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Discussing What works and doesnt work in the massage classroom. A room for us to share ideas, and improve the educational experience.

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As a new massage therapy instructor, I'm looking for some advice from ole sages, and students, as far as what works and doesn't work in the classroom.  I am teaching a variety of classes from A&P…Continue

Started by Nikki Scheidecker Sep 13, 2010.

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Comment by Kris Bour on November 3, 2011 at 1:03pm

I wanted to share with you a huge "ah-ha" moment I had yesterday.  This idea touched my heart deeply and I am curious to see if anyone else has implemented it. 


Yesterday we had a Holistic Nurse come in to speak on how healing happens and self care.  It was beyond what I expected and was very moving.  One of the points she touched on is one we as instructors teach our students; grounding before session.  But she took this a step further and talked about how the massage room was "sacred ground".  Well this did make sense to me, but what I heard in my heart right after she said this was "treat your classroom as sacred".  Wow!  That idea had never crossed my mind!  I can get so wrapped up in everything I need to do, teach, & communicate that I had never bothered to even consider that.  So now I am making it a personal goal, to set my intention for each class before I enter the "sacred learning space". 

Comment by Jorge Arnaldo Pabón Acevedo on May 4, 2011 at 8:19pm

puzzles for eskeletal system ;-)


Comment by Kris Bour on March 9, 2011 at 10:14am

Here is another interactive classroom activity I use for the immune system.



What you will need.

Paper party hats

Small hair clips

Post it notes

3 cans of computer air spray

                One labeled interleukin

                One labeled interferon

                One labeled lymphtoxin


Each student will play a different part in the immune response.


Scenario one;

The first student will play the Macrophage, review what a macrophage is and what they do in the immune response and that they are a non-specific response. The macrophage will have one of the small hair clips on to represent the MHC marker and being of this body.  As the student macrophage cruises around the room as in the body, they will encounter an antigen, played by another student.  Students will know that it is an antigen because of the lack of the MHC marker.   The macrophage student hugs the antigen student which will represent phagocytosis (review the medical terminology phag-to eat or swallow, cyt- cell, and osis- process of).  Once the macrophage student has engulfed the antigen, they will put the party hat on representing the placement of a piece of the antigen on the macrophages cell membrane.  Next the macrophage student will spray the can of interleukin into the air.  (Again review, the non-specific response of interleukin, you can even throw in that the hypothalamus will pick up on the release of interleukin and know the body has an invader and thus increase body temperature to help cook it.  This is a great way to tie the endocrine system into the immune system.  I also like to review weather fever is indicated in massage or contraindicated.  Also, now that interleukin has been released by the macrophage the Helper T cell (which will have on a clip representing the MHC) will now come over and see what we are dealing with.  (Review the job of the helper T cell).  The Helper T cell will now recruit those needed in this particular response.    All students that will represent B-Lymphocytes will have on a clip, representing the MCH marker, and will split into two groups; Memory B-cells and plasma cells.  (Review what each do).  The memory B-cell students drift off a bit and the Plasma cell students begin to throw the post it notes around the room.  Post it notes represents the antibodies,   which will dock on other antigen students marking them for death by the macrophage students.  This is the antibody mediated response.  Once all antigens have been taken out, bring in another student to be the Suppressor T-cell and tell everyone to stop and take it easy.


Next scenario will be the Cell-Mediated Immune response which will involve cytotoxic killer T-cells.  Have a student be a healthy body cell (put the clip on for MHC).  Then have the healthy body cell be invaded by an antigen.  Once invaded, the body cell will spray interferon (2nd can of spray).  Review what interferon is.  The invaded body cell will then put a party hat onto their cell membrane so the T-cells can see what they are dealing with.  The cytotoxic killer t-cell then comes over and sprays lymphotoxin (3rd can of spray) taking out the sick body cell.

Once all antigens have been taken out, bring in another student to be the Suppressor T-cell and tell everyone to stop and take it easy.


This is a really fun way to put the immune response into action.  Go over it multiple times and have students play the different cells.



Comment by Kris Bour on March 9, 2011 at 10:08am

This is an activity I use in muscle physiology.



What you will need.


Paper towel cardboard (not toilet paper, it's not big enough)

Sharpie markers (black & red)

Cotton balls

Box of spaghetti

Packing tape

Fuzzy red pipe cleaners

Clear plastic wrap

Rubber bands


Paper towel cardboards are representing the sarcolemma. 


Use the sharpies and draw  the nucleus's on the cardboard and reiterate that skeletal muscle fibers are multinucleate and peripherally located.


Next, wrap one end of the cardboard with packing tape being sure to completely cover one of the open ends.  The packing tape will represent the connective tissue covering of the endomysium. 


Next fill the cardboard half way with spaghetti.  Spaghetti represents the myofibrils.  You can have the students remove on piece of spaghetti and put even tic marks down it's length to represent the sarcomeres. 


I have added cotton balls into this lesson to represent glycosomes for sugar storage and I have them color a second cotton ball red to represent myoglobin which holds  oxygen so they can see there is a small store house of sugar and oxygen in skeletal muscle tissue for a fight or flight response.


Fuzzy red pipe cleaners represent the mitochondria.  I have them cut the pipe cleaners up and put several into the muscle fiber.


Some level of imagination is needed in this because I can not use anything to represent the sarcoplasmic reticulum, so I have them envision each piece of spaghetti  being surrounded by netting which are holding tanks for calcium.  Also, since I have nothing to represent the myofilaments, I have them envision small strands coming out of the spaghetti, Actin resembles a double strand of twisted pearls, Myosin resembles golf clubs.


The clear plastic wrap is to put on the untaped end of the cardboard so the student can rubber band it and take it home to  the anatomy with.


When I teach this lesson touch my finger to a tack and talk about the afferent/sensor neuron taking the information to the brain. 


The brain decides what to do and sends that information down the efferent/motor neuron.  I can represent the axon of a motor neuron with my arm, the terminal branches with my fingers and the terminal end bulbs with my finger tips which are holding my newly built muscle fiber from above.  I can then take them through the entire process of what is happening from the time I touch my finger to the tack to pulling my finger away with the skeletal muscle fibers contracting all the way down to the sarcomeres and myofilaments.


If you have any questions on this lesson feel free to email me.  It is a fun interactive way to teach muscle fiber physiology.  My students really enjoy it.  Hope your do too!


Kris Bour


Comment by Nikki Scheidecker on September 21, 2010 at 12:21pm
I am an instructor at Carrington College in Phoenix
Comment by Nikki Scheidecker on September 21, 2010 at 12:20pm
Anatomy and physiology classes for the next three weeks. Discussing cells and the skeletal system. Spent part of class last night making medical terminology flash cards. Students will be making cell models, I have shown a video on mitosis. I'm putting together a PowerPoint jeopardy game to help quiz students.

Does anyone have activities or ideas on how to help with retention?
Comment by Jimmy Gialelis on September 17, 2010 at 9:46pm
If anyone wishes to e-mail me at I will be happy to share resources with teachers. I've been an educator at the Utah College of Massage Therapy schools for 9+ years. I always love making new connections in the business so feel free to write me!
Comment by Julia Mims Edwards on September 15, 2010 at 9:32pm
Hello!!! Where do you teach? I teach at Daymar Institute in Nashville.

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