Anatomy Practicals- Stackables that Teach: A Life-Sized Human Body Project- The Integumentary System!

The Body’s Largest Organ… The Skin

I had a hard time with this one!  The skin is the body’s largest organ, so how the heck was I supposed to incorporate that into a life-sized diagram? It took a bit of creativity 🙂 When we reviewed the systems with our Gallery Walk this year, the student group who had the Integumentary System had a hard time knowing what to label/ include with their “body”. I knew then that I needed to have some things pre-drawn for this body system.

My students struggle because most anatomical diagrams are small and can be difficult for them to analyze. My class created big bodies with basic organs from an outline I drew for their Gallery Walk  at the conclusion of our first unit on the body systems. It was SO beneficial for them!  Check out my previous blog post on this here https://ateacherontheedge.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/intro-to-anatomy-physiology-review-and-body-systems-gallery-walk/

The Gallery Walk was really an awesome activity so I fine-tuned it into a project that incorporated all of the systems. The picture below is from our Gallery Walk this year.

They loved having such large-sized structures to work with and told me that it really helped them remember the organs. For most of the body systems, I had the organs pre-drawn for them to make it more about delving into the content rather than them worrying about their “artistic” abilities.  I looked for pre-made life-sized bodies with organs, but sadly only found things appropriate for elementary students.  Definitely not detailed enough for Juniors and Seniors in high school, many of whom plan to pursue a career in the medical field!  So, I decided that I should create LIFE-SIZED diagrams which I knew would focus on the important structures of the system but, at the same time, be RIGOROUS enough for my high school Anatomy students. 

Here is the body for the Integumentary System…IMG_0434

These easy to interpret diagrams are drawn over 8 pages and are easily trimmed and taped together to create a large human body. This particular project utilized the simple body outline since the skin covers the outer surface.

I drew the diagram for the Integumentary System project with a pull-out page for the skin and extra large diagrams for the hair and nail.

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This is new in my TpT store!  You can check it out here –> https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Anatomy-Practicals-Life-Sized-Integumentary-System-PROJECT-4626673

It is the eigth installment in my newest project called Anatomy Practicals! These will cover each body system and provide your students with life-sized diagrams as well as the important organs included… all rigorous enough for high school Anatomy students! I have also bundled these with instructions for the project that my students did for each system.  Stay tuned for all systems to be posted!

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Anatomy Practicals- Stackables that Teach: A Life-Sized Human Body Project- The Skeletal System!

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The Skeleton– Life-sized!

My students struggle because most anatomical diagrams are small and can be difficult for them to analyze. My class created big bodies with basic organs from an outline I drew for their Gallery Walk  at the conclusion of our first unit on the body systems. It was SO beneficial for them!  Check out my previous blog post on this here https://ateacherontheedge.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/intro-to-anatomy-physiology-review-and-body-systems-gallery-walk/img_0073They loved having such large-sized structures to work with and told me that it really helped them remember the organs. I looked for pre-made life-sized bodies with organs, but sadly only found things appropriate for elementary students.  Definitely not detailed enough for Juniors and Seniors in high school, many of whom plan to pursue a career in the medical field!  So, I decided that I should create LIFE-SIZED diagrams which I knew would focus on the important structures of the system but, at the same time, be RIGOROUS enough for my high school Anatomy students…

 

These easy to interpret diagrams are drawn over 8 pages and are easily trimmed and taped together to create a large human body. This particular project utilized both the anterior and posterior views of the skeleton for students to label.  (One industrious student in one class printed her labels instead of handwriting them 🙂 )

 

I drew this project with a lift-the-flap skull to show the interior and sinus cavities. img_0550

 

img_0541Labels for the skull bones are also included in small print.

I am also including a lift-the-flap long bone to show the interior with medullary cavity.

This project is new in my TpT store!  You can check it out here –> https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Anatomy-Practicals-Life-Sized-Skeletal-System-PROJECT-Includes-2-Versions-4497805

For just the large skeletons, please visit https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Anatomy-Practicals-Life-Sized-Anterior-Posterior-Skeletons-8-Full-Pages-Each-4397926

It is the fourth installment in my newest project called Anatomy Practicals! These will cover each body system and provide your students with life-sized diagrams as well as the important organs included… all rigorous enough for high school Anatomy students! I have also bundled these with instructions for the project that my students did for each system.  Stay tuned for all systems to be posted!Slide1

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The Complicated Patient: An Authentic PBL for High School Anatomy

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What’s more fun than an autopsy?

