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All Models Aren't Created Equal

By Ronald Hammond, PhD
Product Manager, Physiology and Laboratory Safety

Carolina Apps
Models are among the most traditional and useful items in a science educator’s toolbox. Whether the subject of study is leaf morphology, invertebrate zoology, general biology, or human anatomy, models are the perfect adjunct to texts and diagrams. They enable students to examine, in 3-dimensional perspective, the finest structural details of an organism or its components.

In many cases, models can be disassembled in a manner similar to performing a dissection. As an adjunct to dissection, models are an excellent reference tool for identifying small and indistinct structures. With the careful planning and execution of the master sculpture (from which the mold is made), high-quality models display the maximum number of anatomical structures.

Human anatomy models

No discipline of science relies more on the use of models than does human anatomy and physiology. Preserved human tissues are not readily available for educational purposes and, when they are, the condition of the specimens is usually not satisfactory to show detailed morphology. Many structures, such as the components of the middle and inner ear, are much too small for convenient study from natural specimens.

A thorough knowledge of the structure of cells and tissues is an absolute prerequisite for an understanding of the physiology, or function, of the various organ systems. An enlarged model is an indispensable teaching aid in such instances.

A complete human figure or torso model with head is actually a collection of models of individual organs, many of which can be separated and even opened for internal inspection. A human torso model of high quality is a valuable acquisition for any anatomy classroom. Generally, those with the largest number of removable components have the greatest teaching value.

Care of models

Models represent a formidable investment but, with reasonable care, they last for many years. Encourage your students to handle the models, but to do so with care and respect, particularly when removing or replacing parts. Breakage occurs most frequently when parts of models are forced together or twisted apart. Make certain they do not touch the models with the tips of their pens or pencils, because stains are difficult to remove without damaging the paint. Follow these 3 easy steps, and your models should serve you well for many years of valuable learning.

  1. Photocopy the identification key that accompanies each model and store the original key in a safe place.
  2. To avoid fading and deterioration of models, keep them in a reasonably cool area away from direct sunlight. Drape them with untreated cloth to prevent the accumulation of dirt and dust.
  3. Gently clean your models with a soft cloth and warm, soapy water to restore the surface without damaging the finish. Never use abrasives and solvents.

Carolina offers a comprehensive listing of the world’s best models for all life science applications. Our newest addition, the Altay® Human Anatomy Models, incorporates the features you expect from top-quality merchandise at affordable prices.

  • Molded from durable materials that guarantee long life and resistance to breakage
  • Painted with nontoxic, acrylic formulations bonded securely to the substrate to last the life of the model
  • Crafted carefully by a skilled artisan to assure that every minute detail is represented correctly
  • Mounted on attractive, reinforced display bases
  • Complete with identification keys
  • Backed by the unconditional Carolina guarantee
Carolina Biological Supply

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2700 York Road, Burlington, NC 27215-3398 • 800.334.5551