How We Teach is the Message

Sequencing A&P

Following is a post I made on a social networking site for Anatomy & Physiology teachers interested in the flipped classroom. I am posting it here as a reflection of my current thoughts re: sequencing my A&P course. Any feedback is greatly appreciated!


Okay, y’all — I would love some feedback on a sequencing discussion I’m having with myself. 🙂

What’s the best way to bundle/sequence your units??

In the past, I have setup my course to go “system by system” (i.e. Unit 2: Skeletal System; Unit 3: Muscular System; etc.). I did it this way because: 1) the text is setup this way; and, 2) that’s the way it was taught in my A&P classes…?

However, in looking at my curriculum standards (TX) in more detail, I see the following major themes:

– energy needs and processes

– responses to internal/external forces/stimuli

– homeostasis

– electrical conduction processes/interactions

– transport systems

– environmental factors and their effects

– structure & function of human body

– reproduction

– emerging technological advances


This really got me thinking…! Do we talk about these topics throughout the year? Yes, but indirectly. We spend so much time learning all the parts of each system and then how they work, that we don’t really explicitly focus on these major themes and overarching issues. (The big exception: I spend a lot of direct time on the “structure and function of the human body” theme…more than its “fair share” when looking at in comparison to the other standards.)


So…here’s what I’m thinking. I’m contemplating structuring my A&P course this year around these themes (not necessarily in the order above). For example, doing a unit on “Energy Needs and Processes” — discovering these needs and then learning the anatomy and physiology of the different parts of the body that play a role in this (i.e. what are our energy needs? How is the digestive system (/other systems) related to energy needs? What parts? How do they work? What problems could occur in regards to energy needs?).


I think this might be a better approach to the course — giving students more context in which to learn the A&P rather than just “Here — next we’re going to learn all about the ________ system.”. I know it would take more work to change over and structure my course this way, but I think it would be a richer experience…


What do y’all think…?? I’d love to hear…! Thanks!!

Michelle Rinehart

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