High School Short Course


This spring, over 250 junior and senior high school students who are enrolled in anatomy and physiology classes will come to the anatomy laboratory at Northern Illinois University for a one-day course in human gross anatomy.

Beginning in early February and ending in early May, groups of students from area high schools (20-25 students/group) will spend up to six hours studying gross anatomy in our cadaver laboratory. Upon arrival, the students receive a brief orientation, and then break into study groups and spend 30-45 minutes at one of four stations. The groups then rotate through the stations throughout the morning. Stations include prosected cadaver study, organ study, bone study, and model study. In addition, a 15-minute break is incorporated between the second and third stations. Cadavers are staffed by NIU faculty members or Human Anatomical Sciences graduate students, who demonstrate the relevant structures of a particular body region. The NIU teaching faculty is responsible for the content of the course, and each student is provided with a list of structures to be identified on the cadavers, models, and bones. As students rotate from one station to the next, they are responsible for acquiring the information outlined in the list of structures.

Session Details

In a typical session, all students will have completed rotating through the four stations by 12:15 p.m. at the latest. Our lunch break lasts until 1:30 p.m. At that time, the students can review the course material outside of the laboratory, and the laboratory examination will be prepared.

The laboratory practical examination assesses knowledge of the material presented in the course. The NIU teaching faculty prepare the laboratory examination, which consists of 25 stations (2 questions/station) for a total of 50 questions. Teachers then have the option of weighting the questions to arrive at a point total applied toward a student’s final grade.

In summary, the anatomy short-course day begins at 8:45 a.m. with introductions/orientation, and instruction begins promptly at 9 a.m. The laboratory examination set-up and administration will be completed in a timely manner, so that all groups will depart NIU by 3 p.m. at the latest.

Participant Testimonials

"Thank you for allowing us to come to your school and use your cadavers. We know that you don't have to let us do this, but we appreciate you giving us this major opportunity. Thank you also for deciding to give us two bodies as opposed to one. It made everything a lot easier and smoother. I hope that we pleased you with our dissection and you continue letting Andrew High School come back. Thank you!" -by Brianna Brown, senior

"Thank you for allowing us to use your lab in order to help further our education in anotomy and really take what we've learned inside the classroom to the real deal!" by Santeh Cox, junior

"Thank you so much for giving our school such a great opportunity. Being able to dissect as we did while using the prosected bodies as guidance was so special. The brain extraction and opening the ventral cavities were some of my favorite parts of the weekend. My group dissected the chest and brachial plexus region, which was truly amazing. We had so much fun and learned so much from this opportunity. Thnk you again for trusting Mrs. Johnson and our anatomy program to dissect the bodies."by Monica Gallagher, senior