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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

7 Resources for Teaching and Learning Anatomy and Physiology

Thinking back on my undergraduate studies there is one class that instantly comes to mind whenever someone asks, "what was the most difficult class you had to take?" for me the answer is Anatomy and Physiology. Why I was taking that class is a long story, but it confirmed for me that I was definitely not going to medical school. I don't know if the following resources would have helped me with my studies back then, but they certainly wouldn't have hurt to try them.

Healthline Body Maps provides interactive three dimensional models for learning about human anatomy. Body Maps has male and female models. The models have eight layer views, from skin to skeletal, that you can select. You can hold your mouse pointer over any part of the model to view a body part's name and then zoom to more detailed information. For example, if I place my mouse on the stomach I can then click through for a more detailed view and to see how the stomach is connected to other body parts. To rotate the model just click and drag the model to the left or right.

BioDigital Human offers interactive 3D models of human anatomy. You can turn on and off different views according to which body systems you want to view. The models can be rotated 360 degrees and the labels have an audio play-back option. The video below offers an overview of BioDigital Human.

If you are going to use BioDigital Human in your classroom, there are two things to keep in mind. First, the models are 100% anatomically correct. Second, you do need to have your browser updated to the latest version possible to experience all that BioDigital Human has to offer.


In Sponge Lab Biology's Build a Body students construct a human body system-by-system. To build a body students drag and drop into place the organs and bones of a human body. Each organ and bone is accompanied by a description of the purpose of that bone or organ. The systems that students can build in the Build a Body activity are the skeletal, digestive, respiratory, nervous, excretory, and circulatory systems. Build a Body also has a case study menu in which students can read about diseases, disorders, and and other concerns that affect the human body. In each case study students are given a short description of the concern followed by a question that they should be able to answer after completing the Build a Body activity.

Anatomy Arcade is a collection of games about human body systems. The collection is categorized by both body system and game type. The games most frequently appearing in the Anatomy Arcade are jigsaw puzzles, matching games, and crossword puzzles. There are also a few interactive games. The Anatomy Arcade was developed by a science and physical education teacher in Melbourne, Australia.

Get Body Smart has number of tutorials and quizzes divided into eight categories of anatomy and physiology. Each category is divided into subcategories where visitors will find quizzes for each topic. The tutorials and quizzes are best suited to use in advanced high school anatomy and physiology courses.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System provides nearly 200 video animations and explanations of injuries, diseases, and body systems. The animations, like this one of a balloon angioplasty, are concise which makes them good for general reference purposes.

In Man as Industrial Palace Henning Lederer brings this famous drawing to life. In the two minute video viewers will see how the human body's internal systems work together to process food and produce life. The video is embedded below.


Der Mensch als Industriepalast [Man as Industrial Palace] from Henning Lederer on Vimeo.

See the image Man as Industrial Palace below. (If you're viewing this in RSS you might need to click through to see the image).

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