• Unit 1 Plan

    In Unit 1, students will explore the idea of identity. They will move from general to specific as they first explore commonalities between all humans and then move on to explore the individual differences in tissues and cells. In the course, students will work with a two-foot skeletal model produced by Anatomy in Clay® Learning System. Students will work in pairs on an assigned Maniken® and use clay to build various organs, tissues, and vessels on the skeletal frame.  Students will review the types of human tissue and look deeper at bone, muscle and fat, all types of tissue that contribute to the framework of the human body. Students will then play the role of forensic anthropologists to examine skeletal remains and analyze four bones to determine as much as possible about the person’s gender, race, age, and height. They will use what they have learned about human skeletal structure to take qualitative and quantitative measurements and analyze their findings to provide a preliminary identification of the deceased. Finally, students will use theoretical equations to predict their own height from the length of their bones and will then explore how scientists can come up with these equations by using class data to generate an equation for a line. Using simulated DNA samples collected from the bones of the skeleton, students will now use molecular techniques to determine identity. Students have explored the tools of molecular biology in PBS, but they have yet to explore restriction enzymes as a tool for cutting DNA. In this lesson, students will run restriction analysis on simulated DNA samples from the skeleton and from missing persons who match the physical description provided by the bone analysis. Since each person has a unique genetic code, these enzymes will make a different number of cuts in the DNA, leaving a varying number of fragments. These restriction fragments will be separated via gel electrophoresis and the resulting restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) will be compared. Students will add to their case report from Lesson 2 and make a final conclusion regarding the identity of the skeleton. Students will also investigate the various career areas they have worked through in the unit.

    To wrap up the unit, students will explore the technology being used to secure and verify identity. Biometrics is the field of science dedicated to using physical characteristics, such as facial features or patterns in the eyes, and behavioral characteristics, such as voice or handwriting, to determine or confirm identity. Students will propose a biometric method to solve various identification related problems presented to them.

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  • Unit 2 Plan

    Communication in the human body takes many forms. Our nervous system communicates with our organs and tissues using electrical signals. Endocrine glands secrete chemical messengers called hormones that travel through the blood to a target and bring about change. Our special senses and our skeletal and muscular systems allow us to move, gesture and speak, to communicate our ideas, and to interact with the world around us. A breakdown in communication would disrupt the body’s overall homeostasis or internal balance. In this unit, students will explore the concept of communication as it applies to everyday life, machines and technology, and as it applies to their own body. In the next lesson, students will explore how the brain sends and receives electrical signals and how electricity is generated and propagated through human systems. In the third lesson, students will examine chemical communication in the human body. Students will investigate the components of the endocrine system, the mechanisms of hormone action and the regulatory power of feedback. They will show, using a feedback loop, how the body uses chemicals to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Finally, students will explore how the body communicates with the outside world by examining the structure of an eye and completing an eye dissection. They will investigate the many aspects of visual perception by completing station exercises and by interpreting results for tests in visual acuity, depth perception, peripheral vision, color vision, accommodation, optical illusions, and afterimages. Students will use an eye model to investigate the function of the lens in the eye and will use this model to explore the power of corrective lenses.

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  • Unit 3 Plan

    Lesson 3.1 Introduction to Power: The goal of this lesson is to introduce students to the concept of power in the human body through examination of the body’s ability to survive in extreme environments. They will explore the resources that fuel life as well as debate how long the body can last when these resources become scarce. Students will discuss how environmental conditions and personal factors impact the body’s ability to deal with a fuel shortage. As the unit progresses, students will study the body systems that help create, process, or distribute each of the body’s three main resources – food, oxygen, and water.


    Lesson 3.2 Food: The goal of this lesson is for students to relate the macromolecules that are processed from food to energy potential. Student teams will design and build models of the human digestive system and model chemical digestion of a specific bite of food as it moves through this model. Students will investigate enzyme-substrate interactions and design experiments to test the optimal conditions for the action of the catalase enzyme. Acting as nutritionists or dieticians, students will analyze diet and explore the concept of metabolism. They will assess a fictional client, analyze diet, and write a client report that compares energy inputs and outputs and analyzes overall health and fitness. Finally, students will directly relate food, particularly glucose, to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). They will explore the structure of ATP and examine how this energy source is used to fuel all of the cellular processes in the body. 


