There is no greater way to learn anatomy than examining the real thing. Two years ago we undertook phase one of our plan to provide a memorable learning experience for our students by commercially obtaining plastinated human specimens for educational use. These prepared specimens are resistant to wear and tear, are non-toxic and of course perfectly represent the human form – as such they are a brilliant teaching and learning tool. We would like to build on this success, and raise a further $20,000 to purchase a new collection of plastinates to augment our current teaching resources, and importantly to enable us to provide exciting new courses in exercise physiology and human performance Instrumentation/the field of human anatomy and physiology.
Dissection is the optimal student-focused learning activity for discovering anatomy. It is only through dissection that one is able to effectively learn to differentiate among anatomical structures using visual and tactile cues and fully appreciate spatial and functional relationships among different anatomical structures. The ultimate teaching tool in this regard is a human cadaver; however this requires specialized facilities with body donation programs and so is only available at Universities with an associated professional health sciences school, and is usually reserved for clinical students rather than undergraduates.
Plastination is the practice of using hard wearing and harmless polymers to preserve bodies post -dissection. We have previously obtained a series of carefully selected high-quality dissected and plastinated specimens reflecting the major areas of specialization for our courses. In the absence of cadaveric dissection, these plastinates offer the very best learning experience available to students at Carleton.
Our wish for phase II is to obtain a second collection of specimens, specifically prepared not only to augment our pre-existing areas of teaching expertise, but also to allow us to expand our course offerings and respond to the student driven desire for more courses related to the anatomy and physiology of humans.
We envision that our existing courses, as well as the up-coming additions would benefit from custom joint and organ preparations as well as specific examples of musculo-skeletal and nervous system anatomy.
We have already seen the benefit of our current collection of plastinates in the enthusiasm they have generated amongst our students, and the resulting desire for more opportunities to enhance their understanding of anatomy and physiology with that same learning experience. A second set will contribute further to that, and enable us to deliver on their request.
In addition we envision also using the plastinates in wider educational outreach activities, for example hosting mini-courses for local high school biology classes, and open house tours for interested supporters.
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