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Anatomy and Physiology | Health Science

Anatomy In Clay: An Honest Review for CTE Health Science Teachers

March 1st, 2022 | 7 min. read

Brad Hummel

Brad Hummel

Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through his own teaching background, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for AES, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students through listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.

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Are you teaching anatomy and physiology to CTE health science students? If so, you need the right materials to help them gain the knowledge, skills, and experience to succeed in their future careers.

One instructional tool you may have heard about is the Anatomy In Clay Learning System. Anatomy In Clay is a hands-on approach for learning anatomy and physiology that features lifelike skeletal models and modeling clay to teach students components and relationships between body systems.

You may know other teachers who use Anatomy In Clay, but is it right for you? Below, you’ll find a full, unbiased review of Anatomy In Clay. Specifically, we’ll look closely at:

  • What Does the Anatomy in Clay Learning System Include?
  • How Much Does the Anatomy in Clay Learning System Cost?
  • Benefits of Anatomy in Clay
  • Drawbacks of Anatomy in Clay
  • Is the Anatomy in Clay Learning System Right for You?

After reading this review, you should better understand the Anatomy in Clay Learning System to help you decide if it’s the right solution for your classroom.

anatomy-in-clay-learning-systemWhat Does the Anatomy In Clay Learning System Include?

The core of the Anatomy In Clay Learning System consists of human and animal skeletal instructional models, which students use to construct body systems using modeling clay.

The models come complete with all necessary clay and sculpting tools, along with guidebooks and workbooks for teachers and their students.Introducing LIVE, Virtually-Hosted ANATOMY IN CLAY® Professional Development Programs-low

Depending on the type of course you are teaching, Anatomy In Clay features several types of models to choose from:

  • MANIKEN models are whole or half-skeleton human models designed for an overall understanding of anatomy and physiology.
  • Human TORZIKEN models are representations of the human torso designed for teaching internal body systems.
  • EQUIKEN and CANIKEN animal modules help understand the body systems of horses and dogs.
  • Comparative anatomical models help learners appreciate the differences between human and animal muscular systems.

For most anatomy and physiology teachers in CTE health science programs, the MANIKEN models are the best choice for their classrooms. These models allow learners to explore the full range of human body systems in the context of a high school CTE anatomy and physiology course.

anatomy-in-clay-pricingHow Much Does the Anatomy In Clay Learning System Cost?

As a customizable learning system, the cost of Anatomy In Clay varies widely based on the types of materials you purchase, the number of students in your class, and whether you assign one student or two students to a model.

Depending on the type of package you purchase, the Anatomy In Clay Learning System can cost anywhere from $50 to $1100 per student.

However, educators can expect to pay between $350 and $400 per student for a typical CTE health science classroom setup.

This package price is inclusive of these materials:

  • A Student II or Classic MANIKEN model for every 2-4 students
  • Clay and Clay Tools
  • Guidebooks and Workbooks
  • Training for Classroom Instructors

In addition, teachers can purchase additional teaching models, instructional materials, clay, tools, and professional development training from Anatomy In Clay based on their individual classroom needs.

anatomy-in-clay-benefits-drawbacksWhat are the Benefits of the Anatomy In Clay Learning System?

For teachers in CTE health science programs, the Anatomy In Clay Learning System can provide several benefits for anatomy and physiology classes. Depending on the learning experience you seek to create, students can receive these benefits alongside or instead of a traditional laboratory dissection setting.

One of the most significant benefits of using Anatomy In Clay is the opportunity for students to retain more information through building kinetic models. When working with the tactile models, students can learn visually and kinesthetically at the same time, increasing the likelihood that they’ll retain critical information compared with passive learning lectures and rote memorization.

Anatomy In Clay can also save teachers and schools money compared with other laboratory approaches, such as dissection. Since the modeling clay can is reusable year after year, educators can make a one-time investment in purchasing the system instead of paying for animal dissections on a regular basis.

