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In my bio class we are coming to anatomy. We will be covering the nervous, circulatory, respiratory, digestive and reproductive systems(i'm a little nervous!).
I'm just looking for some good lab ideas or activities for each of the systems. I've never really done anatomy before so anything could help :)
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I have a couple of suggestions. When studying the nervous system, you could have the students research their reaction time having one student drop a ruler between the extended fingers of another student. The students record the amount of time it takes for the ruler to fall and how far it falls before they catch it. When studying the digestive system, you could have the students do "digestion in a bag." It is a really amazing and disgusting lab. Let me know if you need more information.
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you and chris should have children
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Hi Chris and Ruth,
Adding to Ruth's suggestion, there is a similar reaction time inquiry lab written up in The Science Teacher journal, Is the Inquiry Real?.
I have used this particular lesson. It is a big hit.
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Could I get more information on the digestion in a bag lab?
I found one online using a banana and an enzyme. What would the enzyme be?
Chris, I am so excite about this find - I just had to share it with you. It is at:
NSTA Nervous System Guide
Carolyn, the NSTA Nervous System Guide is a goldmine! I have this bookmarked to go back and show my middle school students. I love the clarity the simulations provide. I can see how they would help students that would be struggling on specific contents. I appreciate the color schemes as well, they really hold the students’ interest.
I can't wait to hear how others use it in their classrooms.
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I use the digestion in a bag lab to model the work of the stomach and the mouth. The mouth chemically and mechanically digests food. It mechanically digests food using the teeth, tongue, soft palate, and hard palate. It chemically digests food primarily using the enzyme amylase. You can purchase amylase from a biological supply house. The stomach also digests food mechanically and chemically. The chemicals it secretes are hydrochloric acid and the enzyme pepsin. Stomach acid has a pH of 1.5 to 3.5 so I use a 0.1 M solution of hydrochloric acid. Pepsin can be ordered from any biological supply house.
I only make one stomach per class. The stomach is made of three heavy duty zippered freezer bags. It is very important that you use three bags and seal them tightly. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is practical. If the inner bag happens to rupture, you will make some "memories." The second reason is because the stomach has three layers of smooth muscle and we want the model to be as correct as possible.
The day of the lab I encourage students to bring a small portion of their favorite food (about 5 grams). We use 2.5 g of the food for the digestion process and we keep 2.5 grams for the control. You can approach the digestion of the mouth two ways. I have done both--it all depends on your gross out factor and the maturity of your students. You can have the students chew their favorite food for about a minute and spit the bolus into a ziploc bag. If you don't feel comfortable having your students prechew the sample, then you can have them mash and grind the food with an amylase solution (distilled water and amylase) with mortar and pestle. Then they place that mixture into the inner zippered bag.
Next you want to simulate the chemical digestion of the stomach by adding 400 milliliters of 0.1 M hydrochloric acid and 80 mg of pepsin. (I use this amount because most people secret this amount of acid and pepsin per meal.) Then seal the inner and outer bags tightly removing any air as you seal them.
To simulate mechanical digestion, I have some volunteers take turns gently squeezing the bag. This will model the contraction of the smooth muscles and the churning of the stomach contents. It generally takes one hour to completely empty of stomach of its contents. You may not want to wait that long. :-) I generally have students churn the contents of the bag for about ten to fifteen minutes. They tend to get the idea.
Finally, we test the foods for protein, simple sugars, and fats to see what about has changed between undigested food and digested food. Since this post is really long if you want me to post that part of the lab, I will in another post. Just let me know.
There seem to be some good activities in that Nervous System Guide!
Do you have a write up for the digestion lab that you can post...I feel bad having you type all of this out!
I can put something together and post it. It will have to be tomorrow though. I am getting ready to call it a night. Big Bang Theory is calling. ***sheepish grin***
Do you need the instructions for testing proteins, simple sugars, and fats, too?
I understand the draw of BBT :) If you could explain those I'd appreciate it :)
Alright, I compiled this group of Nervous System activities that I will be having my students do this week, from the ones that I got from all of you...maybe look it over and let me know what you think?
Nervous_System_Activities.doc (0.07 Mb)
We have a basic text and survey all the systems and organs, then working in small groups, show the connections between the systems on annotated, chart-sized posters (one class period for this activity). Then each student is assigned an organ and writes a letter to the Human Body Corporation (times are tough and one organ is getting laid off - need to make the case for saving the job and an alternate plan for health). Let me know if you want the documents for the project.
