How can I learn animal anatomy in an online, interactive way?
October 17, 2011 2:35 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend online resources to help me memorize the anatomy of several animals for a biology test?

I have a biology test in which I need to know major anatomy for Starfish, Rats, Lobsters, and Clams, and earthworms. I had this idea that I would be able to find some sort of interactive activity to help me memorize these things. Maybe and online flash game, or puzzle, or some sort of visual quiz. I was surprised that I couldn't find any of this when I searched.

From what I know these are standard animals for biology students to study. Can you guys recommend any online games, quizzes, activities that I could use to aid in the memorization process?

Even something as goofy, and potentially unhelpful as this song on ant anatomy, if it were on one of my mentioned species instead of ants, would be great.

posted by chocolatemilkshakes to Education (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Why not make a game for yourself?

Materials: printer, paper, Velcro, scissors, laminating machine or the plastic roll stuff


1. print out picture from teh internets which has all the parts you need to know labeled. or, scan the pictures from your text book, or find your textbook online. (you can blow them up in a picture processing program if need be)
2. cut out the worded parts.
3. laminate both picture and words
4. place one sticky velcro on the line pointing to the part
5. place other sticky velcro on back of word
6. mix up words behind your back
7. place them on velcro parts!

not only does the cutting out the words make you more familiar with them, but it also helps you learn. alternatively, if you need to memorize them without a word bank, cut out the words and throw them away. number all the parts and mix up the numbers. stick all numbers on the picture, then on another piece of paper write down the numbered parts' names.

good luck!
posted by fuzzysoft at 3:03 PM on October 17, 2011

virtual earthworm

pig will be very similar to rat

try searching for "virtual dissection." There are some things out there, but variable quality.
posted by juliapangolin at 3:05 PM on October 17, 2011

Flashcard software is great stuff. There are some places you can download flashcards other people have written (like Flashcarddb) but it does work better when you write your own. The software allows you to add images, and if you use one of the ones that works on a portable device you can study wherever you go (or when you wake up at night, or whatever.)

Good luck! Spaced repetition is a really easy way to learn things quickly.
posted by asperity at 3:35 PM on October 17, 2011

Quizlet allows you to use quizzes that other people create or you can create your own.

This search for "animal anatomy" shows a couple already there.
posted by NoraCharles at 3:47 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Does it have to be online? Drawing stylized, free-hand, anatomies was really helpful for me. With and without an example drawing.

Otherwise, I did a lot of flashcard programs for biology but they aren't so good at illustrations. You could make up your own study device with a flashcard program by labelling various objects with letters or numbers, and then referring to them in the flashcards.

If you do find online quizzes, I'd be very interested in them (for fun because I don't get to dissect anything any more).
posted by hydrobatidae at 5:02 PM on October 17, 2011

Biology student here too. I'll share my memory trick with you.

What I do when I need to memorize anatomy is that I just relate parts of the human body to the parts of the critter that I need to memorize in terms of function - for example, brain for central nervous system, eyes for vision, heart for circulation, stomach for digestion and so forth would be the more obvious ones. It's not too difficult to make small mental leaps with the less obvious ones with this method either, since the human body has a lot of stuff to reference - like, you could go for teeth in comparison to a starfish's beak, or sweat pores in comparison to secretory glands.

Then, you can just order the parts of the human body in an intuitive way (head to toe is a good idea), and just list off the parts of the human body to match up to the part of the creature in question. This works really well in exam situations, since you can just use your own body as a reference point as a memory tool!

A good tactic is just to memorize the number of organs you actually use for each animal when going from top to bottom since you probably won't be using every part of your body for every animal.

If you have subcategories of a body part for an animal (i.e. you're expected to know, say, the difference components of an organ/structure), associate a mnemomic with the body part that helps you remember the subcategories.

This trick always works for me! The best part is that if you forget one part, you're not instantly screwed since you can just move onto another body part by referencing your own body. That's opposed to a lot of other tricks which require you to actually memorize an order instead of having it to use right in front of you during the exam - if you forget the order or miss one part, you're completely lost!
posted by Conspire at 11:54 PM on October 17, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, using a variety of these recommendations I went into my exam feeling rather confident. You had lots of ideas I wouldn't have thought of.

hydrobatidae: I didn't find any quizzes outside the ones mentioned in this thread. But one fun thing I did find if you miss dissections -- Youtube has lots of dissection videos. You can watch some one walk you through step by step on the anatomy of a given dissected animal.
posted by chocolatemilkshakes at 8:51 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

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