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Life Science

Physiology/Anatomy Project Ideas?

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Robert Hoffman Robert Hoffman 1845 Points

Hello Life Science Educators, I am about to start my physiology/anatomy unit to finish out the year in my biology class and I wanted to see what everyone else does and if you have any project suggestions. What I have done the past three years is teach about homeostasis and overall introduce the various body systems doing short sensory activities and then in groups students choose a body system and research and present their system to the class. Then we do a dissection at the end of the unit. From the past couple of years I don't really find student projects that they present to the entire class real beneficial or an effective learning tool. It is pretty much lecturing, and most of the student's presentations are not.... really entertaining. I totally believe presentation skills need to be developed in students and this is one way to do that, but how else can my students learn about the body systems and then teach each other? My students have been creating digital stories and making movies all year on my class set of iPads, but I wanted to challenge them a bit more for this final project. One idea I have is for each group to contribute to a class webpage. Has anyone had students build a webpage? What other ideas so you have or what have you done for your physiology/anatomy unit in regards to group investigations or projects? I appreciate your feedback and suggestions!

Iona Humphries Iona Humphries 415 Points

Hello! I feel that presentations can be scary and intimidating for students, but I agree that there is a need for them so that they can build social skills, etc. You said that your students' presentations aren't always very entertaining. That probably means that they aren't having fun with it. However, you could change that easily by maybe adding in requirements or guidelines that students have to include in their presentations. For instance, what if students had to incorporate a game for the class in their presentation. Or a small class project or assessment? Having your students know that they need to teach the material in different ways, other than lecturing, might make the activity more fun. I'm not sure if I'm making complete sense. I'm only a student, but from my experience in school, if I had fun with a project, the class generally had fun too! 

Thank you! And good luck. 


Mary Ann Ng Mary Ann Ng 3385 Points

As a summative assessment, students will have to create their own personal health newsletter. They need to at least write 8 different stories. I leave it up to them which media they want to use. They will also need to involve their families in the project through interviews, family events and health histories. Last year, I asked them to choose one particular organ system for their newsletters. But this year they can choose whether they want to focus on one or multiple topics. For the individual lessons, whenever I introduce a new topic, I create a narrative around it--it is usually a real world application that they can relate to. For example, we discussed the skin in relation to skin cancer ( connecting to melanin), tattoos ( parts of the skin/ ink deposited on the dermis) and pimples ( sebaceous glands, sweat glands and hair follicles--with connections to the immune system). The learning activities stem and build upon this narrative. With tattoos, as a hook, they watched a short video on tattoing, followed by creating their "science" tattoo. Then I gave them a short reading from the NY times to annotate. This was followed by a short 3 slide ppt on tattoos * 5-7 min. Then they had to create their T-charts on the pros and cons of tattooing. In groups they had to discuss their T-charts followed by making decisions citing sources. Everyone then had to put up their decisions on our interactive wall. They also had to explain briefly what their decisions were and why. Then, we also had a short class debrief at the end.

Romunda Hamilton Romunda Hamilton 20 Points

Great ideas Mary.

Priscilla Gonzalez Priscilla Gonzalez 240 Points

This idea is incredible! It gets the students involved in real life situations and they find information about what happens to our skin when we decide to get a tattoo.

How long did you give the students to finish this project?

Robert Hoffman Robert Hoffman 1845 Points

Thank you for your suggestions Mary! I really admire how well you make the topics relevant to your students lives. The health article is a great idea, great application. How long do you plan for this unit? Do you do this series of activities for each body system? Thanks again. Rob

Mary Morgan Mary Morgan 4835 Points

I had my students in Anatomy & Physiology do a WikiPage for diseases. Although this was geared towards 11-12 grade students, it could certainly be modified for other levels. You could also have students research a specific organ or a system in general. I had the students develop test/quiz questions over their page. I then combined their questions into an "open-computer" test. They could use their classmates' WikiPages to answer the questions. I threw in a few of my own questions as well to make certain they were getting the main points. On my own Wikispace, I kept a list of links to all of the WikiPages sorted by class period. The students seemed to really enjoy working on their sites and presenting their products. Some came up with some really creative presentations - game show quizzes (with prizes even!), raps, songs, models - none of which was required. I've attached copies of the handouts I used if you want them. :)

My Class Projects - Human Diseases Wiki Pages Collection (8 items)
- User Uploaded Resource
- User Uploaded Resource
Jasmine Anderson Jasmine Anderson 450 Points

This project and template are amazing! I think I may adapt it for my class's unit on neurological disorders. Thank you so much for sharing.

Kaylee Nungaray Kaylee Nungaray 3404 Points

Love this idea! Thank you for sharing this, Mary.

