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Introduction to Physics of the Human Body

The interdisciplinary nature of scientific work has become increasingly important and valuable to scientific progress; much groundbreaking science is currently happening at the interface between what have been traditionally distinct fields. Examples of breakthroughs made at the crossroads of physics and biology range from the first direct visualization – over fifty years ago – of the double helix structure of DNA via x-ray diffraction,  to the invention of magnetic resonance imaging tools and their widespread use in hospitals around the world.

Despite recent interdisciplinary discoveries in science, we find that in schools science is often parsed into a series of disconnected courses and disciplines, and conveyed as a body of knowledge, versus a dynamic social endeavor. Physics of the Human Body is designed as a curricular supplement to help teachers bridge the gap between textbook and cutting-edge research, between the student and science.

Through engaging students in investigating how the human body works from the perspectives of both biology and physics, and exploring the intersections and synergy between these two fields, students will develop a more robust understanding of the concepts and of scientific work. Additionally, the human body provides opportunities for students to establish immediate relevance and personal meaning to the concepts.

What are the objectives of the module? 

  • Improve understanding of how the human body works from the perspectives of biology and physics;
  • Develop an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of science, and how science works;
  • Increase awareness of career opportunities related to science, and interdisciplinary science in particular;

Why teach this module?

The middle school curriculum provides a unique opportunity to engage in lessons that emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of science, given the focus on diverse topics. As a curriculum supplement, Physics of the Human Body may be used in conjunction with either life or physical science topics.

What’s in it for the teacher?

Physics of the Human Body can be a tool for teachers to support students in meeting the Missouri Grade Level Expectations for Science. As a curriculum supplement, lessons in the module can be used to address gaps in existing curricular materials or enrich teachers’ instruction. As an interdisciplinary module, Physics of the Human Body can be used in diverse ways and with flexibility according to teachers’ and students’ needs.