Unit (~7 weeks): Musculo-skeletal Unit: Prosthetics

Courses: Physiology, Anatomy, Engineering

I made & taught this physiology unit on musculoskeletal structure & function, via a sequence of inquiry tasks and engineering design challenges, supplemented by vocabulary, readings, videos, gallery walks, and interviews.

Hope the images, videos, & lab worksheets are useful/save time for folks using them! Lessons 3 & 5 need feedback and have poor slides. Some of it has messy highlighting, but I thought I'd share it now given now is a popular time for this subject to be taught. I will keep updating this post with version changes below.

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(jump to individual agendas & materials)

Includes Do Nows, Exit Ticket, lab writeups, reading w/ checks for understanding, rubrics, and final project workbook.

(Please supplement with your own reference docs for anatomical terms.)

1. Overview [Dissect: Chicken Wing]


  1. Do Now - proprioception tasks

  2. Unit Overview

    1. Unit-Long Project: 3D Skull Puzzle by Joshua Harker (video tutorial) (simpler alternative)

  3. Dissection: Chicken Wing (backup link in handouts document)

  4. Notes

    1. Basic Terminology

    2. Disorders

  5. Exit Ticket - Parts of the Skull

2-3. Micro - What happens when muscles get tired? [2 labs]


2. Agenda

  1. Do Now: Energy & Physical Activity

  2. Modeling: In/Output of Body

  3. Lab: What happens when you take oxygen (O2) out of cellular respiration?

  4. Reading: Cellular Respiration

    Alternate Lab if students have prior knowledge of cellular respiration: Skeletal Muscle Fatigue

3. Agenda

  1. Do Now: I/O Cellular Respiration

  2. Lab: What happens when you take carbon dioxide (CO2) out of cellular respiration?

  3. Watch & Discuss: Marathon Runner

  4. CER Letter to Marathon Runner

  5. Exit Ticket: Lactic Acid

Optional extensions:

4-5. Can you really build stronger bones by drinking milk? [3 labs]

4. Agenda

  1. Do Now - How much calcium do you eat? (Engage)

    1. Science Media Moment: Do you know how much calcium is in your diet?

  2. Video: Introduction to Bone Biology (Explore)

    1. Turn & Talk: What is bone made of?

  3. Lab: What is bone made of? (Explore)

  4. Reading: Bone Growth (Explain)

  5. Lab: What makes tough bones? (Explore)

  6. Video: Osteoclasts & Osteoblasts (Explain)

  7. Evidence Match: Bone Lab Explanations (Evaluate)

  8. Exit Ticket 

5. Agenda

  1. Do Now - Predict Repair & Breakage

  2. Pre-lab Videos (Engage)

    1. Bone Modeling & Remodeling

    2. Bone Broth

    3. Collagen Pills

  3. Lab: What makes tough bones? (Explore)

  4. Reading: Osteoporosis (Explain)

  5. Card Sort: Phases of Healing (Explore)

  6. Lab: Long Bone Strength (Elaborate)

  7. Video & Talk: Truss construction vs. Spongy bone (Elaborate)

  8. Exit Ticket - Challenges in Bioengineering Materials (Evaluate)

6-9. Macro - Fractures & Interventions [2 labs, 1 engineering challenge, 2 assessments]

6-7. Agenda

  1. Do Now -  Interview a Peer About A Broken Bone or Dislocation (Engage)

  2. Video: A Painful Point Break (Explore)

  3. Lab: Fracture (Explore)

  4. Slideshow: Types of Bone Fractures, Healing, & Interventions (Explain)

  5. 2 Exit Tickets - Natural Bone Repair & Fracture Characteristics


  1. Practice: Assessment case study – DIAGNOSIS? (Elaborate & Evaluate)

  2. Assessment: Case Study – DIAGNOSIS? (Elaborate & Evaluate)

8-9. Agenda

  1. Do Now - Angular & Linear Motion Activities (Engage)

  2. Gallery Walk - Hard or Fast Biter? (Explore)

  3. Jeopardy! Card Match - Review Lever Terminology (Engage)

  4. Engineering Challenge: Build-A-Bicep (Elaborate)

    1. Design Approval & Prototyping

    2. Optional activity: Moveable Joints Charades

    3. Mini-Lab: Musculoskeletal Biomechanics & Levers (Explore)

    4. Reading:  What Levers Does Your Body Use?

    5. Class Calculation: Mechanics of Muscle Motion

    6. Testing, Revising, and Marketing Video for Invention

  5. Exit Ticket - Speed v. Force Advantage (Evaluate)

10-18. Final Project: Prosthetics Engineering

10-18. Agenda

  1. Do Now - Activities, Places, Risks for K-12 children

  2. Introduction to Design Engineering - Afghanistan, Land Mines, Mine Kafon

    1. What do these devices resemble? What do they look like? Has anyone had experience with these?

    2. What do we know about the children and culture in Afghanistan?

    3. Videos: Mine Kafon & Mine Kafon 2.0 (Invention, Iteration, & Entrepreneurship)

  3. Mini-Practice: Design Engineering Your Morning Routine

    1. Step: Interview Partner - Connect to the Client (Develop Empathy)

    2. Step: Confirmatory Listening - “I hear you saying…” (Define the Problem)

    3. Step: Prototype - Use recyclables to build a model of something that improves your peer’s morning

    4. Step: Present & Explain

  4. Prosthetics Handbook

    1. Team Jobs & Agreements

    2. Research - Fact Pages

    3. Lecture: History of Prostheses

    4. Review: Design Engineering Process

      1. Mini-Engineering Challenge: Notecard Tower

      2. Mini-Bioengineering Challenge: Prosthetic Hand

    5. Disability Awareness

    6. Ideas & Prototype Designs

    7. Materials List

    8. 2 Ideate prototype designs with Pros & Cons

    9. Iterate: Present to another group for feedback, propose second draft design

    10. Create marketing plan and poster

    11. Rehearse presentations

  5. Design Showcase for Inventions

    1. What makes a good showcase?

    2. Feedback and Reflection Forms