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Strategies for Teaching Anatomy & Physiology. Hugh W. Harling EdD, LAT, ATC Methodist College, Fayetteville NC Overview. Learning Process Critical Thinking Text / Book Based Resources Internet Resources Fun Ideas / Explanations

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Strategies for teaching anatomy physiology

Strategies for Teaching Anatomy & Physiology

Hugh W. Harling EdD, LAT, ATC

Methodist College, Fayetteville NC


  • Learning Process

  • Critical Thinking

  • Text / Book Based Resources

  • Internet Resources

  • Fun Ideas / Explanations

  • Q & A


  • Process of change

  • Acquisition of new knowledge, skills or attitudes

  • From study or life experiences

  • Occurs over a period of time

  • Lifelong process

  • American Red Cross Fundamentals of Instructor Training, 2001


  • Motivation

  • Association

  • Repetition

  • Senses

  • American Red Cross Fundamentals of Instructor Training, 2001


  • Any suggestions here I would appreciate !

  • Difficult since students come to class with variety of backgrounds.

  • One of the hardest things to do is motivate ALL students.

  • Even harder to sustain motivation – everyone has good days and bad.

  • Contract for Grade ?


  • One of the big keys to learning.

  • Describes how things fit together and effect each other.

  • Often Study systems in isolation and fail to connect from one to others.

  • As we know, when one system of the body fails, it affects the others, some very quickly (AMI) others very slowly (Osteoporosis)


  • No substitute for repetition

  • Athletes spend hours fielding, throwing or hitting, … They are training their BRAIN and body.

  • You are asking your students to train their brains and one must practice to be able to perform when needed.


  • The more hands-on the better

  • More about this later

Technology has limits
Technology has limits ?

  • Free iPods for Duke studentsCollege says popular MP3 music players will be used to download lectures and books as well as songs.

  • Stretch students

Use games
Use games

  • Brings out competitiveness / pre-test preparation

  • Jeopardy – multiple levels, teams

  • Word Search

  • Newspaper accuracies & inaccuracies (Bonus points ?)

  • Wrong word use – correction

  • Crossword puzzles

  • Songs / sayings – let them make up their own

Use pictures video dvd
Use Pictures & Video / DVD

  • A picture (or graph, or…) is worth a thousand words

  • Make use of textbook graphic packages

  • Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ( Aclund’s Atlas of Human Anatomy


Textbook resources
Textbook Resources

  • Scott & Fong, Body Structures and Functions

  • Delmar's Anatomy & Physiology Challenge CD-ROM included free with each book.

  • Gross anatomy photos with the line illustrations presented throughout the book for a side-by-side comparison.

  • New Online Companion includes exercises, quizzes, animations, and additional teaching hints. A Powerpoint presentation with 25-30 slides per chapter is also included.

  • Lab Activities have been added to each chapter to bring a new interactive dimension to learning.

Textbook resources1
Textbook Resources

  • Gary A. Thibodeau, PhD; and Kevin T. Patton, PhD, The Human Body in Health & Disease

  • Included FREE with the softcover text is Body Spectrum: Mosby's Electronic Anatomy Coloring Book CD-ROM

  • Study Guide - Designed to help students master basic anatomy and physiology, this study guide provides students with additional self-study aids, including chapter overviews, topic reviews, application and labeling exercises, as well as answers to the questions.

  • Softcover text includes FREE CD-ROM and MERLIN website Study Guide by Swisher

Other text resources
Other Text Resources

  • Anatomy Coloring Book

  • Physiology Coloring Book

  • Memory Notebook of Nursing: A collection of Visual Images and Mnemonics to increase memory and learning (Zerwekh, Claborn & Miller, ISBN 0-9628210-5-5)

  • CD-ROMs – textbook, ADAM, …

Evaluate your sources
Evaluate Your Sources

  • Information versus marketing – blurring

  • Pharmaceutical ads – are they informational or ads or both.

  • Skepticism should hold true for the internet just like TV – if it is to good to be true it probably is just that or very expensive.

Evaluate your sources1
Evaluate Your Sources

  • Does the author have authority on the topic?

  • What are the author’s credentials?

  • Is the information accurate for when it was written?

  • Is there a consensus of opinion on this topic?

  • What are the important ideas?

  • What is the purpose of the source?

  • Is the purpose to inform, to entertain, to teach, or to influence?

