Anatomy & Physiology

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In this course, students will examine body form and function in a wide range of plants and animals. An evolutionary approach will be used to demonstrate how anatomy relates to function, including comparisons of specialized features in organisms adapted to different conditions. The class concludes with an extended dissection activity involving a variety of invertebrates and vertebrates that allows observation and comparison of all the system studied throughout the semester. This elective builds upon concepts introduced in Science I and II (for details, see the units below) and seeks to increase the depth and complexity of understanding of how the human body works, and how it evolved to its current form.

Curriculum Map

Unit Essential Questions Habits Of Mind Content Skills and Processes Assessment Resources Multicultural Dimension Integrated Learning
Introduction to Key Concepts

Do all organisms face the same challenges?

How do structures in living things reflect their function?

Is their a common hierarchical organization within the wide variety of body plans?

How do organisms control their internal environment?

How do organisms balance their energy requirements?


Learning to extrapolate the probable function of a structure by oberving its structure

A survey of various cells, tissues, organs and organ system across phyla

Use temperature control as an example of homeostasis and feedback loops

Looking at well-known organisms with a more detailed eye, identifying adaptations

Address misconceptions about animal form and function

Look at anatomical and physiological processes in an evolutionary context

Make link between concepts studied in Science I and II and a greater level of conceptual complexity in a higher level class

Class participation

Homework questions

In class reading quizzes/identification of adaptations in animal samples

End of unit test


Biology  (Cambpell, AP 8th edition)

Image bank of various organisms

Planet Earth (Attenborough, BBC Wildlife DVD)


Why is water the solvent of choice for living organisms?

How do a variety of animals balance their water and solute requirements?

How to anadramous fish species switch between marine and fresh water environments?

How does the mammalian kidney work?

How is blood pressure controlled both naturally and using prescription drugs?

How to plants use water? How is their anatomy and physiology adapted for these functions?

Osmoregulatory mechanisms in invertebrates and non-mammalian vertebrates

The mammalian kidney - structure and function

hormonal control of osmoregulation

Control of blood pressure via the action of hormones on the kidney

ACE inhibitors and diuretics

Plant anatomy

Transpiration and bulk flow

Gill adaptation in salmonids

Design a lab to demonstrate osmoregulation and osmosis

Dissection and accurate scientific drawing

Learning to read original scientific research papers



Drawings of mammalian kidney dissection

Lab reports

Lab Demonstration to the class

End of unit test

Scientific journal papers



What is the difference between asexual and sexual reproduction? What are the advantages and disadvantages of different reproductive strategies in plants and animals? How is reproductive anatomy related to function in various plants and animals? How do hormones regulate reproductive cycles?

 Compare reproductive strategies in various plant and animal species

Investigate why different animal species have different reproductive cycles

Use the human menstrual cycle as an example of hormonal control of a physiological process

Accurate dissection and identification

Exposure to and understanding of modern reproductive medicine topics

Relating repeating theme of feedback control of biological systems to another topic (see above units on thermoregulation and osmoregulation)

Dissection drawings of an insect-pollinated flower

end of unit test

Gas Exchange

How do plants and animals take in the gases they need, and expel their waste gases?

How do respiratory surfaces increase in complexity with increasing size of animals? Why is this necessary?

How does the change in gas exchange system anatomy across vertebrate phyla reflect the evolutionary move from water to land (and back again)?

Review and extension of study of leaf anatomy (introduced in Science I).

Comparison of gas exchange mechanisms in various invertebrate and vertebrate phyla

Review and extension of gas exchange in humans (introduced in Science II)


Building on previous knowledge as developmentally appropriate (increasing complexity of understanding)


End of unit test


How do animals move?

How is the anatomy of various vertebrates and invertebrates adapted to allow their particular form of locomotion?

What is the microscopic structure of a muscle? Are all muscles the same?

How do muscles work at the molecular level?

What is bone?

How are the skeletons of a variety of mammals adapted for each animal's lifestyle (e.g. swimmers, diggers, climbers, flyers, bipedal walkers)?

Comparision of hydrostatic, external and internal skeletons

Dissection of a chicken wing

Investigation of bone structure and content

Microscopic investigation of muscle structure and contraction mechanism

Investigation of comparative mammalian skeletal anatomy using departmental collection


Observation and comparison


Experimental design

Lab reports

Microscopy drawings

End of unit test

Collection of skeletons and preserved animal specimens.