Robert Thollander

Teacher - Secondary School

Chicago, IL

Interests: Education policy,Brain...

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Syllbus for Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy & Physiology Course Syllabus

Collins Academy High School




Instructor:        Mr. Robert Thollander Jr.

Room:                        234

Phone:            773-571-0166


Course Description:

The course, Anatomy & Physiology, is aimed at providing students with an overview of the anatomy of living things while challenging them to employ critical thinking skills in order to relate prior scientific knowledge to the concepts learned in class.  They will be pushed to develop new knowledge by analyzing course information and applying the information learned to their individual interests. 

 At the start of the course, students’ prior knowledge will be assessed and the first unit is designed to ensure a strong foundational understanding of the sciences that inform anatomy.  They will review the tenets of biology, chemistry, and environmental science, among other sciences, in order to prepare them for the study of Human Anatomy.  Students will be asked to demonstrate an understanding of plant and animal adaptations, and systems of the human body, as well as examine the ways that scientists draw from the natural world in order to address human problems.  Learning opportunities will focus on reading, class discussions, analytical writing, conceptual diagrams, and experiments.  Students will be assessed through Socratic seminars, written responses to in-class discussions and readings, and diagrams and illustrations demonstrating their understanding of the course subject matter.

During next part of the course, students will be challenged to engage more deeply in class discussions and debates.  They will be strongly encouraged to share their knowledge and understanding of complex scientific concepts and to demonstrate critical and analytical thinking skills through writing assignments, discussions, and short presentations.  Students will be asked to draw connections between abstract concepts, support their ideas with data and evidence, summarize scientific knowledge and present this information to their peers, and begin researching topics for their final projects.  Assessment will take place through a challenging written-response exam, in-class discussion, and presentations, written responses to readings, and conceptual diagrams. 

Students will begin their final projects during third and final part of the course.  The open-ended nature of the project will challenge students to conduct independent research, critically examine sources, analyze data, and draw connections.  Students will be asked to choose a topic for their final project that will integrate a personal interest (such as cancer prevention or HIV/AIDS awareness) with their knowledge of anatomy.  They will be required to conduct research, employ scholarly sources such as journal articles, and present their findings to their instructors and peers.  At the onset of the research process, students will individually with the instructor to outline the topic of their presentation, develop guiding research questions, and set goals for their project. 

Students will spend a great deal of time during the forth quarter researching and preparing for their final projects.  In addition, they will be tasked with additional readings, writing assignments, and short in-class presentations.  Students will be expected to understand scientific concepts, but will also be pushed to draw connections between abstract subjects, present and support their ideas with confidence, and apply knowledge of the sciences to everyday life as well as complex social problems. 

By the end of the course, students will demonstrate a deep understanding of the role of the sciences in society, the ability to consider ethical issues in the sciences, and the maturity to measure the risks and benefits of scientific advancements.  The course expectations are set from the beginning so that, as a group, these young people will show a deep sense of caring for other human beings and an intuitively sensitive and curious consideration for the diverse perspectives of the many people involved in any scientific endeavor taken in our society. 


Instructional Strategies:

This course strives to give students with diverse learning styles multiple opportunities to access and demonstrate mastery of the material.  Specific strategies include open answer tests (ie short answer), flexible groups, research projects, tiered assignments, creative projects, student-driven discussions, student-interest based teaching, in-class structured work time, primary document analysis, among others.

Students in this course will be intentionally given freedom to make informed choices about how to express their knowledge through creative thought, experiments, and debates.  Their observations of the world around them will be respected and valued.  Subsequently, students’ ideas will be molded and shaped to become tools to be used to understand how the world works independently of existing knowledge.  Most assignments will provide an opportunity for each student to make mistakes, evaluate their own progress, correct their mistakes, and engage with the process of learning in an encouraging and fun environment. 

Students will be challenged to accept that they might not have all of the answers and will be given guidance on how to appropriately use available resources to develop informed opinions and theories on how our universe functions.  They will take on the role of politicians, economists, scientists, religious leaders, and news anchors in order to develop a full picture of the participants and stakeholders of real world scientific research.  Students will be challenged to work both independently and collaboratively to demonstrate complex concepts.  They will also work collaboratively to combine fragments of information into sophisticated and complex ideas. 

Examples of Essential Questions that Seniors Should Be Able to Answer

Upon completion of the course, students should be able to answer the following essential questions:


How do genes, cells, organs, and systems work in concert to keep the body working correctly?

What happens when there is a malfunction at one of the above levels?

