For a long time, the most frustrating part of our introductory biology class was our unit on human anatomy. It’s always seemed obvious to teachers that students ought to be interested in that part of biology that was most closely focused on themselves - their own changing bodies. What got in the way was our traditional methods of teaching anatomy and physiology as a series of diagrams and lists. We decided that a different approach could only be better than what was going on. MiniMed School takes advantage of students’ different approaches to learning, and exposes them to a variety of learning styles - all intended help them understand the complex systems that make up the human body.
Grade Report Sheet
The Grade Report Sheet serves both as an evolving record of students’ progress and as an organizer for planning their work. Students may study the systems in any order, and may pace themselves as needed within the framework of the course.
MMS divides the body into ten systems. This division reflects that of most available middle and high school life science texts. Local teachers may customize the Word file to correspond with the materials they have available. An online resource that can replace a book is the Online Biology Book: goo.gl/P9kCRa.
The Study Guides are the pages provided for each system. Each is two pages long, and organized into four sections. Check Ups (a nice alternative term for “quiz”) may be developed using exam software provided with textbooks, online item banks, or such sites as Quizlet (quizlet.com) which allow teachers to share quizzes and study materials. While any teacher may set up whatever guidelines they wish, we require students to pass Check Ups with 80% accuracy prior to beginning the next system.
Every Study Guide is divided into four sections, each intended to appeal to a different mode of learning; all intended to enhance deeper understandings of complex systems. Systems begin with a look at Anatomy. Students color-code the structures shown in a line drawing that illustrates the major parts of the system. Coloring has been shown to be a valuable tool for visual learners. In the System Summary, students describe the functions of the system in their own words. Verbal learners excel here. Each system has a Disorder or Condition listed. Students are to define it, and list symptoms and treatments available. Internet resources are valuable here, although many textbooks have such information. Students then choose a second disorder to summarize. The System Overview is a way to summarize the body system using a concept map or other diagram, designed by the students themselves.
Using MiniMed School
MiniMed School has been used with a variety of high school biology and middle school life science textbooks. It has also been used without a text, using online resources only. Some of our colleagues have used it along with daily labs and activities as a way to summarize note as a unit progresses. We have also used MMS in a completely open-ended manner, with students choosing which systems to study in any order they wish.
We have used copied book quizzes as CheckUps, as well as teacher-prepared materials, and online quizzes adapted from our online textbook materials. Quizlet and Google Forms also look like very useful methods to explore.
It’s an outline - an organizer - for building a unit to learn about anatomy and physiology. It’s been a great tools for us. We hope you find it useful as well.