I work out. I don’t particularly enjoy it, but I make myself do it for my own good. Sound in mind and body, that sort of thing.
So I was in the college fitness center, using the strength training equipment, when I noticed the weight machine listed the names and locations of the muscles I was using to do that particular exercise. Every machine there did. That got me thinking about how my students have such problems with muscle locations and names because they don’t seem to associate them with joint movements. They study each system separately as if they are unrelated. Hmm, maybe I could use the weight machines to help the students connect the two.
In the past I have tried to help my students connect joint movements and muscle actions by having them tell me all the muscles necessary to do things like ‘Dance the Twist’. (I wish I had a video of those lab days. Very amusing!) But I felt the assignment left something wanting.
Coincidentally, there has been a very interesting conversation about this very topic recently on the HAPS listserv and that gave me the idea to expand the activity to the skeletal system. We don’t normally require our students to learn origin and insertion for all the muscles for this course, but they do learn most of the bone features. So last week I gave them a list of joint movements and I had them all follow me over to the fitness center. Each group had to find a machine that strengthens the muscles that perform each joint movement. And then they had to do at least 5 reps on it. I’m hoping the burn will help them remember the location of those muscles. After that they had to write down the muscles used and their locations, conveniently displayed right on the machines. Lastly I asked them to tell me the shape of the joint moved and the bone features involved in the joint, tying together the different systems. The lab practicals will show whether this exercise (literally!) worked or not. The class was certainly active and engaged.
This activity was possible because of flipping. This is the best part of flipping, the active learning during class. The students already had the background information so I didn’t have to stand in front of a projector or a white board talking. Instead we could take our little field trip.
The fitness center supervisor certainly appreciated it. Many students were unaware the college even had a fitness center and, hopefully, some will sign up for fitness classes. Sound in mind and body, you know.