Anatomy Practicals- Stackables that Teach: A Life-Sized Human Body Project- The Muscular System!


3D Learning in Anatomy… I’m HOOKED!

This year, I’ve been experimenting with providing my Anatomy classes opportunities to learn the human body in different ways, rather than the traditional “I can label a flat diagram with all the correct parts” that I might’ve used in the past (Guilty as charged! lol). My students just love using oversized diagrams and learned so much from the Gallery Walk we did at the beginning of the course (in case you missed the blog post, you can see it here ). I decided to create life-sized bodies so they would have an opportunity to manipulate structures as if they had a real patient. Since I don’t have the facilities (or budget) for a cadaver, I decided that paper & markers were the best way for this thrifty teacher’s students to achieve this! lol. (You can see what we did with the Circulatory System here ) .

So My Mission …. How Can I Help My Students Go From Simply Learning Individual Muscles..

To understanding the Muscular System?…

Since my students had to draw in all the muscles on their skeletons for the Gallery Walk assignment, I really wanted to come up with something better to help my kids really practice and learn the surface muscles… They always have such a hard time transitioning from labeling a flat “muscle man” to actually pointing to location of the tibialis anterior on their own shin.  So, after COUNTLESS hours of drawing, fitting, and adjusting, I have finally finished the muscles for their life-sized skeletons.  (YAY ME! 🙂 )


I wanted them to learn the most common surface muscles on the anterior and posterior surface. img_0219.jpg

I also wanted them to see how their muscles fit together, with some overlapping others.  This is so difficult for them to visualize on a diagram on a flat piece of paper!

This year, like most years, I have several students who have IEPs, as well as those who do not speak English as their first language.  So, I always want to make sure I provide them with as many opportunities as I can to master the topics we were learning. I purposefully designed the practice activities, as well as the diagrams I drew for them, so that providing differentiation would be seamless in my classroom.  At first glance, the activities look the same for all students, however, one student might have 1 version of the activity, while another has a different version……All dependent upon their personal level.  Here’s an example of some of the diagrams.. img_2755

One student may have the version with the names already written on it (like the diagram on the left), while another might be asked to identify a specific muscle by number (as in the assignment below).  Students can be given work that matches THEIR own level. I just love the flexibility in designing curricula like this! img_2769

I also created a Quizlet to help my students practice the muscle actions (the muscles in this Quizlet are also the same ones they have to know the location for in addition to the action the muscle performs) ( ) We played Quizlet LIVE to review before our exam this time.  It’s so much fun! If you haven’t used it with your class, give it a try- Your students will love it! (See my post on Quizlet live here if you haven’t used it yet)


If you are interested in this BIG Life-Sized Muscular System Project (it’s BIG, I’m not kidding… over 100 pages! ), please visit  my TpT store (I will be uploading it this weekend)

This Muscular System project includes everything you should need to implement this with your class, including the Anterior and Posterior Life-Sized Skeletons (which you can use for the Skeletal System!).  It also includes 2 versions of a practice activity (so you can differentiate instruction with your class), as well as full page diagrams (like those pictured above) for the:  Head & Neck, Arm/Forearm (Anterior View), Upper Arm (Posterior View), Trunk (Anterior & Posterior), Hip/Thigh/Leg (Anterior & Posterior).



About Edgy Instruction

Science Teacher (Biology, AP Biology, and Forensic Science), Anatomy Professor, and former Instructional coach.
This entry was posted in activity, Anatomy & Physiology, Anatomy Practicals- Stackables that Teach, Project Based Learning PBL, Strategies, Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s