How do researchers design studies to learn about how the body works? What questions do they ask?

How do medical professionals translate research study results into the medical practice?

What careers are available in the sciences? How do you get there from here?

How does society decide what types of research and treatments are ethical?

How can you be an informed consumer of medical information and practices?

Is “skill” and “ability” inherited or a consequence of environmental factors?

How does a basic knowledge of chemistry help you explain biological processes?

How does DNA code for the continuation of species?

How does variation in organisms lead to change over time?

How do humans contribute to the biosphere?

Objectives and Outcomes of a Senior Science Course:

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:


  1. Understand the role of molecules and macromolecules in cellular function,
  2. Understand the connection between human disease and cell biology, genetics, and biochemistry,
  3. Understand that passing on of genes ensures the continuity of species,
  4. Understand that genetic variation is necessary for natural selection,
  5. Understand that ecosystems include the interactions of all living components and non-living components must be balanced,
  6. Find and use reliable Internet sources for research purposes,
  7. Successfully employ a variety of study skills,
  8. Exhibit mastery of biological skills and principles,
  9. Ask questions (for science) and define problems (for engineering),
  10. Use the scientific method to perform experiments and write a comprehensive, analytical lab report,
  11. Read, analyze, and summarize scientific literature,
  12. Use statistical concepts to draw both inferences and conclusions from data,
  13. Synthesize knowledge of the many branches of science and apply to the creation of potential solutions to human problems,  
  14. Apply knowledge to new examples, think critically, and synthesize potential mechanisms, studies, and treatments that will solve problems of science, the environment, and society,
  15. Develop and use models including mathematical computational thinking and computer technology,
  16. and Obtain, evaluate, and effectively communicate information while respectfully engaging in argument from evidence. 

Specific Objectives and Outcomes of Anatomy & Physiology:

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to (correctly perform 50 out of 71):

Note: These are directly from pre-nursing and pre-pharmacy, and pre-med entrance exams.


