More than a 100 years ago school kids possessed more knowledge about how the human body works than most of us today. Can you compete with what they knew?
O Tempora O Mores!
When ABC News recently ran a segment about a 1912 test eighth graders had to pass to qualify for high school, many of us 21st century citizens apparently were amazed what school children 101 years ago had to know.
It also invited the usual “everything was better in the old days” discussion, frequently mentioning how most of us today are so stupid, kids especially.
Which of course neglects that kids and teens today live in a much more complicated world, one that requires a lot more knowledge than what a youth in 1912 Kentucky (where the test was used) had to possess. In the last century, human knowledge grew almost exponentially, and at some point it became inevitable to decide what you wanted to teach kids, cutting back something somewhere.
Your 1912 Health and Physiology Test
When I looked at the physiology section of that 1912 exam, I think we sometimes didn’t make the right decisions about what is essential – the kids back then apparently knew a good bit more about how their bodies worked than even many grown-ups today. If more people today possessed some of the knowledge back then thought to be elementary, they maybe would understand better why they are becoming obese or why their back pain is connected to their lack of exercise.
Anyhow, here are these questions. Could you master them?
- How does the liver compare in size with other glands in the human body? Where is it located? What does it secrete?
- Name the organs of circulation.
- Describe the heart.
- Compare arteries and veins as to function. Where is the blood carried to be purified?
- Where is the chief nervous center of the body?
- Define cerebrum; cerebellum.
- What are the functions (or uses) of the spinal column?
- Why should we study Physiology?
- Give at least fives rules to be observed in maintaining good health.
How Did You Do?
I have to admit, on some of these I found putting together an acceptable answer hard, but maybe you did better.
Picture courtesy of Catherine Snodgrass.