We’ll go out on a limb here and say we have an interesting fact that you may not have heard before. Did you know that while it takes nine muscles to move your thumb, there are no muscles in your fingers? Your fingers are actually moved by the muscles in your forearm!

That may seem like a random fact to share, but it was discovered by learners in a STEM lesson at RIS Ilkeston after studying prosthetic limbs. Learners started by looking at how prosthetic limbs made by 3D printers can only be created for the upper body, due to the strength needed in weight bearing limbs. Finding out fingers had no muscles meant the limb of choice to make in class was a hand!

Fiona Ryan, Specialist Teaching Assistant said: “Using one of the learner’s hands as a template we cut a squared hand shape out of cardboard. Then we used plastic drinking straws and string to attach to each finger which enabled us to pick up things, like a glue stick and whiteboard pen.

“Learners Charlie, Jamie and Zac really enjoyed this task and took great joy in demonstrating their creation to staff and learners. They’ve since commented on how interesting it was to find out that we don’t have any muscles in our fingers and they also discussed how it must feel to lose a limb and showed great empathy and understanding. 

“I really enjoyed teaching this session! It held a particular interest for me as my mum trained as a nurse in a hospital that pioneered the design and use of prosthetics post WW1. The best part of this lesson was being able to show our learners that people use prosthetics due to many different reasons (birth defects, accidents/trauma, disease etc.) and how the cost of a prosthetic limb is coming down in price since the invention of 3D printing.”