I have often heard anatomy and physiology instructors worrying,
“Why don’t students see the physiological connections between cells across the entire body? How come they don’t relate content from one A&P course to the next?!”
Of course, the answer is that our courses and textbooks often actively teach students not to think across content areas by dividing the concepts into organ systems that seem to rarely, if ever, directly interact. This is especially frustrating, given that it is pretty easy to make a solid argument that any given organ could belong in lots of different organ systems. In fact, that’s exactly what we’re going to do!
To help you think critically about physiological connections across systems, you will choose one of the following statements to defend and support…
The muscles should be grouped in the nervous system.
The bones belong in the endocrine (hormone) system.
The skin should be considered an immune system organ.
The bones belong in the digestive system.
Read through the above statements carefully and think about which one seems the most logical to you. Some of them might seem strange after a first read, but all the statements are at least partly defensible!
Select one of the statements above and write at least 350 words in support of the statement you choose. You might start by introducing the cellular make up and activities of the organ(s) in your statement (i.e., skin, bones, or muscles, depending on which one you choose). Then discuss how the cells of the organ in question interact across systems, behave similarly to cells in other organ systems, or influence the activities of the other organ systems mentioned in the statement.
There are no particular right or wrong answers, but you will receive credit for:
2 points – Writing at least 350 words (note that you get a word count in the bottom right as you type)
3 points – Discussing the organ/system using an “A&P perspective” (i.e., directly discussing the activities of cells)
3 points – Thinking critically/creatively about how the cells of one organ relate to organs in another system (i.e., writing on topic and providing evidence in support of the statement you choose)