  1. Compare the structure and function of different types of biomolecules:
    1. Lipids:   fats (neutral fats or triglycerides), cholesterol (steroids).
    2. Nucleic acids:  nucleotides, DNA, RNA
    3. Define:
      1. Enzyme
      2. Substrates
      3. Molecules-polar vs. nonpolar
      4. Atoms
      5. Electrolytes
      6. Solvents
      7. Solutions
      8. Solutes
      9. Discuss enzymes function on the human body.
      10. Describe the structure and function of the parts of eukaryotic cells: plasma membrane, cytoplasm, nucleus, mitochondria, ribosomes, endoplasmic reticulum (smooth and rough), Golgi apparatus, lysosomes, cytoskeleton (actin fibers, microtubules, intermediate fibers), centrioles, cilia, flagella
      11. Define and describe cellular processes:
        1. Homeostasis-role of feedback mechanisms in maintaining homeostasis
        2. Transport mechanisms-diffusion, osmosis (including the concept of tonicity, the effects of isotonic, hypotonic and hypertonic solutions on cell volume), facilitated diffusion, active transport (solute pumps, endocytosis, exocytosis)
        3. Describe the phases and general events of the cell cycle (G1, S, G2, and M.  Note: the M phase includes mitosis and cytokinesis).
        4. Describe the levels of organization in multicellular organisms (chemical, cellular, tissue, organ, organ system, organism).
        5. Describe the overall functions of these systems:  circulatory (blood and cardiovascular), digestive, nervous, endocrine, reproductive, integumentary, skeletal, respiratory, muscular, urinary, and immune (lymphatic).
        6. Define hierarchy of organization and relationship between levels:  atoms, molecules, cells, tissues, organs, organ system, and organism.
        7. Define and be able to use the terms of body orientation and position:
          1. Superior/inferior
          2. Anterior/posterior
          3. Medial/lateral
          4. Dorsal/ventral
          5. Proximal/distal
          6. Superficial/deep
          7. Caudal
          8. Define common chemical symbols:  O, C, H, N, Ca, K, Na, Cl
          9. Define pH, acidic, basic, neutral
          10. Define resting membrane potential and Na+ and K+ association.
          11. Explain the difference between sudoriferous glands:  apocrine and eccrine
          12. Explain the function of types of muscle tissue (skeletal, cardiac, smooth) upon stimulation.
          13. Define the neuromuscular junction and its association with skeletal muscles.
          14. Discuss actin, myosin, and sarcomere function with the anatomy of skeletal muscle fibers.
          15. Discuss the organization of the nervous system.
          16. Define function or a neuron, gap function, and synapse.
          17. Define neurotransmitter.
          18. Identify neurotransmitters.
          19. Discuss what neurotransmitter is released pre- and pat-synaptically from each nerve fiber in the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems.
          20. Discuss an action potential.
          21. Discuss a myocardial action potential.
          22. Define the function of each cranial nerve.
          23. Identify the number of cranial and spinal nerves.
          24. Explain the differences between sensory, motor, and mixed nerves.
          25. Discuss motor output: somatic vs. autonomic structures-structure, effector organs, and afferent and efferent nerves.
          26. Discuss the divisions of ANS: Compare and contrast the structure and functions of the sympathetic nervous system
          27. Compare and contrast the structure and functions of the parasympathetic nervous system.
          28. Explain the effects of each division of the ANS on major organs (heart, blood vessels, stomach, eye, and urinary bladder).
          29. Define anatomy and function of the neuroglial cells, gray and white matter, and the meninges.
          30. Identify the location, basic structure, hormones produced and general function of the hormones secreted by each gland:
            1. Hypothalamus
            2. Pituitary gland
            3. Thyroid gland
            4. Parathyroid glands
            5. Adrenal gland (by general classes)
            6. Pancreatic islets
            7. Discuss the anatomical and functional relationship of the hypothalamus and the anterior pituitary.
            8. Discuss the anatomical and functional relationship of hypothalamus and posterior pituitary.
            9. Define function of ADH and aldosterone in relationship with the nephron.
            10. Discuss the role of tropic hormones in controlling other endocrine glands.
            11. Discuss the flow of air through the respiratory system.
            12. Define erythrocytes, leukocytes, and platelets (including granulocytes and agranulocytes).
            13. Discuss functions of erythrocytes, leukocytes, and platelets.
            14. Define the different types of immunity and give examples.
            15. Discuss the pathway of blood flow through the heart.
            16. Define the anatomy and function of the heart.
            17. Discuss the pacemaker of the heart and how this relates to the heart conduction system.
            18. Explain the myocardial action potential and how this relates to cardiac contraction.
            19. Explain the conduction system.
            20. Review the EKG, and each of its deflections.
            21. Review cardiac cycle and heart sounds of the heart.
            22. Define cardiac output, stroke volume, and heart rate.
            23. Explain the relationship between cardiac output, stroke volume, and heart rate.
            24. Explain Starling’s Law of the Heart.
            25. Discuss the histology of blood vessels.
            26. Describe the vasomotor control and differential distributions of blood flow.
            27. Discuss pulmonary circulation and how it relates to major arteries and veins.
            28. Discuss systemic circulation: major arteries and veins; circle of Willis, hepatic portal system
            29. Define and identify these structures:
              1. Atria-right and left
              2. Ventricles-right and left
              3. Heart wall: epicardium, myocardium, endocardium
              4. Interventricular septum
              5. Apex
              6. Discuss the lymphatic vessels and concept of lymphatic drainage area.
              7. Define lymph nodes and other lymphoid organs:  structure, function (tonsils, spleen, lymph node, thymus gland), and location.
              8. Discuss veins and arteries with oxygen and deoxygenated blood.
              9. Discuss function of coronary arteries.
              10. Discuss the relationship of pulmonary capillaries and alveoli.
              11. Describe the GI tract:  structure and functions of organs and accessory organs.
              12. Review the digestive processes and where food absorption mainly occurs.
              13. Describe the function of digestive enzymes.
              14. Describe preload, afterload, cardiac output, and stroke volume.
              15. Describe the parts of the nephron and the sequence of the structure.
              16. Review the overview of urine production: filtration, reabsorption, and secretion.
              17. Discuss the negative feedback mechanism associated with hormones.
              18. Define purpose of renin-angiotensin mechanism and role of ACE.
              19. Discuss overview of hormonal regulation of male reproduction.
              20. Discuss overview of ovarian and uterine cycle including hormonal regulation.





Senior Anatomy & Physiology will also be structured around the Illinois Common Core Standards and College Readiness Standards listed bellow.


Common Core Standards:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

a)    CCSS Reading Standard 1  (RI.11-12.1.):  Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

b)    CCSS Reading Standard 1  (RI.11-12.1.):  Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

c)     CCSS Writing Standard 1 (WHST.11-12.1.):  Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.  

  • Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences the claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
  • Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
  • Use words, phrases, and clauses as well as varied syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.
  • Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
  • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from or supports the argument presented.

d)    CCSS Writing Standard 9  (WHST.11-12.9.):  Draw evidence from informational text to support analysis, reflection, and research.

e)    CCSS Science and Technical Standard 1:  Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account. 

f)      CCSS Science and Technical Standard 2:  Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms. 

g)    CCSS Science and Technical Standard 5:  Analyze how the text structures information or ideas into categories or hierarchies, demonstrating understanding of the information or ideas.  



College Readiness Standards:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

a)    IOD.24-27.i:   Compare or combine data from two or more simple data presentations (e.g., categorize data from a table using a scale from another table).

b)    IOD.24-27.ii:   Compare or combine data from a complex data presentation.

c)     IOD.24-27.iii:   Interpolate between data points in a table or graph.

d)    IOD.24-27.iv:   Determine how the value of one variable changes as the value of another variable changes in a complex data presentation.

e)    IOD.24-27.v:   Identify and/or use a simple (e.g., linear) mathematical relationship between data.

f)   Analyze given information when presented with new, simple information.

g)    IOD.28-32.i:   Compare or combine data from a simple data presentation with data from a complex data presentation.

h)    IOD.28-32.iii:   Extrapolate from data points in a table or graph.

i)      IOD.33-36.ii:  Analyze given information when presented with new, complex information.

j)      SI.24-27.i: Understand the methods and tools used in a complex experiment.

k)     SI.24-27.ii: Understand a complex experimental design.

l)      SI.24-27.iii: Predict the results of an additional trial or measurement in an experiment.

m)   SI.24-27.iv: Determine the experimental conditions that would produce specified results.

n)    SI.28-32.i: Determine the hypothesis for an experiment.

o)    SI.28-32.ii: Identify an alternate method for testing a hypothesis.

p)    SI.33-36.iii:  Identify an additional trial or experiment that could be performed to enhance or evaluate experimental results.

q)    EMIER.24-27.i:  Select a simple hypothesis, prediction, or conclusion that is supported by two or more data presentations or models.

r)      EMIER.24-27.ii:  Determine whether given information supports or contradicts a simple hypothesis or conclusion, and why.

s)    EMIER.24-27.iii:  Identify strengths and weaknesses in one or more models.

t)      EMIER.24-27.iv:  Identify similarities and differences between models.

u)    EMIER.24-27.v:  Determine which model(s) is (are) supported or weakened by new information.

v)  Select a data presentation or a model that supports or contradicts a hypothesis, prediction, or conclusion.

w)   EMIER.28-32.i:  Select a complex hypothesis, prediction, or conclusion that is supported by a data presentation or model.

x)    EMIER.28-32.ii:  Determine whether new information supports or weakens a model, and why.

y)    EMIER.28-32.iii:  Use new information to make a prediction based on a model.

z)    EMIER.33-36.i:  Select a complex hypothesis, prediction, or conclusion that is supported by two or more data presentations or models.

Instructional Resources and Materials:

Our primary resource will be Human Biology written by Sylvia Mader.  We will also be using several fiction and nonfiction texts, including but not limited to, Julie of the Wolves, Science World, Ishmael, A Reason for Hope, The Story of B, and The Nature of Life.  In addition, we will use a variety of supplemental materials including articles, handouts, movie clips, Internet resources, and excerpts from non-fiction books and/or novels.  Students will receive supplemental materials on a regular basis and are responsible for reading and organizing them in their class binders.

Student Text Resources Examples

Human Biology

Science World

Julie of the Wolves


A Reason for Hope

The Story of B

The Nature of Life


Internet Resources Examples

Discovery News. Web.  July 2012. <>.

TED: Ideas worth Spreading. Web. July 13 2012. <>.

Popular Science. Web. July 2012. <>.

Science News - NASA Science.  Web. July 2012. <>.

Science News - The New York Times.  Web.  July 2012. <>.

Human Biology Online Learning Center @

Media Resources

Aftermath: World Without Oil. Prod. Rob Minkoff. National Geographic Channel, 2010. YouTube.

Alien Planet. Dir. Pierre Pierre De Lespinois. Discovery Channel, 2005. YouTube.

Freakonomics. Perf. Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. 2010. Netflix.

The Invention of Dr. Nakamats. Dir. Kaspar A. Schröder. Perf. Yoshiro Nakamats. 2009. Netflix.

Microcosmos: Le Peuple De L'herbe. Dir. Claude Nuridsany and Marie Pérennou.Galatee Films, 1996. Netflix.

Quiet Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment. Dir. Ken Musen. By Phillip Zimbardo. 1992. YouTube.

