What’s Wrong With Andy Atkins? You Be the Doctor in this CER Activity using a Digital Interactive Notebook

My A & P Students LOVE Putting Themselves into the Role of a Physician!

In this latest activity, I had my students play the role of medical students to diagnose an ambiguous respiratory ailment in Andy Atkins. We started out with this slide as our warm-up when students entered the classroom.

They LOVED it and organized their medical teams quickly.

I asked them to get chrome books and, after they were settled, they logged into Schoology (we switched this year from Google Classroom. I don’t know how I feel about it yet). From here, they examined his medical records in a digital interactive notebook format….

This is a screenshot of their digital interactive notebook

This is the first time my students have used a digital interactive notebook in my class. There was a little bit of a learning curve, but they caught on really quickly. A couple of quick hints if you’re new to digital interactive notebooks:

1. Digital interactive notebooks are simply Google Slide presentations that have interactive links to various items/pages within the slide show. For example, the tabs on the sides of the notebook link to the sections within the medical records.

2. The links to the Table of Contents and the tabs on the sides ONLY work when students have the Google Slide show in “Presentation” mode.

3. The last tab (Patient CER) contains a section for students to type their answers into tables. Students can only type into the slide show when it is NOT in “Presentation” mode (confusing, huh? lol).

4. Navigation within the notebook includes arrows at the bottom for “previous page” and “next page”. The house icon at the top of each page returns students to the Table of Contents page.

5. The Table of Contents page contains hot links to each section listed.


Student medical teams were asked to evaluate 6 different respiratory diseases or disorders in order to diagnose their patient. They were given histological images, x-rays, and information for each of the six possibilities. They were also provided Andy Atkins’ symptoms, chest x-ray, and lung sample slide image. Even though I provided my students with a paper copy of their assignment, my students really liked having full color tissue sample slides and clear x-ray pictures that were in their digital notebooks. Once they decided on their diagnosis and reasons for choosing it, I asked them to transfer their work onto a large paper so we could have a better visual aid for discussion.

I did have to keep them on task a little so we wouldn’t run out of time!

The Discussion

I used this with a smaller honors class so we opted to do a gallery walk and have one medical team member explain the diagnosis and the evidence/ reasoning to support it. I thought it was interesting that the class was divided equally between two diagnoses. This class is SUPER competitive and really gets into debate so I stopped them here (before it got out of hand lol). We also had a safety drill at the end of the block we did this activity so it cut us a little short as well. I think next time I do this activity, I will have the groups debate their diagnosis choice and try to come to a single conclusion and decide on a treatment plan for Mr. Atkins.


My students really enjoyed this activity, especially using the digital interactive notebook as Mr. Atkins’ medical record. I think that it is always a valuable scientific learning experience when students have an opportunity to state their idea, examine evidence to see if it is logical, and justify their reasoning to come to a conclusion. I’ll definitely use this activity again!


Please visit this link to my TpT store if you’d like to purchase this activity for your class.

Click to visit my website!

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Growing as a STEM Educator- My Journey Year 2

Having fun at NSTA in Atlanta!

2022-2023 School Year

This year, I’m so excited to have been chosen to participate in the Research Experiences for STEM Educators and Teachers (RESET) through the Army Educational Outreach Program. It is an intensive, year-long program that offers authentic research opportunities in STEM. I am participating along with around 60 other educators from states across the country.


As part of this program, I was asked to create a Google site to document my process. Each session, we will be creating an action plan that we will incorporate into our classroom. These action plans will be based on one of the STEM Teaching Tools. If you’d like to see a list of all the STEM Teaching Tools, please click the link HERE. If you’d like to follow along with my learning journey during this process, please click HERE or the picture below.

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Growing as a STEM Educator- My Journey Year 1

2021-2022 School Year

Despite having been an educator for more than 25 years, I still get so excited when I get to learn new things to use in my classroom. Last year, I earned National STEM Certification through the National Institute for STEM Education.

It was a great program– Completely online, 38 modules competency-based. I was able to demonstrate proficiency in 15 teacher actions and create a portfolio of my learning.

I worked with a STEM coach who was awesome! I also loved that I could work at my own pace, in my own time. I used many examples from my own classroom to maximize my growth as a teacher. Cost was $625 for the program.

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Zombie Wound Healing Lab REVISED for 2021!

What do you get when you cross petroleum jelly, food coloring/fake blood, toilet tissue, and cocoa powder? A fun, engaging lab activity for your Integumentary System unit, of course!

My students sometimes think studying the Integumentary System can be a little boring so this year we tried something different– We created gross, realistic looking wounds to explore wound healing.