If you read my previous post (read it here )on the big review PBL I wrote for my Anatomy students (& will use to review A&P in Forensics as well), you know how much my students love Forensics. So, I decided to take that PBL idea and go a little deeper with it.  (Plus… Shhhh! I still have some time to fill before school gets out and I need another fun activity LOL!) Regardless of my motive motivation, I decided to take the Medical Examiner PBL idea to the next level and have my students collaborate in teams to interpret an autopsy report, decide what caused the death of Patient X, create a CER (Cause, Evidence, Reasoning) presentation and paper, and compete for an opportunity for a job in the Medical Examiner’s Office. Whew! Sounds fun doesn’t it? 🙂

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The Basics of the Complicated Patient PBL

This PBL activity can be used as a standalone project or as an enrichment companion activity to the Assistant Medical Examiners Training Program PBL.  It is intended as a deeper review of the various body systems within a practical application.  Students will be exposed to medical vocabulary used in the context of an actual autopsy report.  Every effort was made to produce an autopsy report that mirrors what is produced from a real Medical Examiner’s office.  Some of the vocabulary might be unfamiliar, but will make an excellent “teachable moment” for things like word parts (ex. thromboemboli- “thrombo”= blood clot;  “emboli”- moving) or common medical conditions (ex. Atherosclerosis- hardening of the arteries). img_0389

Students always enjoy the opportunity to debate! This project provides students with the opportunity to analyze information, form an opinion, and defend their decision with direct evidence from their patient. I included several rubrics that I use for assessment as my students complete this project.  These include opportunities for students to evaluate themselves, their team, as well as tools for me as the teacher to evaluate their work as a team and the product they produce. Here are the rubrics included with the PBL.

img_0388I have also included my KEY to the Interpretation of Autopsy Findings Chart, although answers could certainly vary with your students’ the depth of analysis.  img_0383.jpgAs for the “answer” to Patient X’s death, arguments can be made for both sides for manner of death 1) Death by heart attack or stroke (natural causes), then he had the accident or 2) Death resulting from injuries caused by the accident (accidental). A case could also be made for 3) undetermined because it really is difficult to pinpoint an exact event that caused his death (Since he was on blood thinners, he experienced heavier than normal bleeding from all the injuries (especially the lacerated liver) and maybe he would have survived these injuries if he wasn’t taking this drug). It’s always exciting for me as a teacher to hear the analysis my students participate in during a project like this!

The final aspect of the PBL is a team presentation to the Medical Examiner making their “case” for the manner of death their team believes happened.  My students consistently amaze me with the understandings they develop when they have to figure out an issue!  I require both a Google slide presentation as well as a written paper (in Google docs) because I have Juniors and Seniors and they need all the experience conveying their ideas as they can possibly get!  Here are my rubrics for the CER (Cause, Evidence, Reasoning). img_0382

Grading for this project is flexible for the teacher.  I have included my rubric (I count this project 150 points) with the point values for each part, as well as various evaluations and reflections that help me really assess my students’ learning with this project. 

 

  
I tend to grade teams according to how well they make their case and defend it with evidence….. not whether they chose natural cause, accidental, or undetermined as the manner of death.

I have found that project-based activities that feel “real” tend to foster rich conversations among the team members and encourage student engagement. It’s so helpful for students see Anatomy & Physiology in an authentic context!  If you are interested in purchasing this activity, please visit my TpT store https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Complicated-Patient-PBL-For-Anatomy-No-Prep-Print-and-Go-4566097

If you’d like to purchase the Assistant Medical Examiner Training Program PBL, please visit my TpT store at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Assistant-Medical-Examiner-Training-Program-PBL-For-Anatomy-or-Forensics-4561932

Save 20% when you purchase the BUNDLE of BOTH projects!  See it here https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Anatomy-Review-BUNDLE-Includes-2-COMPLETE-Project-Based-Learning-Activities-4566145

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Assistant Medical Examiner Training Program- A Comprehensive PBL for High School Anatomy (or Forensics) Classes!

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How Do I Keep My Students Engaged At The End of The Year?  How About Training To Be Assistant Medical Examiners?

It seems like every school year…. I flip the calendar to May and my students start thinking school is out (even though we have 3 weeks left usually!). I’ve never heard such complaining!  So, this year, I was determined to keep them engaged until Finals time without using all my “usual” methods to review.  What better way to create minds-on engagement than having them participate in a little “friendly competition” for a (make believe lol) job?

The Road to Becoming An Assistant Medical Examiner

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I also teach Forensic Science.  Students just LOVE the subject and it’s typically easy to keep them engaged.  However, I also teach Anatomy & Physiology that is the pre-requisite to my Forensics class (or it is at my school, it might not be everywhere else) and it can sometimes be a little more difficult to keep them interested, especially if they’re not really interested in nursing as a career.  So this year, I decided to combine the two disciplines into a Project-Based Learning activity that I could use with either class—> Anatomy, as a year-end review of the most important course objectives and Forensics, as a beginning of the year review of Anatomy concepts they should’ve learned in the pre-requisite course.

