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Human Physiology

Because you always wondered what was happening in your endocrine system.

Considering how much time we spend in our bodies, it's a little ridiculous how little most of us know about how they work. It's kind of like driving the same car you whole life and never figuring out how to adjust the mirrors and use the high beams. In this course, we're going to crack open our owner's manual. You'll gain an appreciation of all the moving parts necessary to keep your bodies not only alive, but accomplishing all the amazing things they do in a day.

This four-week course course is a crash-course overview of our seven major body systems: the respiratory, nervous, endocrine, excretion, digestion, muscular, and immune. Each of the systems will have at least one associated reading covering the basic terms and concepts, activity that require students to get their hands (metaphorically) dirty, and quiz to check comprehension.

If you're a teacher, this course is a great mini-unit to slot into a high-school biology course. We even have the test covered. 

Course Breakdown

Unit 1. Human Physiology

This course is a basic overview of the systems of the body. We'll cover: homeostasis, the respiratory system, the nervous system, the digestive system, the endocrine system, the kidney and liver, hormones, muscles, and the immune system. We cap it all off with a comprehensive test.

Sample Lesson - Introduction

Lesson 1: Respiratory System

Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. It gets harder when you start thinking about it, right? Thankfully, your respiratory system has got it completely under control, with very little input from you at all. As you're reading this, it's plugging away. As you're exercising, it's working even harder. Certainly it takes a break while you're sleeping, right? Nope, it's still working. The respiratory system never gets a vacation. (When it does, we call it fainting, and it tends to be so short it's not worth using the vacation days anyways.)

Despite being such a hard worker, we usually don't give the respiratory system any credit. Do you think about every breath you take? The Police do, but we're guessing you hadn't thought about one since that first paragraph.

The respiratory system consists of the organs responsible for helping us breathe. These organs include the nose, mouth, throat (pharynx), larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs. We breathe in through our mouths or nose, and it passes through the pharynx, larynx, and trachea. The trachea splits into two bronchial tubes that lead into our famous air storage units, the lungs. The lungs, with the help of blood vessels, deliver the oxygen to the body and get rid of the waste products, including carbon dioxide. Then they do it again, and again, as long as you both shall live.

Behold the lungs, the hardest working balloons we know of.
(Source)

The whole process happens so quickly we wouldn't even have time to think about each step between breaths, but in this lesson, we'll have the opportunity to cover each step in depth, as well as read about the organs that compose the system and their functions.

We often learn the most about physiology by studying what happens when things go wrong or don't work as they should. To this end, our activity will involve choosing a respiratory disease and learning about the causes and treatment of that condition. You'll come out with an appreciation of our hardy ventilation systems that you never had before.

Take one more breath (and make it a good one) because it's time to get started.

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  • Course Length: 4 weeks
  • Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, College
  • Course Type: Short Course
  • Category:
    • Science
  • Prerequisites:
    Biology—Semester A
    Biology—Semester B
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