Design Projects in Human Anatomy & Physiology

By Polizzotto, Kristin; Ortiz, Mary T. | The American Biology Teacher, April 2008 | Go to article overview

Design Projects in Human Anatomy & Physiology


Polizzotto, Kristin, Ortiz, Mary T., The American Biology Teacher


Very often, some type of writing assignment is required in college entry-level Human Anatomy and Physiology courses. This assignment can be anything from an essay to a research paper on the literature, focusing on a faculty-approved topic of interest to the student. As educators who teach Human Anatomy and Physiology at an urban community college, we believe it is important to provide students with an assignment that challenges not only their knowledge of the subject, but also their imaginations (McGraw, 2004b). To achieve this goal, we assign Design Projects in Human Anatomy and Physiology.

Background

Kingsborough Community College, in Brooklyn, New York, is one of six community colleges in The City University of New York. In the Kingsborough Department of Biological Sciences, a two-semester sequence of courses in Human Anatomy and Physiology is required of students majoring in one of the Allied Health Science fields, such as Pre-Physician Assistant, Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Nursing, Pre-Occupational Therapy, and so on.

The first semester includes study of anatomical terminology, basic chemistry, the metric system, the cell, tissues, and the skeletal, muscular, nervous, and endocrine systems. The second semester focuses on the digestive, cardiovascular, respiratory, immune, excretory, and reproductive systems. In each semester, one writing assignment is required for successful completion of the course. The assignment can be a review of the literature or an alternate of the instructor's choosing. This is where we opt to assign a Design Project.

The First Semester

It has been our experience that first semester students of Human Anatomy and Physiology are often overwhelmed with the volume and complexity of material they are required to learn. Students sometimes express that the material is "boring" and dry. To add some spark to the class, we have assigned one of several design projects to challenge our students and to help them get a handle on the course content.

Design Project 1: New Organelle for the Cell

A portion of the course is devoted to the study of the cell, the basic unit of life. The cell is examined in general, and the structure and function of each organelle is studied in some detail. Aside from traditional testing on this topic, we wanted another way to ascertain whether our students really understood the workings of the cell. Hence, our first design assignment was born. The assignment is to design a new and different organelle for the typical human cell. The student must name his/her organelle, fully describe its structure and function, how it interacts with other organelles of the cell, how it will improve the cell, and what potential problems this new organelle may impose on the cell. An accompanying diagram of the new organelle and of the organelle's location in the cell is also a requirement, as well as each student's opinion of the assignment.

Over the years, we have been taken aback by the creativity of our students. For example, one student designed the "Michelobia." The student had a taste for beer, and thought it would be wonderful if she could enjoy it without getting drunk. This organelle had detoxifying properties to allow cells to process beer and prevent the ill effects of alcohol. Another student felt like he never had time to eat properly. He thought it would be wonderful if he, like plants, could make his own food. So, he designed a chloroplast-like organelle to do the job.

Design Project 2: New System of Measurement

Although this topic is not always included in Anatomy and Physiology courses, at Kingsborough (where this is an entry-level course), students must comprehend the international system if they are to understand standard physiological data.

The metric system can be a challenging topic for students who have spent their lives up to this point immersed in the English system. An innovative approach to under standing the metric system is to assign a design project where each student must create a completely new system of measurement, including units for length, mass and volume, and explain how these units relate to the metric system with relevant examples. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Design Projects in Human Anatomy & Physiology
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.