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Michigan Tech Teaches Science Of Movement To Local High School Students

Area high school students are learning about the movement functions of their bodies this week.

Michigan Tech’s Department of Physiology is visiting Keweenaw area high schools with a hands-on activity as part of International Biology week.

They were at Chassell High School on Monday.


Students in Mrs. Markham’s biology class received a visit from MTU professor Steven Elmer who set up an obstacle coarse on the school grounds and asked the sophomores to participate in a dual slalom race.

While running side by side the students were instructed to step into and carry a large wooden frame made from 2x4s that they were instructed to build prior to the race.

The purpose of carrying the frames was to make it a little more difficult for them to properly turn and slow down each student’s overall performance of the task to give them a demonstration of how the human body moves and more specifically, how the human body makes turns.

Elmer said, “So we wanted to deliver an activity where students had to roll up their sleeves, actually build a device, when attached to your body would make it harder to turn. Students had to navigate their way through a slalom race course either with or without this wooden device that made it harder to turn. They compared their times, they graphed their results, and then we applied the results to certainly turning performance and Olympic sports to rehabilitation and even dinosaur evolution. You know we walk throughout the day and about fifty percent of our steps throughout the day involve turning. We know very little about turning, we know a lot about how you walk.”

Professor Elmer and his team have been visiting area high schools to educate students on the subject of body movements and its relationship to physiology, psychology, and neuroscience.

The team has visited four local high schools so far and will continue presenting its demonstration this week at Houghton, and Ontonagon high schools as well.

The outreach activities are made possible by a grant from the physiology society.

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