First Step: Easy Video Instructions

We watched this video before going into the lab. I think it does an excellent job of explaining the process. It also helped my students visualize what the process looked like.

Second Step: In the Lab:

Students worked in partners and were given a choice of locations for the wound they were to create on their partner. There were 6 location choices (on arms and legs only) that were written using anatomical directional terms. For example, “the wound was inferior to the antecubital region of the right arm and superior to the phalanges”. They also had a choice of wound lengths. Their lab sheet also asked them what stage of wound healing their wound was in currently. When I checked the lab groups, they had to tell me exactly which wound (location and size) they created. I think it really helped them practice the anatomical terminology in a practical setting.

Side Note– Fake blood works better than red food coloring in making the petroleum jelly mixture. I put a small amount into a little bathroom cup and used craft sticks to mix. I also gave teams a small paper plate with cocoa powder on it to minimize the mess in the lab. The little tubes of gel fake blood work the best for the finishing touches of active bleeding 🙂

Here are some addition photos of our “wounds”

The students LOVED it!! (and some really got creative). I’ll definitely be doing this again next year!

UPDATED for 2021:

Click HERE to download the Zombie Wound Healing Lab student lab sheet (in a Google Doc) that my classes used this year. The link is in a Google Doc and will require you to make a copy for your drive.

To access the “Wound Healing” presentation I use with my students after lab to help them answer their lab questions, click HERE to visit my website.

New Pics from 2021
Visit my website www.drsmontgomery.com and my TpT store for more activities https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Drm

Posted in activity, Anatomy & Physiology, Forensics, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pink Eye of Death– A Medical Mystery

Your Mission

Step 1: Listen to Dr. Judy Melinek describe this baffling case from the link above (or read the transcript below):

Here’s the case: A 30-year-old man goes into an emergency room and complains of a headache and neck pain. He is sent home with ibuprofen and told that it is a tension headache. He returns a week later with red eyes (conjunctivitis), continued headache, neck pain and nausea. He dies in the hospital shortly after admission and the case is referred to the medical examiner, because the death is sudden and unexpected. The only significant medical history is that he had been shot in the face as a teenager and is blind in the right eye.

Autopsy findings: meningitis (pus infection of the brain) with Staphylococcus aureus (a bacteria that usually infects wounds), and pus extending to the gunshot wound tract and around the eyes (pink eye).

Source: Medical Mystery: The Pink Eye of Death from ScienceFriday

Additional information: The person who shot the victim 12 years ago was convicted of 1st degree assault and sentenced to mandatory 10 years in jail because a firearm was involved in the altercation.  This is a Class B felony under Alabama law. 

Step 2: Form your Forensic Investigation Team

Your Mission: It is up to your team to decide if this is a delayed homicide or a natural death and present your findings to the District Attorney to determine if charges will be brought against the person who originally shot the victim.

Your team is responsible for:

a. Developing a theory / hypothesis of what caused this man’s death (either delayed homicide or natural death). You must also provide a rationale (reasons) for your theory.

b. Designing an experiment to test the validity of your hypothesis

c. Evaluating the data from your experimental results

d. Creating a model to illustrate your theory & the results of your experiment

e. Drawing a conclusion that you will present to the District Attorney (in a Google Slides presentation) to determine if charges will be brought against the person who originally shot the victim.

Team Members & Responsibilities:

Team MemberJob DescriptionResponsibility
Lead Forensic Investigator1. Oversees project
2. Makes sure team responsibilities are followed & communicates w/teacher
3. Develops theory of cause of death
4. Provides rationale supporting theory for final report
Theory w/Rationale

Slides 4 & 7

Medical Examiner1. Performs autopsy
2. Researches medical issues associated with findings from autopsy
3. Interprets medical findings from autopsy
4. Provides analysis of medical findings for final report
Medical Examiner’s Report w/Analysis

Slide 3

Forensic Lab Technician1. Designs experiment
2. Carries out experiment to test theory
3. Helps create model to illustrate theory
4. Summarizes experiment methodology & findings for final report
Experiment Methodology w/Results

Slides 2 & 5

Evidence Collection Technician1. Records data from experiment
2.Takes careful notes during experiment
3. Creates a model to illustrate theory
4. Summarizes description of model for final report
Notes & Experimental Data w/Model

Slides 1 & 6

Step 3 Design & Perform an Experiment to Test Your Theory/ Hypothesis

Whatever your theory/ hypothesis (delayed homicide OR natural causes) about how the victim died, your team will need to design some sort of test which will give you scientific evidence (data) to either support or refute your assumption. You will evaluate your results and decide whether your theory is valid (based on the data) or if you need to go back and re-evaluate your original theory.

