How to Teach Anatomy and Physiology with HealthCenter21 (2023)

Anatomy and Physiology is one of the most important courses in your CTE health science pathway. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most difficult classes to keep students engaged and interested in.

Because of this, teachers often ask how they can use our health science curriculum in a year-long Anatomy and Physiology course.

To best implement AES in your Anatomy and Physiology course, we recommend using four pieces of the HealthCenter21 curriculum system:

  • The Medical Terminology Module
  • The Anatomy & Physiology Curriculum Modules
  • The Diseases and Disorders Module
  • The Daily Quiz Challenge

In this article, you’ll learn what to expect from each piece and best practices on using them in your A&P course.

Before getting into the details, let’s review how HealthCenter21 is structured so you have success when implementing the curriculum.

Did you previously use the individual Anatomy and Physiology module from AES?

How Is HealthCenter21 Structured?

HealthCenter21 is a comprehensive curriculum system with more than 1,000 curriculum hours of content organized into learning modules.

How to Teach Anatomy and Physiology with HealthCenter21 (1)

These modules each focus on an overarching healthcare topic and are structured according to our four-phase learning plan:

  • Explore: Teacher-led activities designed to hook student interest.
  • Learn & Practice: Teacher resources and student-directed lessons to help students learn new concepts and skills.
  • Reflect: Teacher-led activities designed to review and discuss key ideas from the lessons.
  • Reinforce: Student-directed projects that enhance understanding of concepts and skills.

Every module in the AES curriculum includes these phases to help students learn and retain the information presented.

Now that you have an idea of what to expect from HealthCenter21 as a whole, let's dive into how you can teach anatomy and physiology with the curriculum!

1. The Medical Terminology Module

The Medical Terminology module is a great first step for an Anatomy and Physiology course.

How to Teach Anatomy and Physiology with HealthCenter21 (2)

In the module, students are introduced to the language of health care workers, including root words, suffixes, prefixes, abbreviations, body planes, directions, and cavities. They also learn to add prefixes and suffixes, form phrases with abbreviations, and interpret medical terms.

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Tips for Using the Medical Terminology Module

We recommend following the four-phase course framework to stay organized and provide the best learning experience when implementing the Medical Terminology module.

Start by using the Explore activity to ease your students into the basics of medical terms by completing a word search.

Next, it’s time to incorporate the units from the Learn & Practice phase:

  • Unit 1: Word Parts: Roots
  • Unit 2: Word Parts: Suffixes and Prefixes
  • Unit 3: Abbreviations
  • Unit 4: Anatomic References

Each unit includes digital lessons, study resources, review challenges, and assessments to help students learn and use medical terms.

You can utilize these units in one of two ways, depending on your preference:

  • Instruct students to complete the units as part of your daily class work
  • Require students to complete the units at home before discussing topics in class

After your students have worked through the units, it’s time to incorporate the Reflect and Reinforce activities. These activities work great as supplemental pieces to fill in class time or assign as homework.

As you wrap up this portion of your coursework, use the module test to measure how well your students learned the content.

Overall, the Medical Terminology module will help set students up for success in learning about each body system later in your course!

Pro Tip: The “review games” within the module are great for additional practice and reinforcement. Allow your students to access the Medical Terminology module throughout the entire length of your course to make the most of them!

2. The Anatomy and Physiology Curriculum Modules

The AES Anatomy and Physiology curriculum covers the foundational concepts and terminology related to each body system's structure, function, diseases, and disorders. It also includes an overview of how organs and body systems work together to support a healthy human body.

These topics are taught across 13 learning modules:

How to Teach Anatomy and Physiology with HealthCenter21 (3)

  1. A&P - Intro
  2. A&P - Integumentary System
  3. A&P - Skeletal System
  4. A&P - Muscular System
  5. A&P - Nervous System
  6. A&P - Sensory System
  7. A&P - Cardiovascular System
  8. A&P - Lymphatic System
  9. A&P - Respiratory System
  10. A&P - Digestive System
  11. A&P - Urinary System
  12. A&P - Endocrine System
  13. A&P - Reproductive System

When implementing AES in your Anatomy and Physiology course, these modules will make up the bulk of your material.

