Introduction and outline
The aim of this virtual and wet practical series is to demonstrate the ways in which the force developed by a skeletal muscle can be varied.
0:00 So this is a practical class on skeletal muscle, and it specifically seeks to address the question:
0:06 How do we grade the amount of force that a muscle can produce?
0:10 If we wanted to lift a pencil, versus trying to lift a dumbell, we have to generate quite different amounts of forces. That's what this practical class will explore; what are the mechanisms we use to grade force according to the task we want to carry out?
0:25 The class itself consists of two components; a virtual component, which is what will be done in the first week. Following up in the second week, you will come in to carry out a dissection to prepare the tissue to actually record responses, as if you were doing the experiment as a whole.
0:42 The purpose of these videos is to show you what those virtual data mean if translated to the living tissue. Subsequently, you will then be able to come back, prepare the tissue for yourself, and see what the data would have looked like if it had been done on living tissue, and not in the virtual components.
As noted in the above video, you will study the physiological properties of skeletal muscle using a simulation of the properties seen with the cane toad's gastrocnemius muscle, the skeletal muscle that is similarly placed as our calf muscle.
In this virtual lab you can work your way through a series of experiments using an interactive simulation which mimics the conditions that would be used in a "wet practical class" where you were actually carrying out the experiment on the real life leg. We have provided videos so you can see what the latter might look like, if you were conducting those "wet practical class" experiments instead of the virtual experiments you will do here.
Before we jump into the experiments, lets first look at how the "wet class" experiments are set up to allow you to collect such data.