The Forensic Lab Technician and Evidence Collection Technician are primarily responsible for this part, however, EVERYONE should work as a team to share ideas and decide what kind of testing or experimentation would give you the information you need in order to prove (or disprove) your idea of what happened to this man.

Careful notes should be taken on the results of the testing because they will be included in the evidence which will be presented to the District Attorney.

It is possible that your evidence evaluation could be used in court by the DA if this case comes to trial. Be clear, concise, and explain things simply so that jurors of any background can easily understand the evidence and what it means.

Step 4 Create a Model to Illustrate Your Theory

Since juries (& most people, really) understand things more easily if they can visualize what you are talking about, your group is responsible for creating some kind of model to illustrate your theory of how he died. (Helpful tip- A 3 dimensional model would be an awesome way to represent the brain 🧠) You can use any materials you’d like, even paper or poster board. I have some supplies that I will gladly share with you.

Step 5 Presentation of Findings to the District Attorney

Your team will need to prepare a Google Slides presentation of your theory to present to the District Attorney. Since the evidence that you provide will potentially determine whether or not someone is charged with murder, it is important that your presentation is clear, concise, and persuasive.

Your presentation should include:

Slide #1– Title slide with your team members’ names and their job. (Completed by Evidence Technician)

Slide #2– Summary of the Case (Just the facts) (Completed by Forensic Lab Technician)

Slide #3– Medical Examiner’s Findings (Completed by Medical Examiner)

  • State what the autopsy showed. Use clear, understandable language. You must include a graphic/photo that represents the findings. Provide labels in your graphic/ photo so everyone can understand the complicated medical findings.

Slide #4– Your Theory and Rationale (show how the medical findings support your theory) (Completed by Lead Forensic Investigator)

  • State your theory. Should charges be brought for delayed murder or was it a natural death? Include the rationale (reasons) for your theory. Connect the medical findings to your theory. “Our theory is….. based on the following findings from the autopsy: 1…2…3…etc” Be exact with your words. Connect the theory and medical reasons clearly so someone from any background can see your reasoning.

Slide #5– Experiment Methodology & Results (Completed by Forensic Lab Technician)

  • Explain the experiment you performed on the victim in order to gather data. What did you do? Did you take tissue samples? Perform microscopic examination of samples? Etc. Tell what tests you did AND the results from those tests. Be clear and concise so jurors from all backgrounds could understand if this is used in court.

Slide #6– Description of your model (Completed by Evidence Technician)

  • Show a picture/ graphic AND explain the model you made to represent your theory. This would ideally be something that would be shown to jurors as the DA explained the case to them. It would be cool if your model was 3D but it could be a graphic of some sort. Be creative and neat but, above all, make sure it gets the idea across in a simple, clear way! Remember that if this happened to be shown to jurors, they wouldn’t understand the case the way you do. Be clear.

Slide #7– Conclusion/ Recommendation (Completed by Lead Forensic Investigator)

  • State the reasons why your theory is supported (or not supported) by the data from your experiment. What does your evidence recommend? Should the DA bring charges or not? Be persuasive in your evaluation of the evidence! Restate the theory, tell how your findings support/ refute this theory, DRAW A CONCLUSION, & make a recommendation to the DA (bring charges or not).

Note to Teachers:

I designed this activity for my Forensic Science students to “practice” skills related to using the scientific method. It is based on an actual case! Every science teacher knows that the scientific method isn’t a clear list of steps, but more of a logical way to approach the solution to a problem. This activity is designed to help students practice this logical approach. I never have my students “list” the steps of the scientific method. In fact, I feel these “steps” are fluid as theories/hypotheses are developed, then discarded or revised as results from tests or challenges demonstrate they aren’t the best fit.

I am doing this activity with my students this week (week before Spring Break so pray for me 😂😂). I only have 5 traditional, in-person students in my classroom (and 23 at home virtual). This will only be done with my in-person kids. I will post this project as a PDF download here as well as on my website under the Forensics tab. I will also post the forms I used and the rubric for grading so stay tuned to this space!

Update: I did this activity with my students today and they loved it! It only took us one block (90 min) and they were able to get everything done, including the Google slides part. The AP English teacher came in and played our District Attorney. She had a lot of good questions for them and they really had to be persuasive in their argument to convince her😊 I’ll definitely be using this activity again with my Forensics class next year.

To download a PDF of this activity, please click the link below or visit the RESOURCES section of my website.

Look for this badge on my website

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Need a Cute Activity for Valentine’s Day? Create an “Anatomically Correct” Valentine!! Now with UPDATED DIAGRAMS!


