Discipline or Field: Anatomy and Physiology Authors: Tisha King-Heiden, Lisa Kobs, Faye Ellis Lesson Site: University of Wisconsin – La Crosse Course Name: Anatomy and Physiology I (Bio312)
The Anatomy and Physiology (A&P) I and II series are 300-level elective courses with both a lecture and laboratory component; content in A&P II builds upon the content learned in A&P I. These coures are a pre-requisites for students who plan to pursue additional training in clinical programs such as medical school, physician assistant, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Because this course is required for numerous graduate programs, this is an exceptionally high demand class of interest to students across several majors within different colleges. So while this is a biology course, 60% of the students are not biology majors, and enter the course with varied skills and experiences. This lesson study was performed in the laboratory portion of the A&P I course. Each lab section contains 24 students, seated at tables of four, promoting an atmosphere for collaborative learning.
Students often have difficulty learning histology (study of organs and tissues at the microscopic level) and rely on their memorization skills to “learn” the material. In an effort to enhance student understanding of the relationship between structure and function, we developed a worksheet to use in conjunction with the laboratory manual to provide guidance as students encountered new histology material. Instructors from the course and outside of the field observed and recorded student behavior and comments as the worksheet was completed. To see if students transferred those skills when learning new histology, instructors observed and recorded student behavior and comments as they attempted to learn new histology material without the use of a worksheet the following week. Observation comments, worksheet answers, histology quiz scores, and a student survey were gathered to determine the effectiveness of the worksheet. While we noted that students asked more inquiry-based questions during histology labs and reported that the activity helped them to approach learning differently and gain a more thorough understanding of histology, we did not see strong evidence to support that the worksheet enhanced their understanding of histology. We plan to develop and assess additional worksheets that reinforce these core concepts of form and function, and to promote more inquiry-based learning of anatomy.