and physiology curriculum of a large urban community college

Authors

  • Carol Haspel,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Natural Sciences, LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York, Long Island City, New York
    • Correspondence to: Dr. Carol Haspel, LaGuardia Community College, Natural Sciences Department, 31-10 Thomson Ave., Long Island City, New York 11101 USA. E-mail: chaspel@lagcc.cuny.edu

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  • Howard K. Motoike,

    1. Department of Natural Sciences, LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York, Long Island City, New York
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  • Erez Lenchner

    1. Department of Institutional Research and Assessment, LaGuardia Community College, Long Island City, New York
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Abstract

After a considerable amount of research and experimentation, cat dissection was replaced with rat dissection and clay modeling in the human anatomy and physiology laboratory curricula at La Guardia Community College (LAGCC), a large urban community college of the City University of New York (CUNY). This article describes the challenges faculty overcame and the techniques used to solve them. Methods involved were: developing a laboratory manual in conjunction with the publisher, holding training sessions for faculty and staff, the development of instructional outlines for students and lesson plans for faculty, the installation of storage facilities to hold mannequins instead of cat specimens, and designing mannequin clean-up techniques that could be used by more than one thousand students each semester. The effectiveness of these curricular changes was assessed by examining student muscle practical examination grades and the responses of faculty and students to questionnaires. The results demonstrated that the majority of faculty felt prepared to teach using clay modeling and believed the activity was effective in presenting lesson content. Students undertaking clay modeling had significantly higher muscle practical examination grades than students undertaking cat dissection, and the majority of students believed that clay modeling was an effective technique to learn human skeletal, respiratory, and cardiovascular anatomy, which included the names and locations of blood vessels. Furthermore, the majority of students felt that rat dissection helped them learn nervous, digestive, urinary, and reproductive system anatomy. Faculty experience at LAGCC may serve as a resource to other academic institutions developing new curricula for large, on-going courses. Anat Sci Educ. 7: 38–46. © 2013 American Association of Anatomists.

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