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Constructivist learning of anatomy: Gaining knowledge by creating anatomical casts

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Abstract

Educators are encouraged to provide inquiry-based, collaborative, and problem solving activities that enhance learning and promote curiosity, skepticism, objectivity, and the use of scientific reasoning. Making anatomical casts or models by injecting solidifying substances into organs is an example of a constructivist activity for achieving these goals. This report describes a student-implemented protocol for making postmortem anatomical casts of the bronchial tree and coronary arteries of rats using Silastic® sealant. The teacher facilitated this process by asking leading questions to guide the students toward the development of their own conclusions. This relatively simple and inexpensive procedure has important applications for the constructivist approach to study cardiovascular and respiratory morphology. Anat Sci Educ 4: 98–104, 2011. © 2011 American Association of Anatomists.

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