Metacarpal Tattoos!

    Two weeks ago I introduced my human osteology & bioarchaeology class to the hand bones (along with all of the typical nmemonic devices to remember the carpals....). While they also had the opportunity to investigate the elements during lab hours, I wanted to help further solidify these elements in their memory - so we gave eachother temporary tattoos last week! 

    There are various studies that suggest that drawing can help one better remember items (for example) - I believe that illustration can also assist undergraduate students in learning human osteology! Even if they're not particularly gifted artists. By using various artistic mediums in our active-learning-lecture each week, I've been striving to help students recognise the shapes, sizes, and distinctive features of each element - in this case, the carpals, metacarpals, and phalanges.

    Using Crayola washable markers, students were asked to illustrate their hand bones on their non-dominant hand (or the hand of a partner). They were asked to try and make the bones as anatomically correct in placement and morphology as possible. While we had varying degrees of artistic success in our hand bone illustrations, it was a fun way to start an 8am Tuesday morning class!  

    The learning outcomes were noticeable. I fielded very insightful questions about joints and articulations, movements, and anatomical positions of the bones. For example, one student wanted to know which bone and which joint surface they were viewing when they examined the rounded knuckles of a closed fist - made for an interesting conversation about joints, articulations, and envisioning elements depicted in our text book (White & Folkens 2005) in 3D.



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