Evaluate your sources2
Evaluate Your Sources

  • Who is the author writing for?

  • Is it biased in any way?

  • Has the author looked at the material objectively?

  • Does the author offer several points of view?

  • How does the source help answer your question?

  • Does the source provide valuable, relevant information?


  • Google Search – Anatomy - 5,130,000 for Anatomy (0.16 seconds)

  • Froogle Search – Anatomy - 27,000 confirmed / 204,000 total results for Anatomy. (0.46 seconds)

  • Google Search - Physiology - 6,150,000 for Physiology (0.14 seconds)

  • Froogle Search - Physiology - 4,280 confirmed / 101,000 total results for Physiology. (0.58 seconds)

Numerous useful websites
Numerous Useful Websites

  • Teach Strategies Newsletter

  • Advances in Physiology Education

  • Visible Human

More helpful internet websites
More Helpful Internet Websites

  • Emory Medical School – Biological & Physical Sciences

  • Radiology -

  • Radiology -

  • Anatomy of the Eye

Multiple organ system quiz
Multiple Organ System Quiz

  • University of Minnesota WebAnatomy

Using other people s listings
Using Other People’s Listings

  • British Association of Clinical Anatomists


  • Need appropriate key to enter room just as certain molecules need doorways (channels) and keys (carrier protein) to enter a cell.

  • Alter key and door no longer opens (insulin – diabetes)

Idea time gi
Idea Time - GI

  • Sock or stockinette & golf balls – Shows peristalsis

  • Chew food and swallow – shows why chew and cut foods – Fill “stomach”

  • Open end of sock now Pyloric Sphincter – can’t empty entire contents at once, but one piece at a time.

  • Can now discuss what is added by what to tract to break stuff down.

Idea time cardiac
Idea Time - Cardiac

  • PVC pipe - clogging of artery same as how a drain clogs with hair, grim, … Happens over time, …

  • Use playdough for plaque build-up

    • Critical thinking what would cause the clog ?

    • How long to show versus completely clog ?

    • If clog shifts / breaks free now anatomically what is called , where will it go, …?

    • By-pass – cut section out and reroute

    • Use drain cleaner to represent drugs

    • Use pipe (or bottle cleaner) to represent angioblasty

Idea time respiratory system
Idea Time – Respiratory System

  • Balloons & Garbage bag

  • Balloons represent alveoli and garbage bag the lung.

  • Pop balloon lose capacity (alveoli) but lung stays inflated

  • Use water in balloon to represent mucous or debris

  • Two Garbage bags hold corners of outermost, suck in inner (Pneumothorax)

Idea time filtration diffusion
Idea Time – Filtration / Diffusion

  • Filtration occurs through the body (Liver, Kidneys, Spleen, nutrients from blood into cells, …)

  • Rocks over drain – small materials slip in and out of vascular system and large (proteins must stay in) unless can change shape –

  • Can also use a mesh screen formed like a tube to show flow into or out of (Tube within a tube)

  • Watch out for the mess


  • Classic Experiment

  • Color / matter moves from high concentration toward areas of low concentration.

  • Food coloring (or tea – sun tea anyone ?) into water

Idea time musculoskeletal system
Idea Time – Musculoskeletal System

  • 1 rope – pulling hand over hand like bring up anchor

  • 2 Ropes and four groups

  • One group back to back each holding pull (shorten toward each other – representing accordion action)

Ideas from others
Ideas from Others

  • Cell – light colored jello in cup – add candies to represent different organelles

  • Layers of skin – cake or jello & cool wipe.

Bridging summarizing
Bridging & Summarizing

  • Bridging – connecting concepts

  • Summarizing – bring together facts & concepts

    • MUST bring example back to its technical terminology

    • Will often remember the example but not why it was done or exactly what it showed

    • Remember, Everyone will experience the lesson differently.

Final stop
Final Stop

  • Methodist College Athletic Training Website



  • American Red Cross. (2001). Fundamentals of Instructor Training.

  • Bailey, D. (1997). Research for the Health Professional: A Practical Guide, Second Edition. F.A. Davis.

  • Blessing, J. (2001). Physician Assistant’s Guide to Research and Medical Literature. F.A. Davis.

  • Zybeck, K. Methodist College Reference Librarian, Portions Adapted from: Teaching Information Literacy. Burkhardt, MacDonald, and Rathemacher. Chicago: ALA, 2003