Skeleton Education: TouroCOM Students Teach First-Graders About Bones

Forget trick-or-treating: This past Tuesday, October 28, students of Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine-Middletown donned skeleton costumes to teach local elementary-school children about human anatomy.

November 02, 2014

Dressed as skeletons in the spirit of Halloween, a group of three student physicians—Anthony Bonzagni, Daniel Lee, and Dhaatri Kuchipudi—delivered a fun, interactive lesson about bones to the first-grade class of New Beginnings Montessori School. Two TouroCOM-Middletown faculty members joined the students in the presentation: Professor Leah Labranche, anatomy instructor, and Dr. Martin Torrents, Associate Chair of the Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Department. The TouroCOM presenters taught the children different ways of keeping their bones strong, such as eating healthy foods like vegetables and calcium-rich dairy products, and emphasized the importance of physical exercise in maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle. They engaged the children in the lesson by performing a short skit about an “ailing skeleton” and having the first-graders dance, jump, and run in place to “revive” him.

The first-graders were given the opportunity to look at real x-rays, use toy stethoscopes to listen to their classmates’ hearts, and touch plasticized bones that the group had brought from the medical school’s anatomy lab. “We pulled out a femur, had them hold it in their hands, and then showed them where it belonged on our [skeleton] outfits. The children were having a lot of fun,” said Dr. Torrents, DO. Medical student Anthony Bonzagni agreed. “The first-graders were a great audience, very inquisitive and enthusiastic,” he said.

“Our focus was to inspire curiosity about health science, and make learning a playful experience for them,” added Labranche, MSc. “All in all, it was a wonderful opportunity to have our students give back to the community and to create a relationship with the students and teachers of New Beginnings.”

The story was featured in the Times Herald-Record on Thursday, October 30.