Brilliant biomechanics

West students visit St. Ambrose university to learn about biomechanical engineering


Joseph Potts

“I am familiar with the equipment that was demoed, but I learned a lot the first time we visited,” Anatomy and Physiology teacher John Arnold said. “The last activity as a whole group using the Hudl app was cool. I didn’t realize some of the functions.”

Joseph Potts, Reporter

West students from Anatomy and Physiology (A & P) classes went on a field trip to St. Ambrose University to explore their kinesiology department on April 10. The trip was organized by science teacher John Arnold and St. Ambrose Assistant Professor, Doctor Rhiannon Seneli, as a way to celebrate National Biomechanics Day.

Dr. Seneli from St. Ambrose contacted our pre-health program to see if we’d be interested in participating last year (spring 2018). I knew Dr. Seneli as she taught an athletic training course I took at Ambrose,” Arnold said. “I took a group of students last year, spring 2018, and we kept in touch about making it an annual event, and we made it happen for this year. We are talking about growing the event in future years by collaborating with other Davenport high school A&P classes to increase exposure and collaboration among students.”

On the field trip, students went around St. Ambrose visiting stations that showcased different inventions in  biomechanics like inertial measurement unit (IMU) motion sensors, a device that measures and reports a body’s specific force, and the VO2max test, which measures oxygen consumption during exercise.

“I personally bounced around to different stations to check in on groups and got a feel for what each station had to offer,” Arnold said. “While checking in with students, I asked questions I thought would be interesting to them while connecting our course to the event. I also took some notes.”

Many of the students were invited to join the field trip due to having interest in the field regarding the body. Junior Delanee Hansen was invited to join by Arnold because she had previously been in Anatomy and Physiology and had an interest in it, while junior Meghan Nahnybida was invited to come because she was already in Arnold’s anatomy class.

Hansen said the Electromyography (EMG) demonstration, which is where sensors are placed on various parts of the body to measure muscle contractions, was her favorite part of the trip.

“I had a great time. I learned some new things and saw some cool stuff,” Nahnybida said. “I liked the force plate and the sensors you put on your arm to see how it moved.”

The students and Arnold said they learned new things on the field trip. Arnold says he plans on having the students make their own research proposals based on access to equipment that was available at St. Ambrose, and is looking forward to how he can incorporate the Hudl app, which is a app that allows students to study a video that has been uploaded, in his Anatomy and Physiology classes.

 “I thought the field trip at the kinesiology lab just made me more confident that it is the field that I want to go in, and it was a great hands-on learning experience,” Hansen said.