Elon students consider it a fun day in the lab when they get to skip the books and instead bring out the body paint in order to study muscles, blood vessels, and nervous system innervation. Last Saturday, Elon University physical therapy (PT) and physician assistant (PA) students participated in the Burlington Science Expo, using body paint and electromyogram (EMG) testing, which measures the electrical activity of muscles at rest and during contraction, to teach middle school children about the muscles of the arms and legs. Children were encouraged to have their muscle anatomy painted on by Elon students and then observe the function of the muscles using EMG. Other Elon students painted themselves: the biceps, triceps, gastrocnemius, tibialis anterior, and soleus muscles and their bony attachments were highlighted. Using EMG, kids enjoyed watching the activity of two muscles that work in tandem – the biceps and the triceps. After the demonstration, the children received a hand-out with illustrations of the muscle groups they had just learned about. Since enrolling its first class in January 2013, Elon’s PA program has used body painting to supplement the instruction given in the anatomy lab, and both students and professors alike have found it to be a fun and innovative way to teach kids about the human body.
Jamie Seals PA-S2