Kathy Greenwood Kathy Greenwood 10 Points

Is there an alternative to the Wikispaces??? I really like this idea and would like to do this with my students.


Mary Ann Ng Mary Ann Ng 3385 Points

It takes me about 2 hours to prepare each lesson. The length of time spent in class per unit depends on how many California standards are included. Yes, I have done this per body system. I would like to make it more overarching and "big idea"-focused using a multi-systems approach.

Robert Hoffman Robert Hoffman 1845 Points

Thank you Mary Morgan for your suggestions and for sharing your collection of activities! I appreciate it. I have not looked into Wiki's before, it might be something to look at over the summer for next year, thank you for sharing. You both got me thinking and that is just what I needed.

Danielle Dace Danielle Dace 2790 Points

I love ideas posted here. Next year if you want to get away from technology have build amusement parks over the organ system that they are assigned. I teach human physiology and to one of the big projects was to design an amusement park over the digestive system. The results were amazing. I displayed them in the science hallway and sent ballots out to the teachers. The teachers and staff voted on the best overall, most detailed, most clever, most scientifically accurate etc. My principal had me leave the projects up and had the school board take a tour of the parks. They loved it. I can send you the rubric and instructions that I used if you are interested in doing a project like this.

Margaret Corrado Margaret Corrado 20 Points

I love that amusement party idea! Would you be able to post the instructions and rubric you used. I'm trying to find an idea for an end of the year assignment. Thanks!

Amy Stuhm Amy Stuhm 40 Points

hello, can you send me the lesson and rubric for the students will love this. thanks

Amy Stuhm Amy Stuhm 40 Points

hello, can you send me the lesson and rubric for the students will love this. thanks

Amy Stuhm Amy Stuhm 40 Points

hello, can you send me the lesson and rubric for the students will love this. thanks

Amy Stuhm Amy Stuhm 40 Points

hello, can you send me the lesson and rubric for the students will love this. thanks

Yolanda Thomas Yolanda Thomas 10 Points

I too teach A&P. i would like your information on the Amusement Park Project.

Jenifer Schlosser Jenifer Schlosser 10 Points

I love this idea! This is my first year teaching A&P and this sounds fun. Would you mind sending me the information on the amusement park/digestive system idea? Thank you!

Michael Seifert Michael Seifert 45 Points

if anyone received danielle's instructions and rubric would you please forward to me: [email protected] thanks

Kari Etherington Kari Etherington 10 Points

I love the amusement park idea. I am student teaching and will be teaching about the digestive system next. I would love to receive your information for this project. Thanks.

Jessica Delbove JESSICA DELBOVE 10 Points

I would love that information please!!!

Cheryl Bayley Cheryl Bayley 10 Points

Hi, Can I get a copy of your project? It sounds great! Thanks.

Siena Lang Siena Lang 10 Points

Hi Danielle! I know this is much after you posted but I would love the rubric and instructions for this project. It sounds amazing! [email protected] Thank you!!

Suzanne Hulbert Suzanne Hulbert 10 Points

I am teaching the digestive unit to my Anatomy students in May and I am looking for creative, interactive ways to to so. I would love more information about the amusement park that you created with your students. Thanks so much.

 Sherita Harris 10 Points

Hi! I know it’s been a few years but I’d love to receive the information for this assignment. [email protected]

Lisa Breithaupt Lisa Breithaupt 30 Points

I would LOVE to see your rubrics for this if you have them! Very intrigued!

Kaylee Nungaray Kaylee Nungaray 3404 Points

Great idea! I can't wait to adapt this to my own classroom and have my students use their creativity and knowledge! Thank you for sharing, Danielle.

Debra Carter Debra Carter 10 Points

Thanks for sharing.  Would you please send me the rubric and instructions for your amusement park organ system?


Lindacarol Nail Lindacarol Nail 10 Points

I have taken over an A&P class mid semester in addition to being the school nurse.  Don’t want to give a cumulative final since I am not sure what was taught before I took over the classes.  Would love to know more about your rollercoaster project as a possible end of year project instead of a traditional final exam. I have mostly juniors

Donna Lueken Donna Lueken 20 Points


Thank you for sharing your idea! I really think this project would fit perfectly into my curriculum.  Please send rubric and instructions?



Ruth Hutson Ruth Hutson 64765 Points

Hi Danielle, I would be interested in having you can post your rubric, etc. to this thread, if you would be willing. It sounds like a very creative project. It might be nice if you included a picture of your students' work, too. Please share, if you don't mind.

Mary Morgan Mary Morgan 4835 Points

Danielle, I'd love to see your project as well. It sounds fun! Did you happen to take any photos of your students' projects?