Need a Cute Valentine’s Day Activity?

How about Creating an Anatomically Correct Valentine Heart?

I developed this several years ago and always used it with my Anatomy and Physiology classes.  They loved it!  Some years, I had the students draw their hearts for the Valentine.  Often, many complained because they said they “couldn’t even draw a circle” (Sound familiar?) .  This year, I decided to put together a package to make it easier for them (and me).

How does this activity work?

I designed this activity to use 2 sheets of paper 1 sheet of paper copied front and back.  This is the interior:


This is the backside:


Copy the pages front & back then fold the sheet in half.  The anterior face of the heart should be on the front of the card and the posterior face of the heart should be on the back of the card. The inside of the card has the cross-section of the heart on the left hand side and a text box on the right side.  I always have my students create a rhyme, limerick, or haiku (related to the heart) for the inside of their card.  The outside can be trimmed closely to the heart shape, or left as a rectangle so a sentiment can be written on the outside as well.

I give points for creativity and following the prescribed instructions.  We usually do this activity a week or so before Valentine’s Day so we can decorate with them.  This year, we will probably just make them as an activity on Valentine’s Day.

Here are some examples of cute sayings I found online that could be used on the inside

This activity can also be used as a review for the parts of the heart if students are responsible for labeling the diagrams as well as creating the Valentines.

Here is the link to the Anatomically Correct Valentine Heart Activity in my TPT store: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Anatomically-Correct-Heart-Valentine-Perfect-for-Valentines-Day-6542157

Modifications to this Activity- 3Dimensional Heart

Screen Shot 2021-02-08 at 4.33.34 PM


Modifications to this Activity- 3Dimensional Heart

I also created a separate activity bundle of Oversized Diagrams (that also includes the Valentine activity) that can serve as a review for the parts of the heart.  The keys are included for labeling the diagrams.

Use as a 3D study tool

  • Color and label the external anterior and posterior surfaces of the heart
  • Color and label the internal cross-section view of the heart
  • Use in creating a Stop-Motion video
  • Use to trace the flow of blood through the heart (use red/blue arrows or yarn)
  • Use to review basic heart anatomy (keys to diagrams are included)

Flexible activity makes it easy to differentiate assignments!

Here is a link to the Oversized Heart Diagrams which includes the Valentine’s Activity in my TPT  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Heart-BUNDLE-Anatomically-Correct-Heart-Valentine-Oversized-Diagrams-6542206

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Burke and Hare– Real-Life Body Snatchers! Revamped for Distance Learning!

William Burke and William Hare– Real Life Body Snatchers!! Revamped for Distance Learning!! 

This Halloween, I’m going to spice up my Forensics class with a spooky study of real life murders and grave robbers!  William Burke, William Hare, and Dr. Knox are said to be the inspiration for the Robert Louis Stevenson short story “The Body Snatchers”.  My classes will be investigating these real life resurrectionists via my iBook on Burke and Hare. If you’d like to use it with your classes, it is published on my website at https://www.drsmontgomery.com/forensics.html 

Within the published slide show, there is information on Burke an Hare, as well as Human Dissection.  It even contains the text for Robert Louis Stevenson’s short story “The Body Snatcher” with a link to an audible reading of the text, as well as questions embedded within the story.

My students always love this really short unit.  Often, the Senior English teacher has my students studying “Frankenstein” at this time of the year and it makes a good correlation with this text.  Assessment will probably be done formally with a traditional quiz, but, I have also had my students write a short paper or essay comparing the real life case to the “Body Snatcher” short story.  It is a quick unit that my students always enjoy at this time of year.

Happy Halloween 🙂

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Need Help with Distance Learning? Check Out My Newest Anatomy and Physiology Slide Shows for Your Students (& Mine)!

How do I access the slide shows?

Visit my website at https://www.drsmontgomery.com/slide-shows-for-a–p.html and click the “Slide Shows for A & P”. Choose your body system and the specific topic. It’s that simple!

Click Image to Visit My Website!

The best part??

The slide shows are published on my website so students (& YOU) can access them anywhere, on any device! Completely FREE! No more trying to juggle assigning a separate Powerpoint or Google Slides presentation on your LMS platform (and hoping students can get everything located and opened). You can even project it (or share your screen) to help you teach remotely.

I also used large colorful diagrams from my book to make it easy to locate and learn structures. No more struggling with tiny labels and a million leader lines on small Chrome books or phones.

One more thing….

These are the slide shows that I use to cover material with my A & P students in class so they might differ slightly from the material that you cover. I have included a list of things covered in each slide show. I generally teach 1 section of Honors A & P and several sections of General A & P. I have added in links to the videos I normally show in class, as well as links to my Quizlet decks my kids use for review.