Finally, teachers can adapt this product for distance learning. Anatomy In Clay’s Distance Learning Lab provides students with a kit to work remotely, making it a great alternative for teachers who struggle to get their students laboratory time.

What are the Drawbacks of the Anatomy In Clay Learning System?

Despite these benefits, there are a few notable drawbacks for teachers and students who use the Anatomy In Clay Learning System.

First, there are some differences between Anatomy In Clay and other lab-based instruction. While it does come in several colors to distinguish between body systems, the modeling clay doesn’t precisely replicate human tissue.

In addition, students who use Anatomy In Clay for their CTE health science classes often won’t have the same experience of working with human and animal subjects and may spend less time in clinical settings than their peers.

Educators will also have to contend with the upfront costs of purchasing the program.

Depending on the number of students in your CTE program, purchasing models or distance learning kits for each student can increase the overall cost of Anatomy In Clay to your school.

The biggest shortcoming of this learning system is that it comes with limited curriculum materials. Although Anatomy In Clay packages can come with workbooks and training for teachers, these materials won’t replace a comprehensive anatomy and physiology textbook or curriculum system for most classrooms.

To get the most out of the learning system, you’ll probably need to combine Anatomy In Clay with a more complete health science or anatomy and physiology curriculum.

anatomy-in-clay-curriculum-fitWho is the Anatomy In Clay Learning System Intended For?

Whether or not the Anatomy In Clay Learning System suits your needs will depend on several factors, such as the resources available for your students and the type of lab experience you would like them to have.

Who is the Anatomy In Clay Learning System a Good Fit For?

Anatomy In Clay is an exceptional fit for schools without access to a laboratory or clinical opportunities for health science students. These institutions can take full advantage of Anatomy In Clay as a substitute for traditional laboratory exercises and provide learners with options that would otherwise be unavailable to them.

The learning system is also a great choice for anatomy and physiology teachers looking to supplement their classroom instruction with an active-learning program. Using models to learn about each body system and the relationship between them can be beneficial in helping students develop a working knowledge of the subject matter.

Finally, Anatomy In Clay is a solid choice for distance learning. Where students don’t have access to laboratory resources, Anatomy In Clay’s distance learning kits offer an intuitive, at-home instructional tool.

Who is the Anatomy In Clay Learning System a Poor Fit For?

Even though the Anatomy In Clay Learning System is a good fit for many health science classrooms, it’s not for everyone. Specifically, teachers and students who prefer working in traditional, dissection-type labs could find it hard to switch to Anatomy In Clay.

Moreover, the system represents a significant, upfront financial investment to teachers and schools. Schools without the resources to purchase the materials–or those willing to let their students go without expensive lab experiences–could save money in the short term.

Lastly, Anatomy In Clay isn’t a good fit for a teacher who doesn’t have other instructional material to work with. The learning system works best when used as part of a complete anatomy and physiology curriculum.

Should Anatomy In Clay Be Part of Your Comprehensive Anatomy and Physiology Curriculum?

Overall, the Anatomy In Clay Learning System can be a powerful tool for CTE health science educators in their anatomy and physiology classes. If you want experience working with human and animal models without the cost and difficulty of traditional lab work, Anatomy In Clay could be right for you.

However, instructors may find that Anatomy In Clay works best when implemented into a comprehensive anatomy and physiology curriculum.

A complete curriculum in anatomy and physiology allows students to learn essential knowledge and skills through intuitive lessons and classwork and then apply them through complementary laboratory experiences.

For more information on other anatomy and physiology materials you can use to build a full course, read about the 4 Best High School Anatomy and Physiology Curriculum Resources. You’ll find well-regarded curriculum resources you can use together with Anatomy In Clay to give your students the knowledge and experience they need to succeed.

Discover Popular High School Anatomy and Physiology Curriculum Resources


Disclaimer: ANATOMY IN CLAY® and MANIKEN® are registered trademarks of Zahourek Systems, Inc. or affiliates in the US or other countries, the sole provider of ANATOMY IN CLAY® Learning System.