Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How would I find the time to incorporate this into my curriculum?
A. This is a particularly interesting question, since it suggests that the individual asking the question recognizes the value of this type of teaching and learning. The fact of the matter is that when you incorporate ANATOMY IN CLAY® Learning System into your curriculum, something else probably has to go. In order to achieve the results that MANIKEN® will provide, it needs to be substituted for something else that doesn’t provide positive results. These should be reasonably simple to identify, and usually fun to eliminate.
Q. I don’t feel comfortable with the clay. How could I possibly build ANATOMY IN CLAY® Learning System?
A. The object here is not artistry, but rather kinesthetic stimulation and it’s resultant learning. It is not necessary to be an artist, and in some cases, it might actually be a hindrance. The most beautifully sculpted model, used as a visual aid, is not nearly as effective as the less than inspirational version that a student has built.
Q. Is my knowledge of muscle shape good enough to teach it?
A. The fact is, each time that you build, you will shape the muscle differently. Muscles may be built by using many varying techniques. You might elect to build a particular muscle with multiple attachment sites as a group of bundled vectors. Or, you may decide to build this same muscle as a striated slab. Both are equally correct, but demonstrate different aspects of function. In any case, you will find that the shape becomes self evident, since the bony landmarks and skeletal attachment sites on MANIKEN® are so clearly defined and identified.
Q. I am apprehensive about jumping into something that I have not been thoroughly trained in. What if I get into the weeds?
A. This is a normal enough response, and is also quite justified. No one wants to suffer the indignity of appearing not to know the subject matter, and reluctance is simply a healthy defense. The simple truth is, you really don’t need to be trained in building, and your own knowledge of functional anatomy will grow with your student’s, as will your comfort with the act of building. I always tell teachers that they shouldn’t be afraid of trying this. They should, however, be afraid of not trying it.
Q. Does the ANATOMY IN CLAY® Learning System replace dissection?
A. The MANIKEN® model is not intended to replace dissection, although it certainly has in many classrooms. In several instances, the reason for the switch has been for economic, and not necessarily any ethical objection. One major problem with dissection is that it is difficult to understand the construction of anatomy when approached from the outside in. It is much simpler if studied from the inside out, where the layering makes logical sense. If the system is built first, and then dissected, the value of the dissection is increased tremendously. Secondly, specimens are expendable. Once you have cut them up, you need to replace them. The MANIKEN® model is non-consumable. You can, and will, use the same model and clay indefinitely. It is literally designed to outlast the building that you are working in.
Q. What resource material do you make available?
A. Zahourek Systems Inc. offers a wealth of resource material, not only to help you to get started with the Models, such as MANIKEN®, but also to assist you in every phase of the teaching process. The MYOLOGIK® Atlas of Human Musculature in Clay is unparalleled as a resource. It offers a complete, two page detail of every muscle in the human body (with the exception of the three muscles of the middle ear). It’s unique format provides a complete muscle order guide, detailing muscle layering from the inside out. Video tapes offer step by step building of specific areas of the musculature. Teaching guides provide highly successful, classroom tested lesson plans.
Q. What are the differences between the models?
A. MANIKEN® Model Line, the human anatomy models are available in several distinct versions, each with its own unique market niche. All are hand cast, and hand finished. Each model allows the student to build the human musculature in detail. However, as the models increase in price, they also increase in detail, as well as in fragility. In the more advanced versions, the inside of the model is treated with as much painstaking detail as is the exterior. These more advanced models are designed for use in the teaching of physiology and kinesiology, as well as anatomy. They are made to promote the construction of the brain, cardiovascular, and neural systems, as well as the complete musculature.
Q. Are they expensive?
A. The MANIKEN® model is a tremendous value, regardless of the model that you choose. Models are available for any budget. These are non-consumable and environmental friendly and less expensive than the reoccurring cost of cat dissection and disposal.
Q. How many models do I need?
A. There is no exact formula for this. Ideally, each student would have their own MANIKEN® model to build on. In reality, many budgets simply cannot accommodate this one to one ratio. All models separate into subsections, which can then be used as individual lab stations. Bilateral models always separate along the mid-section, separating into two equal halves. This enables the formation of teams for building on each half. This is a particularly effective technique, since when the halves are eventually combined, a remarkable interaction between the two teams occurs automatically. The important thing to remember is, the MANIKEN® is only of value when the student builds on it. They need to get their hands on as much of it as possible, and the more they work on it, the more they learn.
Q. I have several classes. Do I have to remove all that the previous class has built before beginning the next session?
A. No. There are many ways to address this situation. In some instances, teachers have elected to have each successive group build on top of the previous groups work. Others have chosen to have each class build on a specific portion of the anatomy, then combine each groups work to achieve the finished MANIKEN® model. After the classes have had an opportunity to assess each other’s work, the process is repeated with each class building a different portion.
Q. Is this for advanced level students only?
A. Absolutely not! The whole idea of the ANATOMY IN CLAY® system is to make anatomy not only learnable, but fun. Our experience is that “at risk” and “special needs” students have absolutely blossomed with the MANIKEN® model, even though they continue to perform dismally with more traditional approaches. Not surprisingly, elementary and middle school kids are some of the best students. They love working with the clay, and they demonstrate intuitive abilities that most adults have learned to suppress. Certainly, the ANATOMY IN CLAY® Learning is widely utilized by colleges and universities throughout the world, and their numbers continue to rapidly increase. However, the system and models perform equally amazingly at all levels, and the proof is in the results. This system truly does transcend any attempt at typical grade/ability level labeling, and of that fact we are most proud!
Q. How should I clean and store my models and clay?
Here are a few simple maintenance tips that will keep your models and clay in good shape:
- Remove as much clay as possible from the models, separating the different colors into piles. For clay that is impossible to un-mix, save for the creation of a diseased organ or gray matter. Roll clay into golf ball-sized pieces.
- Store balls of clay by color in separate bins. You may want to cover the bins to keep any dust or debris out of the clay, but it is not necessary to prevent the oil-based clay from drying out.
- Soak models in a solution of warm water and dish soap such as Dawn or any other good grease-cutting detergent. After a few minutes, scrub with a soft sponge. Test tube cleaner brushes work great for cleaning small nooks and crannies. Let models air dry or wipe gently with a towel.
- For stubborn color residue leftover from the oil-based clay, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers seem to work very well. Cut the Magic Eraser into 4 or 6 pieces and hand out for students to use.
- If you have the room, keep the models assembled when storing–it will save time as well as prevent the loss of misplaced screws and spare parts.
Now your models and clay will be clean and ready for your next class or workshop!