Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Click and Learn from HHMI

As part of our preparation for Healthy Cowboy Challenge,  we have discussed the heart, coronary vessels, and the effects of adipose on the heart.  We will also discuss the insulin blocking action of adipose when we get to nutrition and digestion in a few weeks. 

Before we begin to measure our clients weekly, I want students to understand how a persons body fat percentage is determined.  I found an app developed by the Howard Hughes Medical Institution called Click and Learn that has GREAT interactive tutorials with higher level thinking questions embedded. The one called "Measuring Obesity" shows the different methods of body fat measurement and has the students develop opinions of the pros and cons of each. 

I will have the students work through the tutorial and form an opinion on the best method, if any, to use to measure our clients body fat percentage for our Health Challenge.  This will help the student when they are working with their client to determine if body fat measurement is something they wish to record over the 12 week project.

Healthy Cowboy Challenge

We are starting our semester project in the next few weeks.  The Healthy Cowboy Challenge has students in charge of creating a healthy lifestyle for teacher on our campus. Students work in teams of 4-5 with one teacher/educator/administrator who volunteered to participate. Students find a community partner in the medical field to mentor them and provide guidance throughout the entire process.  Some groups find personal trainers, dieticians, and other professionals to help give advice as well.  Some students skyped with their professional contact during class, while others met outside of class.  Some professionals actually came to class and met with the teams a few times during the project. 

Students monitor the clients blood pressure, weight, hydration level, measurements, flexibility, and BMI for 12 weeks.  Each Friday, the clients come to class for their weigh in and meet with their team.  The team provides them with one weeks worth of a healthy menu and a work out program that is designed to meet the clients needs. Students develop incentives and provide motivation to their client each week. 

This project covers a large number of my objectives for the year, but many other topics come up along the way.  We start with the muscular system and effective methods of exercise.  Next is the cardiovascular system and how obesity and sedentary lifestyles alter heart function.  Digestion and nutrition are a huge portion of this project as well.  It is easy to tie in multiple objectives.  

As for the technology involved... we use the iPads to monitor the vitals with digital blood pressure cuffs.  We use a Google spreadsheet to keep track of all the data each week.  The document is shared with me, the group members, and the client so they can see their progress.   Clients track their food and exercise intake with My Fitness Pal app and they can 'friend' their group so the students can analyze diets each week and provide suggestions for improvement. We had groups do various things to maintain communication with their client throughout the week - from developing Pinterest boards of healthy recipes to creating a blog to journal, students were very creative and I left it entirely up to them.  Grading this wasn't so easy, but definitely worth it.

Here is a video of our results from last year.  This year we have 28 teachers signed up ready to start in about two weeks! 

iTunesU and Infuse Learning

While working on my iTunesU Anatomy course, I came across a great online science text.  I am not usually a fan of textbooks, digital or hardcover, but this one was kind of cool. E. O. Wilson's Life on Earth was only $1.99 and had an entire section on the human body.  The animations, specifically of the heart were some of the best I have seen. 

I used Infuse Learning to create a few short quizzes over content I want them to understand from this book. They don't have an app that I could find so I just have my first period class type in the link to their website in Safari and have them create the shortcut.  It makes it much faster for the other classes :)

What I loved about Infuse Learning is how easy it is to set up, access, and use in class.  I also love that you can share with other teachers.  You have the option of importing pictures too, which I use often. 

*side note - My iTunesU course is a test right now.  I am trying to see how it works and if its worthwhile to put all my information into one spot for students.  I am about start the unit on the Cardiovascular System so that is the only one with much content at this time. It's a work in progress :)