Monday, March 2, 2009

Using the Clear View of the Human Body

If you are using any of my textbooks in your A&P course, you have probably already seen the nifty Clear View of the Human Body . . . a set of opaque and transparent overlays that allow you to peel away layers of the body in a sort of virtual dissection.

My tip for today is . . .

DO NOT FORGET that the CLEAR VIEW is there!

A lot of students look at it when they first get the book and are thumbing through the pages marveling at all the interesting artwork and photos (and trying to size up how interesting or difficult the course may be). But as they get involved in the learning process, many students forget that the Clear View is there . . . and miss out on using this valuable tool.

Why use the Clear View? It's a great way to develop your concept of the spatial relationships of the body . . . that is, how all the organs "fit together."

The typical anatomical illustration gives a rather flat view of body structures. The Clear View lets you peel away layer after layer, showing the anterior structures, then deeper structures, moving finally to the posterior structures. Then it reverses the direction, and takes you from posterior, to deep, to anterior! Because each layer is partly transparent and partly opaque (not transparent), you are able to see both organs on the layer you are looking at, and some of the organs in deeper layers.

The best way to use the Clear View is to play with it regularly. It's fun . . . go ahead and play! By doing so after or during your study of every chapter, you'll soon become very familiar with the 3-dimensional nature of the body.

Of course, dissecting fresh cadavers again and again throughout your studies would be a better way to achieve an understanding of how all the body parts fit together. But the Clear View isn't a bad alternative!

Check out this short (6-minute) movie clip showing the Clear View.

[The video player embedded here may not appear in your news feed or emailed newsletter. Go to The A&P Student blog to access the video viewer. ]