I am adding the slide shows as I go through the A & P course this year. I am listing the companion fill-in-the-blank guided notes (in Google doc format) in my TpT store if that would be helpful to you (but the purchase is not required for the use of the slide shows).

I really hope that this small thing will be a blessing to you as we try to survive our new “normal” in schools. All the best to you this year!! 🙂 Dr.M

Visit my Website!
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Medical Mystery PBL for Anatomy & Physiology- Skeletal System

There’s Been A Massive Bus Crash and ALL Our Patients Were Onboard…. Oh NO!

My students get into ANY story~ That’s why they love our PBL projects! We are using our life-sized “stackable” patients throughout the year as they investigate a “mystery” specific to their patient for each body system. At the end, they will be evaluating all the health issues their patient has suffered from, and will diagnose their patient with a large scale disease or disorder (such as diabetes, sepsis, etc) which all of these issues had been symptoms of. These “mysteries” can also be standalone projects as well! For this body system, students had to deal with patient fractures from an imaginary bus crash. Unfortunately for the patient, there were also a couple of skeletal system issues (like gout, osteoporosis, etc) which were identified as they were x-rayed and treated in the ER.

Here’s what we did…

I created a Google slide presentation with the information about our project on it, published it to the web, then followed the link so my slide presentation was in a continuous loop while they were working. If you are curious, you can access a PDF of my Google Slide show here https://drive.google.com/file/d/18sykVru0U9ADPznhUnJT1bJz8YhVYp83/view?usp=sharing

The first class meeting, my students decided on their job (on the orthopedic team or the ER team), assembled the anterior and posterior skeletons, and labeled all the bones. They were given a Radiology Report specific to their patient that identified the fractures and types that their patient suffered.

Students completed the paperwork and drew the indicated fractures onto their skeletons. Then, they had to draw their patient’s x-rays (to scale). (I FINALLY found a use for the large amount of white colored pencils that I always seem to have left over every year! They are perfect for drawing on black bulletin board paper for x-rays of the bones).

Once they submitted their patient’s Medical Records to the Head ER Doc (aka Me lol), I gave them their ER Discharge Summary. Unfortunately, we found a couple of additional issues (such as osteoporosis, gout, etc) when we were doing the x-rays so all were referred to their family physicians to get these things managed.

Groups were asked to report on these additional “issues” in a debriefing session using either Google Slides or creating an Infographic (such as with Easel.ly) For more information about using Easel.ly, see this blog post https://ateacherontheedge.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/making-infographics-easy-with-easel-ly/

To purchase this Medical Mystery Skeletal System PBL (including the basic blank anterior and posterior skeletons that we used), please visit my TpT Store at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Anatomy-Practicals-Life-Sized-Skeletal-System-MEDICAL-MYSTERY-PBL-5082179

If you’d like to purchase the complete set of life-sized bodies we are using, please visit my TpT store at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Anatomy-Practicals-Life-Sized-Body-System-PROJECT-BUNDLE-Incl-all-11-Systems-4782545

Individual body systems (& the big bodies that go with them) can also be purchased separately.

Like My Large Diagrams and Teaching Materials?? Need Something New for Your Anatomy & Physiology Classes?

Want a Fun and Engaging Way to Review the Basic Concepts of Anatomy & Physiology? Check Out My NEW Book—Available on Amazon (and in Bookstores 🙂 400+ pages!!

To purchase on Amazon, please click HERE

Contains affiliate link

Posted in activity, Anatomy & Physiology, Anatomy Practicals- Stackables that Teach, Project Based Learning PBL, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Book is Available NOW!

This comprehensive coloring review guide offers anyone interested in Anatomy and Physiology a fun, effective way to learn.  Each chapter features diagrams for coloring, as well as review and sketch note pages for a more interactive way to master difficult concepts.  Written by a veteran anatomy and physiology teacher and a registered critical care nurse, this reference is perfect for nursing students, pre-med students, or any student in the health science field.

A truly innovative approach to learning about the human body!

  • Contains over 400 pages of material organized by body systems
  • Includes 142 hand-drawn illustrations and diagrams for visual learners
  • Offers workbook pages for self-testing
  • Provides guides for histology drawings and extra vocabulary aides in a bonus section
  • Delivers fun facts and study tips via original character Dr. L. Rat

Available on Amazon NOW– To purchase, please visit this link (affiliate link) https://amzn.to/2FNPUgR

It should be available in bookstores by Christmas!

Published in conjunction with Lab Rat Press

Posted in Anatomy & Physiology, Instructional Coaching, Sketch Notes, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment