Labeling the Urinary System…without my help!

Today, we wrapped up the digestive system and introduced the urinary system. It was a shortened schedule day, so we didn’t get too far. We only have about a week to spend on this unit because it’s the end of the school year.

The exciting thing about this system’s introduction is that I didn’t have to do too much…

We discussed the functions of the urinary system first. They already knew the primary functions from when we talked about blood pressure regulation back in the cardiovascular system and from just knowing what urine is. I had to add the regulation of pH to our function list because we haven’t discussed pH much at all…if only we had more time in the year. We still won’t get into how pH is regulated unfortunately.

I gave them today’s notes sheet, and in groups they were able to identify almost all of the organs without my help. I didn’t have to tell them what anything was. We had seen most of the organs in diagrams of other systems at different points. They had seen the location of the bladder, urethra, and ureters (sagittal view) back during the reproductive system. The aorta and vena cava were obvious from studying the cardiovascular system. The adrenals were from the endocrine system. And the kidneys are easy to label.

Obviously, the system gets much more complex than just labeling the system’s organs, the adjacent organs, and naming the general functions of the system. We’ll discuss the parts of the bladder, structure and function of nephrons, and urine production the rest of the week.

But today it was nice that they knew so much coming into the first day of the system! Not too revolutionary, but I’m always glad to cut out some unneeded lecturing/direct instruction.

Whiteboarding to Review Osmosis

IMG_1667In Anatomy & Physiology, we are about to start section 10.4 Capillary and Fluid Exchange. This is a complicated section dealing that helps to identify the location of water in the body (60-40-20 rule), describe the structure of capillaries, and explain the factors (blood pressure and osmosis) that affect edema (i.e., swelling).

We needed a refresher on osmosis, which we talked about way back in our first unit (an amalgam of topics ranging from directional terms to homeostasis to body systems). So as a review, I had students in groups whiteboard a diagram and description of osmosis.

They included an intentional mistake in their presentations (a la Kelly Oshea’s Mistake Game), which helped produce a more interesting conversation about the process and helps to normalize error. There were a handful of unintentional mistakes/differences/misconceptions as well, which is always welcome!

One of the mistakes in the whiteboard shown above was that the water molecules (solvent) are shown only moving toward the area of higher solute concentration. In reality, water molecules move both ways (so they needed an up- and down-arrow), but the net movement is toward the higher solute concentration. With whiteboarding and the mistake game, we got to talk about this and clear up these kinds of misunderstandings!

On to capillary fluid exchange and edema tomorrow!

It’ll be…um…swell!