The PBL Story Line

The story line for this PBL centers on competition between student teams for an opportunity to land a job with the Medical Examiner’s Office.  Students must complete an Assistant Medical Examiner Training Program by completing Modules and defending their portfolio to the Medical Examiner.  I have them keep all of their information in a file folder to make it feel more realistic.  img_0374

They even have the opportunity to receive an “official” certificate when they finish all of their tasks! img_0371

I realize that many of my Anatomy students do not know some of the vocabulary terms related to death and Forensics, so I included a “Death Vocabulary” glossary as well as an article for them to read (and answer questions) on interpreting Autopsy reports. I gave them a separate little matching quiz on the Death Vocabulary as a progress monitoring tool.

Because the first unit in Anatomy & Physiology is so heavy in memorization of content, I thought this PBL would be a fantastic opportunity to review things like body planes, directional terms, regional terms, body cavities and membranes, in addition to the abdominopelvic regions, the functions of each body system and the organs contained within each system.  I also wanted to make sure they could locate all of the major organs within the human body.  I tried to make their tasks authentic since I realize many of them simply memorized the information at the beginning of the course and probably do not remember it because they didn’t use it in context to something practical.  Here are some of the worksheets/tasks I developed for this PBL.  img_0373

We also used the kid’s game “Operation” in one of the Modules to review directional terminology as we performed an autopsy on a victim who had been electrocuted 🙂 img_3589

In another Module, we used light sabers and objects such as an apple or ball of clay to practice sectioning something along a particular plane.  The light sabers were so much fun!! If this PBL is something you’d like to purchase, I provided a Teacher’s Guide/ Helpful Hints section for every Module that includes ideas for Extension activities in addition to my Grading Rubric.  img_0377

I provided them with a Review Worksheet for the Organs/Systems and also quizzed them on it as a means of progress monitoring.  img_0379

If you’d like to purchase this PBL, it includes everything you will need to do this activity with your classes (except the “Operation” game and the light sabers 🙂 I got mine from Amazon for the best price).  It also includes my quizzes (& Review Worksheet) that you could use with the first Anatomy unit as a pretest and with this PBL at the end as a post-test. There are also several full page diagrams which could be useful in other units during the year as well. img_0372 Hopefully, this might give you some ideas to help engage your students at the end of the year!  If you’d like to purchase this entire PBL (all 59 pages!) with all the diagrams and worksheets, please visit my TpT store at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Assistant-Medical-Examiner-Training-Program-PBL-For-Anatomy-or-Forensics-4561932

Hang in there!  The school year is almost over and Summer is just around the corner 🙂

Save 20% when you purchase the BUNDLE of BOTH projects!  See it here https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Anatomy-Review-BUNDLE-Includes-2-COMPLETE-Project-Based-Learning-Activities-4566145

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That Awesome Moment When You See Your Name in Print!

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A Published Author? Me?

I was so excited today to check out the latest Spring edition of The Forensic Teacher magazine and see something from my own classroom! (Check out the latest issue here )img_3464

I began this blog when I was an Instructional Partner (Coach) several years ago.  When I asked to go back into the classroom (because I missed that relationship with students you can only have if you’re their teacher), I continued using this space to document my own classroom and share examples of what’s happening with my students for my teacher friends that are scattered around the globe. It’s been a way for me to reflect on my own teaching practices and examine what worked for my kids…. and what did not.  I am so humbled (and grateful) that something I wrote was included in a publication that I use so often for ideas to include in my own classroom!img_3467 img_3465

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Think Cellphones Aren’t Distracting Students During Class? Think Again…

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Think cellphones are being used responsibly by teenagers during school? Think again…. 🙄

This is the reason cell phones are such a distraction during class… My students conducted research on their own cell phone use during class. I had them turn on their phone sounds and leave their phones on their desks. Whenever they got a notification, they got up and put a tally mark under the appropriate category. I continued class as normal (after this many years, I can ignore anything 😂). Students got SO frustrated!! They also didn’t realise they were being interrupted as often as they were (Sometimes even by adults— parents & counselors and teachers via Remind. We didn’t even check notifications from Google Classroom!). It was insane!

So How Did We Use This Data?

We used this data to foster a very real conversation about cellphone use. It was eye-opening for students to see the actual numbers for the instances they are interrupted by their phone during the day.  They told me they felt like they were good at “multitasking” …. until everyone’s phone sounds were audible! Then, they said it was overwhelming.  I compared this to what their brain is feeling like while they’re trying to make sense of information in class.  It can only handle so much… then, it just wants to shut down. It was a good lesson for my students.

