The beginning of yoga can be traced to over 5,000 years ago, and some scientists believe upwards of 10,000 years ago would be more accurate.  When we think of yoga now, the idea of a body stretching and contorting in awkward shapes probably comes to mind. However, to Keri Maricle’s Anatomy and Physiology class at NCK Tech, yoga has become a learning tool.

Students recently were learning about the muscular system and Maricle incorporated the popular activity into class. “Students are looking to be more engaged,” said Maricle. “They want to be involved; they want hands-on. Since this is what the focus is at NCK Tech (hands-on), this type of activity works great.” Maricle had students on the floor mimicking an on-screen poses, labeling the muscles and according to Maricle, “rattling off the names of the muscles by the time class was over.”

Incorporating language and activities common to students in today’s society is changing the way to teach science.  Taking selfies is an everyday occurrence for most students. Maricle has found a ways to take this non-stop activity and turn it into a learning tool. Students were given directions on a particular “face” to make and then identify the muscles used in that particular expression. There are forty-three muscles in the face, and whether it is a smile, frown, pucker or wink, different muscles in the face work in unison to create the expression. “Students have a higher retention rate when they are working with something they enjoy and do every day,” commented Maricle. “The human body has been around for a very long time, but our understanding of how it works is continually changing. Teaching students about science (and the body) has to continually change also.”

Maricle is in her first year of teaching health sciences at NCK Tech but has taught students at all levels including high school, college and even elementary students involved in science camps.  She will be the featured speaker at the upcoming Science Café, Monday, October 14; 7:00 p.m. located at The Venue/Thirsty’s, 2704 Vine in Hays.  The topic for the evening will be “Importance of Scientific Education in Western Kansas – Engaging young students and adults to think critically about the world around them.”

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