    Lesson 3.3 Oxygen: The goal of this lesson is for students to investigate respiratory system anatomy and analyze how disease impacts function in this system as well as in other systems of the body. In the first activity, students are introduced to a young woman who is experiencing shortness of breath and wheezing during her normal activities. As they progress through her case and make a diagnosis, students explore the structure of the respiratory system and its connection to the cardiovascular system. Students explore the changes in the respiratory system that lead to a condition such as asthma. The second activity introduces students to the mechanics of breathing and to the use of a spirometer to measure lung capacity. Students will then analyze prescription medications and begin to think about how drugs work in the human body. Students will analyze how each medication prescribed to their patient relates to anatomy and physiology. Students will then play the role of a respiratory therapist to design a plan to help their patient manage her illness. 


    Lesson 3.4 Water: The goal of this lesson is for students to review the many functions of water in the human body and explore the main human body system that not only conserves water and important ions, but also rids the body of harmful wastes – the urinary system. Students will explore the structure of the kidney by completing a dissection and mapping out the general path of urine formation and excretion. Students will then zoom in on the kidney and explore exactly what takes place in the nephron, the functional unit of the organ. By creating a drawing of nephron action, students will explore the connection between blood and urine and then visualize which substances are reabsorbed by the body and which substances are filtered out of the blood and excreted as urine. Students will then investigate how the body uses hormones to regulate and control the amount of water in the body. Finally, students will unlock the medical clues hidden in urine as they complete urinalysis testing for fictional patients. They will see that changes in urine often signal illness or dysfunction that originates in body systems other than the urinary system.

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  • Unit 4 Plan

    Lesson 1: Students will explore the types of synovial joints and will then observe the structure and function of a joint by dissecting and manipulating a cow elbow. Students will be able to see the range of motion of the joint as well as visualize the role of connective tissue such as cartilage, tendons, and ligaments, in cushioning and facilitating motion. Students will then use a device called a goniometer to measure the range of motion of their own joints. They will interpret schematic diagrams and design a method to measure the angle of specific movements.  Students will explore the structure and function of different skeletal muscle groups by following instructions to build the muscles of the chest and then will be asked to independently build another muscle group on their model.


    Lesson 2: Students will then explore the actual process of muscle contraction. They will observe contraction of frog muscle as they administer various salt and ATP solutions. Students will begin to see the requirements for contraction and will further explore this idea as they create a working model of sarcomere shortening. They will explain how the thin filaments of actin, troponin, and tropomyosin, interact with the thick filaments of myosin, as well as calcium and ATP to shorten a sarcomere and contract a muscle. Students will also use this model to explain the phenomenon of rigor mortis. The connection between the nervous system and the muscles built will be explored and modeled. Disruptions to these connections will be analyzed in a carpel tunnel case study. By completing a lab activity using data acquisition software and probes, students will investigate the phenomenon of muscle fatigue. They will then design experiments to test how the mind may be able to overcome this fatigue.


    Lesson 3: Students will review the anatomy and physiology of the cardiac system. Once they have looked at the pathway of major blood vessels to and from the heart, students will explore the structural differences in arteries and veins as they investigate the formation of varicose veins. Students will then add clay arteries and veins to their Maniken and observe circulatory routes and the interaction of blood vessels with muscles. The pressure in the vessels and in the heart will be calculated as cardiac output. In a four-part case study, students will investigate peripheral arterial disease. Students will have a chance to measure and calculate the Ankle Brachial Index (ABI) and interpret results of this test.


    Lesson 4: In the final lesson, students will examine the energy systems the body uses during the stages of intense exercise. This investigation will address the role of the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, the muscular system, the skeletal system, the digestive system, the urinary system, and the endocrine system in controlling exercise and movement.

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