Want guidance on implementing the curriculum? Read the pacing guides for a recommended teaching sequence to help you plan your classes: Anatomy and Physiology Curriculum Pacing Guides

Tips for Implementing the Anatomy and Physiology Curriculum

Each A&P curriculum module follows the same structure and includes:

  • A body system trivia question activity to engage students and kickstart their thinking
  • Self-paced, interactive lessons and assessments for students to learn new information
  • Discussion questions for students to reflect on and apply what they learned
  • Four reinforcement activities to deepen student understanding of the body systems

In this section, you’ll find tips and recommendations for each piece of the anatomy and physiology curriculum that you can mix and match based on your students’ needs.

Phase 1 - Explore

In the Explore phase of each body system module, you’ll find a Trivia Questions activity. You can use these activities to:

  • Create bell ringers that kick off each class period
  • Run a trivia game where students team up and compete against each other
  • Lead a class discussion to expand on the body system

Phase 2 - Learn & Practice

In the Learn & Practice phase, every A&P body system module includes a unit on Structure and Function and a unit on Diseases and Disorders.

The lessons and assessments in each unit provide your students with a solid foundation of information on each body system.

In the Skeletal, Muscular, and Cardiovascular system modules, you’ll find additional “Extended” units that provide more detail on specific topics related to the system.

Two common ways teachers incorporate the Learn & Practice units are:

  • Instruct students to complete the units as part of your daily class work
  • Require students to complete the units at home before discussing topics in class

Phase 3 - Reflect

The Reflect phase of each A&P module includes an activity that provides an opportunity for students to reflect upon and apply what they learned to situations.

You can use these reflection questions to expand the conversations in your classroom or assign journal activities to your students.

Phase 4 - Reinforce

In the Reinforce phase of each A&P module, you’ll discover four resources to sprinkle into your lessons where you see fit to deepen your students’ understanding of the body system.

A few ideas for adding a reinforcement activity to your anatomy and physiology classes include:

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  • Have students learn about careers related to the body system by completing the Careers Research activity.
  • Challenge students to take their knowledge deeper by assigning the Diseases and Disorders Research activity for a body system.
  • Give students the Crossword Puzzle activity as homework or a study aid so they can review or practice key terminology.
  • Have students learn innovations in the field by completing the Advanced Treatment Research project.

Overall, when using the AES Anatomy and Physiology curriculum, it’s easy to adjust how in-depth students explore each body system by deciding which pieces of the four-phase curriculum you assign for each module.

3. The Diseases and Disorders Module

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The Diseases and Disorder module provides an overview of various diseases and disorders, explaining the definition, etiology, pathology, presentation, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis.

When teaching anatomy and physiology, some instructors incorporate the materials from the Diseases and Disorders module to expand on the AES A&P curriculum.

Tips for Incorporating the Diseases and Disorders Module in Your Classes

The Diseases and Disorder module is an expansion of the Anatomy and Physiology topics.

For this reason, we suggest assigning the Diseases and Disorders module after discussing all of the body systems in your course.

By taking this approach, the module’s lessons and activities help students further explore how certain diseases and disorders impact the body systems.

Depending on how your syllabus is laid out, you can assign students to complete these assignments either in-class or as homework.

Pro Tip: The Reinforce project on Diseases and Disorders Research is a great way to wrap up the semester with group work and presentations!

4. The Daily Quiz Challenge

The Daily Quiz Challenge is a unique piece of the HealthCenter21 system that offers a 10-question, non-graded review challenge each day when your students log in.

The questions include topics found within the Medical Terminology and Anatomy and Physiology modules that students often need to practice more.

Tips for Using the Daily Quiz Challenge in Your Classes

The Daily Quiz Challenge is an excellent bell ringer activity to kick off your class every day.

With this daily practice, your students will be able to better recall the information in the future.

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We recommend assigning the Daily Quiz Challenge throughout the entire year - before, during, and after you teach the topics found in the daily questions.

In some cases, your students may encounter a question they don’t know the answer to, which is a great learning opportunity.

The Quiz Challenge offers immediate feedback on the question, allowing the student to think critically to narrow down the options and find the correct answer. This process helps to reinforce students’ long-term retention of that information.

Participation in daily practice throughout your entire course will give your students as much practice as possible with the vocabulary, resulting in better long-term retention.

