Many methods instructors use to teach A&P are tried and true, but what if you could provide a new engaging way for students to learn? You can get creative when teaching A&P through virtual simulations. Labster’s virtual labs introduce hard-to-grasp scientific concepts such as sensory transduction and neuronal communication in fun, gamified 3D learning environments.
Here are 7 of our favorites that align with most first-year A&P lesson plans:
1.) Skeletal Muscle: Learn about the muscles we use to walk and run
Investigate the properties of two types of skeletal muscle and analyze their fiber composition. Use histochemistry and force transduction to compare muscles and learn why people can stay energized on long walks but get tired from a short sprint.Techniques: Force transduction, twitch kinetics, tetanus kinetics, length tension, staining/microscopy, fatigue, force frequency, histochemistry, and slide preparation.
Why the topic is important: Skeletal muscles help humans to move and perform different activities. They’re responsible for balance, posture, and protecting our vital organs (Heeransh et al., 2021).
2.) Sensory transduction: Learn why you feel pain when you get hit by a rock
Learn the basic mechanisms of sensory transduction by performing in vitro and in vivo experiments and determine which anesthetic drug will allow students’ virtual lab friend to keep climbing a mountain without affecting the muscles.
Techniques: Latency to Withdrawal and voltage-clamp method.
Why the topic is important: Pain is part of the human experience. Sensory transduction teaches which stimuli activate different types of sensory neurons and behold the flow of ions inside an axon.
3.) Introduction to the Female Reproductive System
Discover the structure of the female reproductive system in three dimensions! Students will use a realistic and high-tech hologram to observe the structures and organs that play an important role in the female reproductive system. Interact with the uterus, vagina, ovaries, and uterine tubes. Inspect them closely to learn about their anatomy and function.
Why is the topic important: Students can learn about all the different parts that make up the female reproductive system and how those structures and organs work. It’s relevant to birth, puberty, the menstrual cycle, and menopause.
4.) Gross Function of the Nervous System: Let your brain learn about itself
Explore the structures and functions of the central and peripheral nervous systems. Learn about the nervous system’s fundamental cells and neurons and how they communicate with each other through synapses.
Techniques: Dissection, microscope, and 3D model.
Why is the topic important: The brain is a fascinating organ. The nervous system residing in the brain is responsible for our consciousness, cognition, memories, and all vital body functions like breathing, digestion, and our heartbeat (Vasković, 2022).
5.) Hematology: Introduction to blood
Not only vampires are obsessed with blood - hematologists love blood as well! In this simulation, students will generate complete blood counts and prepare blood smears of control and patient samples to diagnose various blood disorders in three patients. Dive into the inner workings of the different blood components with immersive 3D animations, where students will get acquainted with the morphology and function of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
Techniques: Peripheral blood smear, Giemsa stain, hematology analysis, and analysis of complete blood counts.
Why is the topic important: Hematology is the study of our blood, mainly looking at imbalances. Hematologists help treat diseases like cancers, neutropenia, and anemia.
6.) Skin Layers and Organ Anatomy: Follow a skin cell’s journey!
What secrets are hidden under your body's biggest organ? In this simulation, you will learn about the two main parts of your skin - the epidermis and the dermis. Discovering their secrets will help you understand why we need this adaptive and incredibly flexible protective coat, together with its many structural components like hair, nails, and sweat glands.
Why is the topic important: The skin is the body’s largest organ! It has many functions, such as regulating body temperature, allowing us to feel touch, and fighting against germs (Skin: Layers, Structure and Function, 2021).
7.) Renal Physiology: Find the mode of action of a diuretic drug
Did you know your kidneys play a critical role in purifying the bloodstream and recycling important molecules? In this simulation, students will learn about the structure of the different tissues inside the kidney, their respective functions for maintaining a healthy body, and their influence on urine regulation.
Techniques: Data analysis of a tubule reabsorption experiment, analysis of glomerular filtration rate, perfusing and extraction of a kidney from a rat, radioimmunoassay, and preparing a section of a nephron tubule.
Why is the topic important: The renal system comprises thekidney, ureters, and urethra. They help excrete toxins from the body while maintaining hydration and important electrolytes (Ifeanyichukwu, et al., 2021).
Some of these concepts are challenging to get across to students without visuals or accompanying labs. Virtual labs can supplement your existing teaching to equip students with the involved experience of going inside skeletal muscles, the skin, diuretics, and more that they may not otherwise be able to do.
Play these anatomy and physiology simulations and hundreds more with our 30-day all-access educator’s pass. You can teach using this free trial!
Ifeanyichukwu, O., & Tuma, F. (2021, July 26). Physiology, Renal. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538339
Heeransh D.D., Shook, M., Varacallo, M. (2021, September.). Anatomy, skeletal muscle. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30725921/
Cleveland Clinic. (2021, October 13). Skin: Layers, Structure and Function. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/10978-skin#:%7E:text=As%20the%20body’s%20largest%20organ,%2C%20acne%2C%20wrinkles%20and%20rashes.
Vasković, J., MD. (2022, August 15). Nervous system. Kenhub. Retrieved from: https://www.kenhub.com/en/library/anatomy/the-nervous-system
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