Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 2019


Most people tend to have horses as their first contact with livestock animals. They are usually more common to see or interact with than cows, sheep, or other farm animals. This makes them a good starting animal for students learning about livestock, as well as the fact that they can be used for show, for work, or as a pet, making the equine industry a big one. While models have been used to teach students in topics such as architecture, cycles, and human muscles, little published research was found on the topic of having students build models of equine anatomy and physiology. Using hands-on methods of teaching can lead to a better understanding of a topic, as well as increasing levels of other skills important to students, like teamwork or problem-solving. To understand how students learn when constructing a model, we had two groups of two high school students with some previous knowledge of horses take a pre-test, build a model of a horse’s leg out of PVC pipe, and take a post-test, then answer metacognitive questions about the process. All of the students increased their scores and understanding of equine anatomy, and most of the students enjoyed learning in this manner. The kits we made for the students to put together could easily be made and used as a lesson in a classroom, or in a club, such as 4H. However, more research is needed to measure the model’s effectiveness as a learning tool across a wider variety of students of different ages, genders, and levels of knowledge. The workshop and tests can be made easier or more challenging, and other parts of the body or other animals can be used as the basis for the model. With a better understanding of anatomy and physiology, equine owners, veterinarians, racing trainers, and others involved in the industry can prevent injuries and increase the quality of life for horses.