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Touch Me!

by Greg Crowther


Context

This jingle is about the touch and pressure receptors in the skin. Whether students should know the differences between Meissner's (tactile) corpuscles, Pacinian (lamellated) corpuscles, Ruffini (bulbous) corpuscles, Merkel (tactile) discs, etc. is up to their instructor. Personally, I am most interested in the general mechanism of mechanotransduction that all of these receptors have in common. The melody of this jingle -- ideally performed in a sort of punk-rock style -- jumps back and forth between pitches that are a half step apart to convey the idea of mechanical distortion.


Lyrics

CHORUS:
Touch me! I said, touch me!
You'll distort the plasma membrane of mechanoreceptors.
Touch me! I said, touch me!
You'll distort the ion channels sitting in the plasma membrane.

There are free nerve endings,
Like a root hair plexus;
There are tactile corpuscles
And tactile discs.
Ion current changes;
Membrane potential changes;
Release of transmitter changes;
Yes, they all work like this!

CHORUS

Touch me!


Other Files

sheet music (with melody play-back)


Lesson Plan

Songs like this one can be used during class meetings and/or in homework assignments. Either way, the song will be most impactful if students DO something with it, as opposed to just listening.

An initial, simple follow-up activity could be to answer the study questions below. A more extensive interaction with the song might entail (A) learning to sing it, using an audio file and/or sheet music as a guide, and/or (B) designing kinesthetic movements ("dance moves") to embody it. The latter activity could begin with students identifying the most important or most challenging content of the song, and deciding how to illustrate that particular content.


Study Questions

(1) Are there any other sensory receptors in the skin besides those listed?

(2) Where else in the body do mechanoreceptors occur?

(Answers may be found on the answers page.)