Below you will find the following activities to enhance your instruction of the muscular system. Items with an asterisk are shorter and could easily be incorporated into class.
1) Dance the Muscle Blues Away*
2) Painted on muscles
3) Muscular artwork*
4) Photogenic muscles
5) Macarena muscles*
6) ‘Z’ line for the door.
7) Song about muscular function from “Groovin’ in the Hippocampus”*
1) Dance the Muscle Blues Away
Group the muscles from your muscle list into groups of 4 or 5. Hand the lists out to lab groups of 2 – 4 students. Each group must come up with a dance that uses the muscles on their card. They must then perform the dance and shout out the muscle being used while they use it. For added benefit, video the dances (if students will allow) and post on Blackboard – at least the ones that are correct! Alternately you could have a contest to see which group can come up with a dance that uses the most muscles on the list – again shouting out muscle names as they use them, and perhaps having one person not dance and point to the muscles in question.
2) Painted on Muscles
Paint corresponding muscles on a T-shirt (or pair of leggings). [Idea borrowed with permission from: Prof. Amy Meredith, Washington State University who specifically uses the muscles of respiration on the t-shirt.]
3) Muscular Artwork
Bring in pictures of artwork (paintings or sculptures) that show muscles and have the students label the picture.
4) Photogenic Muscles
Take some photographs of willing participants who offer good glimpses of muscles and label / name.
5) Macarena Muscles
Create a version of the Macarena where you touch parts of your body and name them, be it muscles / bones / or organs. Reaching for both kidneys at the same time also gives one the opportunity to do the chicken dance. You’ll need an outgoing student to get the ball rolling with this one : )
6) ‘Z’ Line for the door
After students have learned about the physiology of muscles, challenge them to make a list of things they can find that simulate the sliding movement of muscle fibers. Then state how that movement is similar and different from muscles. If they come up with a good example make sure they label and compare the parts of their example with the parts of a muscle. Anything with some slide to it may be helpful to them. For example, they could see the open doors on the Starship Enterprise as the H zone and the closing of the door shows the contraction of the sarcomere. Anything with sliding parts could encourage them to compare and contrast muscle contraction with things they find in the world or in pop culture.
7) A&P Songs
Songs from “Groovin’ in the Hippocampus”:
My Oh Myosin (muscle function)