Pro Tip: To encourage your students to participate in the Daily Quiz Challenge, you can review a participation report and highlight students with the highest scores on your class leaderboard!

Teach Anatomy and Physiology (and more) with HealthCenter21

Overall, you can successfully teach a full-year Anatomy and Physiology class with HealthCenter21 as your core curriculum resource.

By incorporating the activities, lessons, assessments, and projects, you’ll set your students up for an engaging learning experience that will help them retain critical information long after they leave your classroom.

However, if you’re like most health science instructors, A&P isn’t the only course you teach.

Thousands of teachers like you use the AES curriculum for classes such as Introduction to Health Science, Medical Assisting, Patient Care Technician, and more.

With 1,000 curriculum hours of content, HealthCenter21 can work in many of your courses to introduce the basics, help students hone skills, and prepare students for certifications.

Using one curriculum resource across all of your courses can save time in planning and better focus on empowering your students for success.

Wondering if HealthCenter21 is right for you and your students? Start your free trial to decide for yourself:

How to Teach Anatomy and Physiology with HealthCenter21 (5)

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What is the best way to teach anatomy and physiology? ›

Use Lab-Based Instruction When Possible

Visual aids, demonstrations, and lab exercises help students develop better knowledge of anatomy and physiology through tangible, interactive experiences. Depending on the resources available to you, lab-based instruction can occur in class, at home, or in the field.

How do you memorize anatomy and physiology? ›

Study Tips to Help You Ace Anatomy & Physiology
  1. Read before you go to class.
  2. Show up to class and take good notes.
  3. Rote memorization for definitions. ...
  4. Make sure to repeat them out loud. ...
  5. Print diagrams and complete them over and over again. ...
  6. Incorporate things you've learned into your daily conversations.

Why learning anatomy and physiology is important for LPNS? ›

Anatomy and Physiology education help in understanding the health status of patients. It helps in assessing, evaluating, diagnosing and tracking a patient's health. The theories of this subject assist in comprehending the overall condition of the human body.

How do I become an anatomy teacher? ›

Anatomy Teacher Education Requirements. High-school teachers need a bachelor's degree in anatomy and physiology or a related area, as well as a state-issued teaching certificate. Some states require a master's degree.

How do you explain a body to a child? ›

The Human Body for children - Body Parts for Kids - YouTube

What is interesting of studying anatomy and physiology? ›

Anatomy and physiology degrees are for those who are fascinated by the science of medicine. You'll learn about the structure of the body and how it functions. You'll gain an understanding of the causes, diagnosis and treatment of disease, and its effect on different parts of the body.

How many hours a day should you study anatomy and physiology? ›

Study Tips To Help You Pass Anatomy & Physiology Class.

Reserve about two-three hours per day to review the material from the last lecture and lab session, and to read the material for the next lecture or lab session.

How do you remember the 11 organ systems? ›

How to memorize the 11 Organ Systems of the Human Body

How can I learn physiology easily? ›

You need to take lectures, take notes, use flashcards, take frequent quizzes and watch videos to grasp the information better. These strategies will not only help you learn physiology but also prepare you for the USMLE Step 1 and eventually a competent doctor.

Why is anatomy and physiology so hard? ›

Typically, we think that human Anatomy and Physiology is tough as it is a combination of information that you need to understand as well as remember. Therefore, for some parts, you need to be good at understanding things faster, and for some, you should be able to memorize things well.

Do nurses really need to know anatomy? ›

Nursing students must study anatomy and physiology to understand how the body functions and to help them recognize the causes of illness. Nurses apply concepts and practical applications to assess, diagnose, and track their patients' health.

What is anatomy and physiology in your own words? ›

What is Anatomy and Physiology? Anatomy is the study of the structures associated with the human body. Physiology is the study of the function of each of these structures. The human body is often thought of as a complicated machine.

What degree do you need to teach anatomy in college? ›

Educators who would like to teach anatomy and physiology at four-year colleges or universities usually need a doctoral degree in their field.

How do you become a physiology lecturer? ›

Must hold a post-graduate degree in Physiology along with MBBS. Must have three years teaching experience in Physiology in a recognised medical college as resident/ Registrar/Demonstrator or a Tutor.