A wonderful asset is the Anatomy Coloring Book. Students are astounded at how many muscles we have! We also do a muscle fatigue lab where students have to open and close their fists in 30-second rapid fire, followed by studying the diagram of the muscles and tendons of the forearm.
Regarding reproductive system - at the high school level you should be fine. Just don't let students discuss behaviors or strange anomalies - just the anatomy of the body. Even in eighth grade, I let them ask whatever they want and then choose an age-appropriate response.
For the digestive system, a food testing lab works great. I love this unit and wish I had more time for it.
Oakland NJ Schools
Project Amazonas Reforestation and Environmental Education
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We test for fats, starch, protein, and sugars. Fat is easy, rub it on paper. Starch is easy, diluted iodine. Protein makes a nice orange precipitate with copper sulfate - need a Bunsen burner, and sugar (also Bunsen burner) with Benedict's solution. A lot to manage, but it's a nice day in the lab. Students bring in their own samples and really get invested in the results.
Oakland NJ Schools
Project Amazonas Reforestation and Environmental Education
I like what you have compiled for your Nervous System activities. I think your students will enjoy what you have planned.
I have attached an explanation of the food chemistry tests I have my students use. I have also included a Part II that you could use with the digestion in a bag model. Here is what you should know....the amylase in the mouth will break down starch in food. The result of this digestion is simple sugars. The acid of the stomach will denature any protein found in food. Pepsin will break the protein down into amino acids. The stomach will absorb water (if the person is dehydrated), simple sugars like glucose, and amino acids. The rest of the chyme (the name for the food after it is chemically and mechanically digested in the stomach) will travel to the small intestine where the majority of digestion takes place. Students should notice that the digested food in the stomach model should not contain starch or much protein. It should contain more glucose (simple sugar) and amino acids. Depending on the food, the undigested food should contain a lot of starch and protein. Make sure your students understand where the digestion of starch begins (the mouth) and where the digestion of protein begins (the stomach). Also, it is important to explain to the students the importance of mechanical digestion (increasing the surface area of the food particles). Finally, the majority of digestion occurs in the small intestine, especially the digestion of fats.
Food_chemistry-Testing_Knowns_and_Unknowns.rtf (0.03 Mb)
With the digestion lab...is it better to do it with solid food like chips or with fruit like the banana? Would it make a difference? I'm testing it today with the banana..and it doesn't seem to be doing much. I chewed it up and spit it into the bag...added 400ml of .1M HCl and .01g of pepsin. I might have way too much banana in there..i did half a banana
A banana is mostly sugars so you are not going to see a huge change. Find a food that contains starches and proteins. Amylase converts starch into sugars. Pepsin breaks protein into amino acids. A hamburger on a bun might be a better idea if you are looking for something that has both carbohydrates and proteins. I've used that in the past with successful results. Another idea would be crackers with peanut butter.
We did it today with hamburgers on a bun....it worked really well. Most of the kids food completely disappeared. Definitely a gross out factor as I made them chew it up for 2 minutes and then spit it into the bag. I also had them put an amylase solution in for 2 minutes prior to putting in the "stomach" juice.
Thanks for the great lab Ruth!
Yeah Chris! I am so glad you liked it. My anatomy students are doing this lab next week. They are determining the knowns on Friday.
Hi Carolyn -
Love the NSTA Nervous System Guide that you posted! This is very timely, as I was searching for a way to "jazz up" my lesson on the nervous system. We are a one-to-one laptop campus so this interactive is perfect!
I was hoping more body systems interactive guides were available from NSTA, so did a NSTA Learning Center library search, but so for this appears to be the only body system guide from NSTA. Perhaps they will be developing more soon.
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This is awesome!!! I am going to use this with my anatomy class!
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I just came across a site from the University of Minnesota on cardiac anatomy.
The site is designed for training and education and all materials are intended for incorporation into teaching materials!!! It is a goldmine of information - please use it! It is continually updated with new content and is the only lab in the world generating images inside of working human hearts.
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Very interesting lab! Thank you for sharing- I look forward to trying this out!
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I have never taught Anatomy so I can give you a student’s perspective! I really like what Ruth had recommended about the lesson plan and think it would be a great addition to how The stomach will absorb water (if the person is dehydrated), simple sugars like glucose, and amino acids.From a students perspective, I recommend, if your nervous, tell us. If your presentation shows that you are unprepared in presenting the materials then there is no telling how students will react. However, if you inform us before hand that it is your first time and you are learning WITH us, then students will be very interested in the lesson and want to know more about how they can help make your lesson better.Lastly, I found a fun website that helps teachers come up with cool activities to keep the class intrigued! Hope it helps!Interesting and fun NSTA website:
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