The state of Oklahoma has come to embrace the concept, training and equipment for Anatomy in Clay® (Learning System), by Zahourek Systems, Inc. over the past three years…Nearly fifty school districts have implemented the system into their Anatomy and Physiology education and feedback from students and educators alike is extremely positive.

Lara Skaggs, Oklahoma Program Manager, Health Careers Education

Featured Educator Phillip Thielemann: Teaching Animal Science Beyond Cows, Plows and Sows

Posted by: ANATOMY IN CLAY® Learning System | Posted on: September 12th, 2013 | 0 Comments

Thielemann (left) and students working with the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System

Thielemann and students working with the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System

When Instructor Phillip Thielemann talks about this work in the Advanced Animal Science department, he can barely contain his enthusiasm. He excitedly declares, “We are recognizing that animal science has far more dividends than just teaching about cows, plows and sows! Animal science is an important area and when taught in context, it helps solve real world problems and create jobs.”

Many students take the course at the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District (ISD) in Rosenberg, Texas to fulfill their fourth year science credit for Livestock Production, Small Animal Management or Vet Tech Majors. Some students choose the class as an elective because they simply find it so interesting.

Amazingly, 98% of students from the school go on to community or four-year colleges where they focus on allied health careers such as pediatric nursing or veterinary programs. Others continue on to agricultural careers, in line with their upbringing as many of them grew up on farms and ranches or love to be around animals.

As part of the school district’s Career and Tech Education (CTE) curriculum that Thielemann has been teaching for 13 years, he knows firsthand the far-reaching applications of the animal science program. It’s become more popular to students and parents alike, as they see that the skills students gain prepare them for meeting the needs of the global economy.

The Animal Science program incorporates the ANATOMY IN CLAY® Learning System for teaching horse and dog anatomy, originally introduced into the curriculum by Traci Holub, Director of CTE, Lamar CISD. With twelve CANIKEN® models and eight EQUIKEN® models available for teaching in parallel, Thielemann says “It’s the best of both worlds. For example in regards to muscles, students can see the point of origin, insertion and action for both species. This opportunity to compare and contrast encourages independent exploration.”

Thielemann states that the learning system also satisfies the mission statement of the Career and Tech Ed department, which is posted on the wall of each classroom and reads:

To educate students by providing rigorous curriculum and technical skills through real world, hands-on learning, thus preparing them for the challenges of evolving career environments and opportunities.

Beyond just clay-building the muscles, the students also learn about shapes, movement, and other aspects of anatomy, such as the circulatory system. “When they find that a certain vein or artery has to go through a muscle it can be agonizing, but it sure helps them understand the detail. Anything hands-on is better than a power-point, book or a diagram.”

Director Holub says the introduction of the CANIKEN® and EQUIKEN® models adds a new dimension to the Animal Science program. She sees students working in groups and engaging in effective learning with a tool that aids them in the complex instructional area of anatomy. She notes, “Our teachers serve as facilitators, challenging the students with hands-on development of their model in clay.” In the near future, she hopes to purchase the human MANIKEN® models for use in the Anatomy & Physiology classes.

Using the models has enabled faculty to spend less time lecturing and more time working directly with students. It also provides a cost-effective addition to the curriculum because it reduces the need to repeatedly order animals for dissection. Thielemann shares, “Now, we typically do just one dissection a year. If you take care of the models and store them properly as well as take care of the clay, you will be able to use them year after year, which really offers strong savings.”

The passionate instructor sums it up by saying, “Once the students start putting muscles on to the skeleton, they can put it all together. Building in clay allows them to remember trapezius or humerus. And after several builds it becomes second nature. What was fearful, no longer is. That is the glue that helps it stick in their brains.”

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