Help With The Skeletal System For Students Of Anatomy And Physiology

Although there is a long list of bones to memorize for students of Anatomy and Physiology, bones are one of the easier parts of the body to learn because they are so accessible. You can touch most of them and as some of you know, you can break them as well. Remember that simply memorizing anything is not as effective as attaching meaning to what you are learning. In other words, use the creative suggestions below to make new connections between your bones and other aspects, elements or things in your life. If you think about bones as being like or unlike other objects, or reminding you of things, you will get a lot of help with the skeletal system.

First let me say that these ideas are not meant to replace reading your textbook, attending class or paying attention in class. It’s hard to succeed in A&P without doing these things. Make sure you set aside time to study and actively pay attention in class.

You can, however, be creative in your studying. Here are some ideas.

1) Paint corresponding bones on a T- viking army veteran hoodie or pair of leggings. If you’re really feeling adventurous you could get some body paint and accentuate and label some bones right on your skin. I dare you to use an eyebrow pencil or other make-up to write the bones of the skull on your face before class one day.

Have your study group paint bones on each other and then take pictures (keep it G-rated if you want to share the results on BlackBoard!! [Idea modified with permission from: Prof. Amy Meredith, Washington State University who specifically uses the muscles of respiration on a t-shirt.]

2) Make up rhymes or cute sayings for the bones.

Examples: “My femur is horizontal when I’m a dreamer.”

“MAN Did I blow a big bubBLE!” The mandible is for chewing.

“The fibula is on the side like a JIBula.” A jib sail is on the side of the main sail, just like the fibula is on the side of the tibia.

The word ‘parietal’ contains a sound like ‘pair’ and there are a pair of them. It also ends with ‘tal’ – and they are at the top of your head which is the tallest spot on your body.

3) Think of what the bones remind you of based on their shape, and, if possible, in relation to what they can be used for.

Examples: A scapula looks a bit like a wing and is in fact involved in raising your arms.

The sphenoid bone inside your skull is said to look like a bat and it lives inside the cave of your skull.

4) Animate your bones. Write a script where the bones are arguing about what to do next. Make sure and have them talk about what they can do in the script so you’ll remember where they are. Have friends from study group read through or perform and record your creation. If you choose to record it or perform it, talk to your teacher about the possibility of sharing with the class and receiving extra credit.

5) Create a version of the Macarena where you touch parts of your body and name them, be it muscles / bones / or organs. Reaching for both kidneys at the same time also gives one the opportunity to do the chicken dance.

6) Pasta Man/Woman.

Choose a different kind of pasta for the different categories of bones. For instance choose penne pasta for long bones, macaroni for sesamoid bones and broken lasagna noodles for flat bones. Glue them on a page or poster board in the shape of a human body and label the bones.

You can really use any household objects for this project. Just remember that the more thought you put into why you choose certain things to represent certain bones, the more you will learn as you do the project.

This is true of learning in general. If you are an engaged learner, i.e. paying real attention to what you are hearing and seeing, AND you are responding to what you are hearing and seeing with questions, ideas, humor, and interest, you will learn more and enjoy the process.

write by Mirabel