Medical Mystery PBL For Anatomy & Physiology- DAY 2

Body Cavities & Membranes- The topic for Day 2!

On day 1 of this year-long PBL, my Anatomy & Physiology classes did “Patient Intake” where they filled out all the necessary paperwork for their “patient” and assembled the anterior (ventral) body. Day 2 consisted of assembling the posterior (dorsal) body and investigating body cavities and membranes. (Just and FYI- I remembered I had a paper cutter after all my classes had finished assembling their anterior bodies. So, I trimmed their posterior sheets before class and everything went MUCH faster! ). Groups who finished before others worked on providing their patient’s “back story” (a snapshot of their patient’s life- like being a middle-aged smoker, being a long distance runner, etc… I plan to use this info to help me provide them a medical condition for their patient that they will investigate as we cover all the body systems).

It’s important to be vigilant as you put together your patient or it might end up a little “different” from the others 🙂 HAHA!

To begin, we had a class “refresher” on the basic body cavities and the membranes (parietal and visceral). They had already written down notes on this (I put my PPT on Google classroom and gave them fill-in-the blank outline notes to complete independently). I used a partially blown up balloon to illustrate how the visceral membrane clings to each organ (ie my hand as I stuck it in the balloon) and the outside of the balloon would illustrate the membrane attached to the body cavity. I let them pass the balloon around and try it for themselves (they loved it lol).

I provided students with a 1 page summary of the body cavities and membranes and a guided organizer to assist them in “color coding” their patient’s body cavities and membranes. (Body cavities were 1 color; Membranes were represented as an outline of a different color- Just a note: Colored pencils are best for coloring the body cavities and markers (the big Crayola school ones) make outlining the membranes a breeze!

Here are some pics of our patients.

How am I Storing the “Patients”?

After color-coding both the anterior (ventral) and posterior (dorsal) surfaces of our patients, we aligned them back-to-back (with the taped surfaces facing towards each other and the colored surfaces facing outwards) and taped them at with small pieces of tape on all 4 sides. This will be the foundation for the entire “patient” just as our body cavities are. Patient names (that match their Medical Records) and the names of the Medical Team members are written on the anterior surface. For storage, I stacked all the patients for 1 class (I have 7 groups of 4 in each of my 4 A & P classes) and used 3 large binder clips to hold them. Currently, I have them lying flat on my counter, but I am thinking of buying clothes hangers with clips so I could hang them up in my classroom.

What’s Next?

I am not utilizing this project every day as we go through the A & P course. I am also doing other activities. At the end of this past week, I set up lab stations and we reviewed for our Unit 1 exam next week. I pulled some of my activities from the Gallery Walk we did last year (see my blog post on this at this link–> Gallery Walk blog post ) and I think it worked well. Our next topic with our “patients” will be the Integumentary System where we will learn the layers of the epidermis, the structure of skin, as well as hair, and nails. You can see some of these diagrams at this link –>Integumentary System blog post ).

To see ALL of the 11 body systems this includes, please visit for links to all!

To purchase, please visit my TpT store


About Edgy Instruction

Science Teacher (Biology, AP Biology, and Forensic Science), Anatomy Professor, and former Instructional coach.
This entry was posted in Anatomy & Physiology, Anatomy Practicals- Stackables that Teach, Project Based Learning PBL, Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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