Return to Headlines

Learning STEM with Clay

At 27J Schools, we BELIEVE that hands-on learning allows students to explore and learn new concepts by engaging and creating with their own hands. #IBelievein27JSchools

Aarika Capra, a science and career and technical education teacher at Brighton High School has been utilizing the Anatomy in Clay (AIC) learning system since 2007 to provide a STEM hands-on learning experience for students in her anatomy and physiology classes. 

Recently, Ms. Capra was featured in AIC’s podcast series. The podcast episode transcript can be found here:

Anatomy in Clay is a learning system used for students to develop hands-on anatomy and physiology knowledge. Students build organs and systems with clay into models throughout the course. 

In Ms. Capra’s class, students can become heart surgeons for a day, as they undertake the task of performing a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft, also known as the CABG or the “cabbage” procedure. They utilize clay and real-life videos of heart surgeries to build the hearts. Using a vein (blue clay) from another part of the body, they carefully attach blood vessels and construct a bypass. They then take the clay home to teach their parents this same procedure. 

Ms. Capra’s teaching philosophy is for her students to “learn it, do it, teach it.” AIC allows her to implement this philosophy effectively with clay. Although the cardiovascular system is her favorite to teach using the clay, she also uses the clay to study how different diseases are related to the digestive, lymphatic, and nervous system.  

“People talk about it,” says Ms. Capra. “Students are initially excited because they have heard about the experience from other students. I am grateful to work in a school district in which students are supported with educational tools like the AIC learning system.”

Ms. Capra also recently received a grant from the Brighton Legacy Foundation to sponsor students in the Brighton High HOSA - Future Health Professionals program. This grant will help pay for students to participate and compete in the Colorado HOSA State Leadership Conference in February of 2022. 

The dedication of Ms. Capra in providing a STEM hands-on learning experience to her students is one more #ReasontoBelieve. #IBelievein27JSchools