We are examining an actual heart that has been preserved by Plastination. It is clearly in the shape of a fist, not the traditional heart-shape we've all come to associate with love. "Well," I respond, "I'm not sure where that depiction came from. As you can see, a heart is more in the shape of a fist." My son shakes his head and moves along to the next exhibit.
The human heart is just one of many fascinating organs on display at the McWane Science Center's "Body Worlds Rx: Prescriptions for Healthy Living" exhibit. As a homeschooling mom, I'm often looking for ways to bring science to life in a meaningful way for my children; in this exhibit, science leaps from the pages of the textbook into a network of displays that could capture children's interest for hours. As a long-time visitor to the McWane Science Center, this is easily my favorite of all the exhibits I have visited at the museum.
|The kids had the opportunity to touch an actual brain and heart|
"Body Worlds Rx" is located on the third floor. When visitors enter the exhibit, they are greeted by the displays of actual human bodies, which reveal different organ and body systems. Anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens, who invented a way to preserve the human body in such a way it can be displayed for viewing to the general public, has paved the way for an innovative way to educate the public on the intricate, delicate workings of the human body. His science is called Plastination, which hardens the different parts of the body. This new science was unveiled at McWane on January 27th.
|My children pose with one of the models. This model illustrates the network of bones and muscles in the body.|
Visitors begin their tour of the exhibit with a close-up examination of the bones and muscles then travel through the different body systems, including circulatory, digestive, endocrine, neurological, respiratory, etc. Each of the organs on display is an actual, preserved organ, not simply a man-made model. The exhibit also highlights different ailments that afflict a body when it isn't properly maintained. "Body Worlds Rx" presents an explanation of each body system that is easily comprehended, and even offers actual models of diseased organs and systems, often comparing them to healthy ones. It is an exhibition that is perfect for educating young and old on the importance of healthy living.
|A look at the large intestine|
|An up-close look at the organs and their actual location within the body|
The exhibition includes many displays that are simply viewed, but there are plenty of hands-on activities including a dummy for practicing CPR and a working blood-pressure cuff. The exhibition merges physical displays with technology, including an interactive display that shows what happens in the body when movement occurs. Entertaining videos, perfect for children, further explain complicated body systems and the diseases that affect those. My favorite section is on healthy eating; this exhibit captivated my children and clearly illustrated the importance of healthy eating in an impactful way. While the idea of looking at preserved specimens of an actual human body might leave some squeamish, the exhibition is kid-friendly, especially for elementary and up. I can't emphasize how ideal this exhibit is to use in conjunction with a unit on the human body. I can't imagine a more realistic, impactful opportunity, outside of a university medical class. Parents should rush their children to view this imaginative, if not astonishing, exhibit. The first visit is free for members but costs $2 for subsequent visits. Non-members can expect to pay $5.00 plus museum admission.
|Watching one of the many short videos|
|A simple, but effective explanation of cancer|
|My children, captivated by a video on healthy eating|
|The importance of healthy eating|
|A pictorial display on the what people in other countries eat|
|Display of nervous system|