What is an anatomy instructor? ›

Anatomy and physiology instructors teach high school, college, or medical students about the biological and technical details of the human body.

Is human anatomy taught in high school? ›

introductory anatomy and physiology courses are offered in most 2 and 4-yr colleges, and, to a lesser degree, they are a part of the high school curriculum.

What physiology means? ›

Physiology is the science of life. It is the branch of biology that aims to understand the mechanisms of living things, from the basis of cell function at the ionic and molecular level to the integrated behaviour of the whole body and the influence of the external environment.

How does studying the anatomy of the major muscles help in physical education subject? ›

Study of anatomy and physiology helps a sport person to understand the structure and function of different parts of human body and to acquire a fit and healthy body.

What is the best way to manage time in preparation for anatomy and physiology? ›

Avoid Cramming

Study anatomy and physiology every day or at least every other day. More frequent studying is preferable to studying only two or three days per week. Set a schedule where you spend some time every day either previewing or reviewing anatomy and physiology information.

What are the methods of studying anatomy? ›

The three main approaches to studying anatomy are: regional, systemic and clinical.

How can I memorize anatomy quickly? ›

  1. Link the word to the structure by creating a mental picture.
  2. Find the meaning of the word.
  3. Break the word down and make it recognisable for yourself by using tip number 2...
  4. Create your own abbreviations, songs, poems, acronyms etc.
  5. Use flashcards, either in print commercial, online or homemade.

Is anatomy and physiology hard? ›

Human Anatomy and Physiology (HAP) is widely recognized as a difficult course, often characterized by high drop, withdrawal, and failure rates (10, 23).

How many hours a day should you study for anatomy and physiology? ›

Study Tips To Help You Pass Anatomy & Physiology Class.

Reserve about two-three hours per day to review the material from the last lecture and lab session, and to read the material for the next lecture or lab session.

How do I prepare for anatomy quiz? ›

Anatomy exams may take place in different formats.
Dissection (in course assessment)
  1. Do not cut randomly; study the anatomy if you do not know it. ...
  2. Be aware of landmarks where nerves and vessels run.
  3. You should know the anatomy well enough to identify variation. ...
  4. Use scalpels only on the skin.

What are the three branch of anatomy? ›

Within Gross anatomy are REGIONAL ANATOMY which studies the anatomy of body parts (the head, the leg, etc), SYSTEMIC ANATOMY which studies body systems, and SURFACE ANATOMY which studies what is underneath the surface.

What are the two approaches anatomy? ›

Anatomists take two general approaches to the study of the body's structures: regional and systemic. Regional anatomy is the study of the interrelationships of all of the structures in a specific body region, such as the abdomen.

What are the 4 division of the body? ›

The human body is a single structure but it is made up of billions of smaller structures of four major kinds: cells, tissues, organs, and systems.

What is the best memorization method? ›

Study tips: Top 5 memorization techniques
  • Assign meaningfulness to things. ...
  • Learn general and specific later. ...
  • Recite out loud in your own words until you don't need to refer to your notes.
  • Teach someone else. ...
  • Use memory devices.
20 Nov 2013

Is anatomy and physiology just memorization? ›

Abstract. Anatomy and physiology are taught in community colleges, liberal arts colleges, universities, and medical schools. The goals of the students vary, but educators in these diverse settings agree that success hinges on learning concepts rather than memorizing facts.

Why is learning anatomy so difficult? ›

Why is anatomy and physiology so hard? Anatomy and physiology is considered hard because there's a lot of material in the class that requires several hours each week to be able to learn and memorize the material.

What is the hardest part of anatomy and physiology? ›

Students enrolled in this undergraduate human anatomy course overwhelmingly reported that the nervous system was the most difficult organ system to learn due to issues relating to its complex structure-function relationships.

How many people fail anatomy and physiology? ›

It's not surprising that many struggle, and many don't make it through. In fact, a new report from the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society found that nationwide, A&P attrition rates are between thirty and forty percent. This is a troubling statistic, because A&P is also foundational to multiple degree paths.

Is anatomy and physiology harder than nursing school? ›

The sciences of A & P are harder in terms of the facts and physiological principles etc, but the nursing classes are harder in terms of re-learning how to think and process--basically learning to think like a nurse.


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