Was the Data Similar for All the Classes?

I teach 2 sections of Forensic Science (all Seniors) and 2 sections of Human Anatomy & Physiology (Juniors & Seniors mixed).  Neither class is classified as “Honors”, although most of my Forensic Science students and about 2/3 of my Anatomy students have taken Honors classes throughout their time at my school.  My 4th Block Anatomy class has the fewest students, as well as the least number of students who have taken Honors classes.  Here are the results from my classes: 

We analyzed the data as a class.  They were astounded that they were interrupted an average of around 30 times PER student in a 90 minute block! It was also interesting to me that different classes utilized different social media outlets.  The notifications via Remind were ALL from counselors and teachers.  It definitely made me rethink when I communicate with my students.  We forgot to track our notifications via Google Classroom, although I think it would be interesting to see if this is an issue (I know I post assignments during my conference block.  Now, I schedule them or post them right before class). 

How this Data Impacted My Classes

The reason I had my students participate in this data collection was because I wanted them to realize they are constantly being interrupted in class and it was affecting their ability to pay attention. Rather than just say “NO CELLPHONES IN CLASS AT ALL!” I wanted to help them learn a life lesson about negotiation and responsibility.  In my opinion, people have become increasingly addicted to their phones (I admit, sometimes I am too but I can control myself lol) and there is a time and place for everything.  So,  I wanted my students to participate in negotiating a “fair use” policy for our classroom.  It’s a “non-negotiable” that phones are put away during instruction. However, I wanted them to have input in what would be “fair” in terms of an opportunity to check their notifications (since they apparently get so many). I was SO proud of them!  They discussed the issue like the young adults they are. They listened to each other.  Then, they came up with a plan (that actually met with my approval yay!).  We decided that  access to their phones would be allowed only until tardy bell, 5 min before class ends, & when we have a class restroom break in the middle of class. Students also have to wait until I tell them it’s ok at these 3 times. Any “unauthorised” phone use lands their phone on my desk (in phone “prison” which is a plastic bin lol) for 3 class meetings. After their phone spends 3 class meetings in my plastic bin, it is on “parole”.  A second offense will get an office write up. Here’s our class policy:fa99bc7f-e9a3-470a-a07e-3ae7643d722a

I’m very proud to say that I have only had 6 students out of 4 classes whose phone has landed in my plastic bin (and no “parole violaters”). I think because my students had real input into the guidelines, they feel more compelled to follow our class rules.  I will definitely have students participate in this “life lesson” again next year.

 

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Anatomy Practicals- Stackables that Teach: A Life-Sized Human Body Project- The Nervous System!

The Struggle Continues…..

My students struggle because most anatomical diagrams are small and can be difficult for them to analyze. My class created big bodies with basic organs from an outline I drew for their Gallery Walk  at the conclusion of our first unit on the body systems. It was SO beneficial for them!  Check out my previous blog post on this here https://ateacherontheedge.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/intro-to-anatomy-physiology-review-and-body-systems-gallery-walk/img_0073They loved having such large-sized structures to work with and told me that it really helped them remember the organs. I looked for pre-made life-sized bodies with organs, but sadly only found things appropriate for elementary students.  Definitely not detailed enough for Juniors and Seniors in high school, many of whom plan to pursue a career in the medical field!  So, I decided that I should create LIFE-SIZED diagrams which I knew would focus on the important structures of the system but, at the same time, be RIGOROUS enough for my high school Anatomy students…

So here is a little peek at what my classes are doing for the Nervous System this week…

These easy to interpret diagrams are drawn over 8 pages and are easily trimmed and taped together to create a large human body. This particular project utilized the posterior view of the cavities (so it shows the cranial and spinal cavities).

I drew this project with a lift-the-flap labeled brain, as well as the basic spinal cord provided.  IMG_0349The example I colored (above) will be used in conjunction with my Oversized Brain Diagrams and the Brain Facts Sketch Notes (Check out the bundle here at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Brain-Diagram-Sketch-Notes-BUNDLE-Great-for-PracticeDifferentiation-4488050 ).

I will also have my students color and label the cranial nerves. Here’s a picture using yarn instead of coloring. IMG_0343

As an enrichment option, I will have my students create the spinal nerves with a different color yarn. Brain

This is new in my TpT store!  You can check it out here –> https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Anatomy-Practicals-Life-Sized-CardiovascularCirculatory-System-PROJECT-4355366

It is the third installment in my newest project called Anatomy Practicals! These will cover each body system and provide your students with life-sized diagrams as well as the important organs included… all rigorous enough for high school Anatomy students! I have also bundled these with instructions for the project that my students did for each system.  Stay tuned for all systems to be posted!Slide1

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