Inquiry to teach bone anatomy and design

31 Oct

Goal: In my anatomy and physiology class students need to learn about bone anatomy and have them understand the following:

  • Shape of a long bone
    • Hollow middle
    • Ends of long bones are wider
  • Discover that there are actually two types of bone *spongy bone and compact bone)
  • Location of spongy bone vs compact bone
  • How does the design of a bone accomplish the structural/support needs of humans

Previously this would have all been taught via a lecture and discussion where I would tell the students all of the information.  This year I decided to have the students discover how and why bones are designed the way they are.

Students move through a series of six stations that have 1-3 real bones. (human, deer, cow, and mastodon) While at these stations, students record observations on their iPads about each type of bone, including the shape, and the structural design. In addition students take pictures of the bone and in some cases place magnifying glasses in front of the camera to take pictures of the bones. Through these observations and just a little bit of research students discovered and learned for themselves all of the learning outcomes I had previously given them.  Take a look at some of my students work!  Pretty amazing!Intro to Bones

What was used to complete lab:

PDF Expert used as lab

Camera of iPad

Simple Magnifying glass


Examples of students work


Intro to Bones

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