Cheska Robinson Cheska Lorena 5075 Points

Danielle, Please share your photos and materials on the Body Systems amusement parks! They sound fantastic, and sound like something the kids would love to do for next year. Cheska

Danielle Dace Danielle Dace 2790 Points

I could not find the exact rubric that I created for this project. I have included the source that I used to create my own rubric. My project was worth 140 points and was used as a final project for the digestive system. This would be easy to use if you want to divide the organ systems between groups and have them create an amusement park for the nervous, digestive, etc. If you do that I would recommend adding a presentation portion to the scoring guide. I hope this helps. This past year was my first year and finding resources for human physiology took up most of my time!! So please use this resource and make it better!!

Lenore Kop Lenore Kop 858 Points

Thank you so much posting your documents! I don't know if you are still teaching the course, but this is a fantastic idea and your students' projects were so creative! I would like to try this as for a PBL for the Goods and Garbage unit (digestive, respiratory and urinary systems). Mahalo!

Donna Lueken Donna Lueken 20 Points

I see that you already have posted!  Thank you soooo very much!

Ruth Hutson Ruth Hutson 64765 Points

Danielle, Thanks so much for sharing your rubric and your students' project. I like the saliva fountain best, but they are all very creative.

Dana Wade dana wade 20 Points

A and P projects. 1. I create a corporation. STudents are divided into groups and represent a team working together to solve a problem. Last year we created OsteoETCA (our school is ETCA). The imaginary issue was that overall bone is not optimal for its function. Yes, way on the wide open side. Groups appointed a team leader to report to the CEO. The leader received updates from the CEO and groups were able to negotiate with the CEO to narrow down a more tangible problem. Groups had to teach themselves bone structure/function and apply related to the issue to be solved. They had to create prototypes, develop a marketing proposal, etc... Probably the most learning that has ever taken place in my classroom. 2. Health Fair. I try to make A and P relevant to my students' current life and that of their future. We host a health fair. Students may work alone or in pairs and must become experts in the system of their choice (but I limit to integumentary, and two special senses (seeing and hearing)). I am always blown away. Many make exquisite models to have. Some have interviews with professional playing, etc....) They are graded by my peers who have been provided with a rubric. 3. Children's book. STudents approach elementary teachers and learn which systems they may be studying for the eyar. Students then go through the writing process to create a book that is appropriate (age/topics...) for a given grade. STudents share the book with the selected class. 4.Pick a condition and support it. We have students at our school that have chronic diseases. We very respectfully select one, learn about it, and find ways to be encouraging and support that person or a group that would benefit.

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68625 Points

This may not be a project but I came across an article today suggesting that the evolution of the human face was influenced by our ancestors pugilistic tendencies [url=]Human Face Designed to Take a Punch [/url]

Fabriely Martinez Fabriely Martinez 1395 Points

Hi, I took anatomy in high school and i remember my teacher giving use a project about creating your only arm. You can work in a group of 3, use any materials, and it must be able to pick up an object. This project made us identify the ligaments and main muscles used in grasping your fingers around an object. we also had to make a power point with the materials we uses and take pictures of the progress we made towards our completed project. 

Eric Roth Eric Roth 3385 Points

Another idea is to have the students embark on a "Fantastic Voyage" based on the movie/book from the 60s. They have to "travel" through a patients body to destroy a blood clot in the patient's brain. Students can write a dramatic narrative or dialogue that incorporates factual information about body systems, they could write a computer program or animation about a voyage through the body, write a newspaper article, etc.

Rene Moss Rene Moss 65 Points

I split my class into groups had my students create a life size poster of themselves or their favorite character that incorporated outlines and labelled anatomical parts.

Vanessa Birdsong Vanessa Birdsong 430 Points

For my students I want to have them using various technology that the school offers such as ipads to do homework assignments. I also want to try and incorporate STEM subjects into all of the subjects. So when they are having to read books for reading I want to show them books that are more STEM based. Also teaching them how to connect STEM subjects into their own life, and how STEM subjects really affects their life. Such as looking at when they go to the store they have to know math to know how to buy the cheapest dollar per ounce of an item. 

Astyn Battin astyn battin 185 Points

I would implement STEM in my classroom by first letting the kids know what it stands for. Which is Science, Technology, Engineering, Math. I would make sure for each one I used the vocabulary so students better understand for example for science they need to know words like experiment, observation or even call them scientist so they can better understand what a scientist does. The same thing for an engineer. The use of technology plays an important part it is a way to keep students engaged and to be hands on. There are a lot of virtual games and sites for students to practice math and science. During station time I would allow my students to use ipads, or the computer. For math, I believe teachers should activities that are real-life related so students can make a better connection.

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