Human Anatomy 101 for High School Students and Teachers


Being the first of its kind in the St. Louis area, Maryville University is to offer a unique summer course teaching innovative ways of human anatomy instruction to eight St. Louis area high school science teachers and 16 high school students.

Dr. Kristen Bruzzini, assistant professor of biology at Maryville, developed the S.T.A.R.S., Students and Teachers Anatomical Research, program to provide high school teachers and students with an opportunity to use instructional resources not available to them in a traditional high school environment. “My goal is to provide an opportunity for teachers and students to discover the internal features and function of the human body in an environment that is conducive to active learning,” Bruzzini said.

Teachers will attend the first week of the course and high school students will join them second week. The S.T.A.R.S. program will provide teachers with an “intense” orientation to human anatomy. Lectures will cover the cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, musculosketal and urinary systems while lab classes using models, computers and dissections of cadavers will reinforce each lecture’s lesson. “Teachers will work in small groups with my assistance in designing lesson plans for the students’ experience the following week,” said Bruzzini. “They will organize work stations for the students to explore human anatomy hands-on.”

In the second week, the 16 students selected will receive mini-lectures given by the teachers on a variety of anatomical topics. They will then proceed to the Maryville Gross Anatomy Lab where they will learn by using prosected cadavers, bones, models and computer programs. Bruzzini believes it is imperative to expose children to the many facets of science. “By investigating the anatomical science using cadavers, we are introducing the next generation to our love of anatomical science. Their active participation will engage them in the science. At the very least, they will gain a hands-on respect for life and the human body.”

Applications for the program will be accepted from teachers involved in a basic science course who may be interested in starting a human anatomy class at their respective high schools. A basic familiarity with college-level introductory biology will be beneficial. Although the class will be rigorous and fast-pasted, it assumes no prior background in human anatomy. Each teacher will be allowed to select two students to participate in the program. Students outside the area who are interested in a fundamental introduction to human anatomy are also encouraged to apply.

Bruzzini received one of seven outreach grants awarded nationally by the American Association of Anatomist (AAA) to teach the S.T.A.R. program. The AAA awards the $3,000 matching grants based on several criteria, including the proposal’s visibility and scientific impact, quality of participants, and potential value to the AAA.

Participants have the opportunity to receive credit upon completion of the program. To allow indvidualizized instruction, the course is limited in size. The deadline for consideration for credit tuition remission is April 30. To register for the course or receive further information, please call or e-mail Bruzzini for permission and instructions for registering at 314-529-9518 or