Photos by Shelly Hanks, WSU Photo Services. SoundSlide by Hope Belli Tinney, WSU Today.
Anatomy coloring books first started hitting bookstores in the 1980s, but Amy Meredith, assistant professor in speech and hearing sciences, goes them one better.
In her speech anatomy course, students learn about articulation muscles by painting them on faces. Her students learn about respiration muscles by drawing them on T-shirts, and she pulls out Play-doh and red licorice to reinforce lessons about the larynx and vertebrae.

In the September/October issue of the Journal of Anatomy Science, Meredith details her hands-on teaching methods in an article titled “Innovative Activities for Teaching Anatomy of Speech Production.”

According to Meredith, undergraduate speech and hearing students typically learn anatomy through textbooks and lectures. (Dissecting cadavers is both costly and time intensive, and few speech and hearing programs include an anatomy lab.)
But, she said, students learn best when they work with other students, when they build on what they already know, and when they apply information to a real-life situation. So she regularly incorporates hands-on activities that reinforce and complement information she presents in other formats, including lectures and class projects.
At the end of the course Meredith asked students to respond to a Likert scale questionnaire, which confirmed what she had been hearing anecdotally. Students both enjoyed the hands-on, interactive activities and thought they were helpful learning tools.
Khadra Haro, 23, a senior speech and hearing major, agreed with the research: “I remember the facial muscles because I drew them on someone’s face,” she said.
Haro and a dozen more of Meredith’s current or former students agreed to participate in a photo shoot for the front cover of the Journal of Anatomy Science. Because the photo was requested and required in late August, Meredith asked her former students to show up with T-shirts from last semester and help recreate some of the other projects.
Alyssa Drevniak, 21, another speech and hearing major, said she wears her anatomy T-shirt often. Sometimes people comment and sometimes they don’t. Drevniak said when she told someone recently that the shirt was for her anatomy class, the student said: “Lucky!”
Drevniak thinks so too.
A link to the abstract is here.