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Collaborating to Think Critically

Collaborating to Think Critically

A football lineman breaks his thumb in a game but is cleared to play and lift weights with a cast on. A sixteen-year-old multi-sport athlete wants to work on running faster while he’s recovering from a shoulder injury.

Developing a training program for an experienced athlete can be challenging, but how do you modify the exercises to accommodate an athlete who is recovering from an injury? These are just a few of the real world scenarios our honors anatomy and physiology students were challenged to work with in a recent collaborative project with the SBS department of athletic performance. 

SBS graduates are equipped to think critically; what does this mean? It means solving real world problems, applying knowledge in different scenarios and making connections with learning. Honors anatomy and physiology teacher Arthur Babcock teamed up with strength and conditioning coaches, Chelsey Turk and Nick Mascioli to implement a project ensured to inspire critical thinking and outside-the-box learning.

Following a series of lectures on neuromuscular applications to athletic performance, students were given a hypothetical athlete with a weakness or injury and asked to develop an individualized athletic training program. Visiting the weight room, the students even practiced training exercises and critiqued one another as part of this hands-on experience. 

Describing the project, Mr. Babcock said, “Students had to apply knowledge and problem solve when selecting exercises for their programs that would mitigate the risk of injury and meet the athlete’s goals. It was incredible to see the students collaborate with one another and apply their knowledge as they completed this project.”

Real life application took this project and the learning to the next level. Coach Turk explained, “It can be challenging for students to see real-life application of what they are learning in the classroom. Our hope is that students see the direct correlation from classroom education to practical everyday use. Regardless of what field of study they choose to follow, our bodies move every day. From sitting at a desk to playing a pickup game, we want our students to understand how the body works.” Coach Mascioli agreed and said, “Research shows that authentic, meaningful learning is achieved through practical experiences where you can apply classroom learning. As coaches, we were honored to be a part of this project.”

What do our students have to say about this unique learning experience?

Bailey Ireland ‘21 shared, “I had to be able to think through real life situations and come up with a solution that would best benefit my athlete. I also had to think through how different muscles work together in order to provide exercises for the target areas.”

As an athlete himself, Noah Cousin ‘21 said that the project really interested him and prompted him to be creative in designing a workout program for a specific individual while applying what he’s learned about the muscular system.

Virtual student Thi Huynh ‘21 said he felt engaged in every aspect of the project. “As interesting as it was researching every aspect of our workout program, I would have to say that the highlight of the project was executing our training programs in the Athletic Center. Being able to put into practice what we had been developing for the entire week in class was an excellent payoff for all the research that we put into creating our projects. I also enjoyed the process of being able to participate in my classmates’ workout programs and having them participate in my program as well.”

SBS teachers and coaches took learning to a new level as they required students to apply knowledge in real world scenarios, and our students rose to the challenge.