3 Ways to Update Your Anatomy and Physiology Lesson Plans Blog Feature
Sarah Layton

By: Sarah Layton on April 22nd, 2015

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3 Ways to Update Your Anatomy and Physiology Lesson Plans

Anatomy and Physiology | Health Science

Does your anatomy and physiology course need an update?

Keeping students engaged while making sure they are well-prepared for exams, certifications, and further health science education can be an overwhelming task.

But sometimes the answer to all of that lies in the small changes rather than a major overhaul. Here are three ways to update your anatomy and physiology lesson plans that don't require a total redo.

1.) Blended Learning for Anatomy and Physiology Lessons

You don’t have to throw all your anatomy and physiology lesson plans out the window when you adopt blended learning. In “The Power of Blend in Blended Learning” by Adam Holden on the SmartBlog on Education, he points out how the best blended learning practices include traditional teaching styles as well as new techniques. Holden describes this as a “comprehensive” blend.

“It must be remembered that the most effective “blend” is likely to involve a comprehensive range of learning options — even those that might be deemed traditional in nature. Great innovators understand that the real potential of transformation lies in the way that change is integrated into the best of traditional practice.

The most effective blended learning environments do this well. Teachers understand that to meet the needs of all students, there must be time and space for direct instruction within the delivery model. Taking the time to offer a “mini lesson” each day, alongside a flipped classroom set of videos and collaborative learning spaces, is a valuable and often overlooked component of blended learning. Designing a room with a space for direct instruction to take place — perhaps a teaching center around an interactive whiteboard — recognizes the necessary role of a teacher-centered instructional model for those that prefer such an approach.”

For those that think that new philosophies and practices minimize the teacher, Holden points out that, “Taking the time to offer a “mini lesson” each day, alongside a flipped classroom set of videos and collaborative learning spaces, is a valuable and often overlooked component of blended learning.” Agreed 100%. Students need that “traditional” instruction time…they may just not need 35-40 minutes of it. Instead, you can do 10 minutes of instruction, then use something else to cover the rest. Read the full article here.

What are teachers saying about using blended learning to teach anatomy and physiology and other health science topics?

Teacher, Stephanie Avery, from Father Patrick Mercredi High School in Alberta, Canada uses HealthCenter21 in a truly blended approach to teaching and learning. She mixes online learning using HealthCenter21 with workbooks and activities that she’s developed. And there is lecture. With her students ranging in age from 15 to 18, Avery emphasizes,

“I need to teach. Some of the more complex content requires more than just one touch with online learning.”

So, blended learning is ideal for her courses. Students are learning in a variety of ways, including online, teacher-led lecture, clinicals, hands-on activities, and PowerPoints.

Rosemary Davis, a health science instructor at Foothill High School in Twin Rivers Unified School District in Sacramento, California says:

"HealthCenter21 is a terrific tool to use to change the activities in the classroom which involves them more. Because it’s visual, it’s auditory, it’s interactive, HealthCenter21 engages them much more than anything I could say. It’s a wonderful reinforcement tool. This is another way that they can interact with the material.”

Jeff Bonine, teaches at Health Sciences High and Middle College, a remarkable public charter school in San Diego.

“HealthCenter21 provides strong areas of content. I am comfortable that if students go through this, that when they come to lecture, I don’t have to spend time going over a lot of the basics, we can delve into more detail or more practice with the content. They go through it, then we practice, manipulate, and talk about content,” Bonine explains. “Lessons are really straight-forward, not wordy, clean. Content is broken up into small chunks. It’s presented in a way that is not overwhelming,” he adds.

2.) Daily Challenge with Anatomy and Physiology Curriculum

I don't think there's a health science teacher or student alive that's going to try to tell you that anatomy and physiology is an easy topic to learn. Let's face it, there is an element of memorization required with A&P. But that memorization doesn't have to be achieved only one way. I'm sure just about every A&P teacher out there has a set of flashcards and worksheets with parts of the body ready to be labelled. Both good options. But we're talking about ways to update here...so how about trying a daily quiz challenge?

We recently rolled out a beta option to some of our HealthCenter21 teachers that gives students an option to take a daily quiz challenge on A&P. It doesn't matter if they are on that topic or not... So even if they've moved on to medical math or medical terminology, or health care careers, they can still take a 10 question anatomy and physiology quiz before they get settled in for their regular lesson. They get their feedback right away, although it doesn't affect their grade.  The teacher can view reports on the quiz challenge to see how students are progressing.

A teacher using HealthCenter21's anatomy and physiology and medical terminology daily challenges said this, "I started using this with both my juniors and seniors yesterday. It is now a daily assignment. It is working exactly as described. I am hopeful that this will help my students to prepare for the medical term challenge test that they can opt to take at the end of the senior year. If they pass it, they can get college credit for two terms of Medical Terminology! Thank you for a wonderful and helpful tool. I hope it will be released as a fully functional option next school year!"

3.) Anatomy and Physiology Activities

Anatomy and physiology is a great subject to which you can add some fun, relevant activities. And, adding anatomy and physiology activities to your lessons is a great way to update or refresh your course. A little digging turned up a couple sites that offer some ideas for activities.

Anatomy Corner offers some interesting options. Pinterest is also a great resource.

In HealthCenter21, in addition to the blended learning curriculum, automatic grading, and teacher resources, you'll find a number of activities in the anatomy and physiology lesson plans.

There is an optional project in the module guide for having students create an informational brochure on a disease, complete with instructions, background, samples and a rubric. There is also a current event anatomy and physiology activity, again with all the necessary background details.

Keeping your anatomy and physiology lesson plans engaging and effective may require some updates here and there to keep the course from getting stale.

The good news is that making these updates doesn't have to be an overwhelming task.

Start small and make a few updates here and there. You'll figure out the best methods for your classroom!

Health Science Lesson Plan: Anatomy & Physiology PowerPoint


About Sarah Layton

Sarah is a contributing author to the AES blog. She is committed to helping instructors and students succeed both in and out of the classroom.