Richard Dawkins Interviews Creationist Wendy Wright. The Uncut Interviews, 2008. YouTube.

Field Trips and Exhibits


Guest Speakers and Workshops


Required Student Materials and Supplies:

The following materials and supplies will be needed daily:

  • Human Anatomy Textbook
  • One soft plastic three ring binder with dividers
  • One pocket folder
  • Loose leaf paper
  • Highlighters
  • Ink pens and pencils (bring both each day)
  • Sticky notes

Note:  Students in Mr. Thollander’s Senior Anatomy class should also purchase a flash drive for saving important documents, assignments, and projects.

Student Assessment:


The pre-test is designed to gauge students’ understanding of basic biology, chemistry, and physics principles as well as their ability to analyze, think critically, and express their thoughts in writing.

Projects, Presentations, and Debates (S)


Quizzes, Tests, and Essays (S)


In-Class Daily Assignments and Out-of-Class Daily Assignments (Homework) (F)


Daily Participation and Whole Class Group Collaboration (F)


Dissections, Experiments, and Models (S)


Final Project (S)


Breakdown of Final Grade

Summative and Formative Assessment Examples

  • A written assignment requiring students to find and cite scholarly articles on specific topics.  
  • Formal and informal debates regarding ethics in scientific research. 
  • A written summary of their out-of-class research and presentation preparation. 
  • A research-based presentation relating Anatomy to phenomena of interest.
  • A written piece offering an explanation of the history or earth and evolution that demonstrates both creativity and an understanding of scientific theory.
  • In-class presentations and homework assignments employing use of charts, graphs, diagrams, and symbols to illustrate scientific concepts.
  • In-class debates and written assignments regarding the theory of evolution, the complex brain, the role of anthropocentrism in our society, and the debate of nature vs. nurture in athletic and academic ability as viewed through a modern filter of Social Darwinism.
  • An open response written-exam requiring the application of all course content learned.
  • In-class presentations, debates, writings, readings, and homework assignments employing use of advanced information mapping and delivery.
  • A written proposal for each student’s final project that outlines their purpose, research questions, methods, course content, and sources. 
  • Self-evaluation and peer review of all in-class assignments, homework, and final project presentation. 


The final exam will test the depth of students’ understanding of the material presented and experienced over the year of the course.  It will ask students think critically and apply their knowledge to solve new problems.

Expectations and Rules:

All students will be required to adhere to the Collins Non-Negotiables and the CPS Code of Conduct.

In addition, students are expected to:

  • Respect self and others
  • Arrive on time
  • Come prepared with materials
  • Maintain a respectful, positive, and scholarly attitude
  • Follow directives
  • Use appropriate language
  • Keep the environment clean
  • Return borrowed materials

Food, candy, gum and pop are not permitted in the classroom anytime.  Feel free to bring water in a plastic bottle, and please try to place paper and plastic items in the recycle bins by the door.

Scope and Sequence:


The year will be divided into weekly ‘units’.  Students will be tested on their mastery of the objectives of the weekly units at the end of each week.   

Quarter 1:

Week 1:  Introduction

Week 2:  The Brain and Intro to Bioethics

Week 3:  Earthworm and Grasshopper Dissections

Week 4:  Cow Eye, Sheep Eye, and Sheep Brain Dissections

Week 5:  Dogfish and Necturus Dissections

Week 6:  Rat Dissections

Week 7:  Fetal Pig Dissections

Week 8:  Dissection Finals

Week 9: Primary Source Research: Bioethics


Quarter 2:

Week 1:  The Reproductive System

Week 2: The Respiratory System

Week 3: Digestive System

Week 4: The Immune System

Week 5: Advances in Modern Medicine

Week 6: Human Anatomical Evolution

Week 7: Human Cultural Evolution

Week 8: The Current State of Planet Earth

Week 9: Primary Source Research: Innovation, Conservation, and Sustainability


Quarter 3:

Week 1:  Developmental Biology

Week 2:  Comparative Anatomy

Week 3:  Biochemistry

Week 4:  Physiology

Week 5:  Biomedicine

Week 6:  Bioethics

Week 7:  Neurology

Week 8:  Psychology

Week 9:  Primary Source Research:  The Philosophy of Medicine and Science

Quarter 4:

Week 1:  Essential Question Development

Week 2:  Primary Source Research

Week 3:  Materials, Methods, and Procedure

Week 4:  Project Proposal Due

Week 5:  Research and Collection of Data

Week 6:  Research/Data Analysis

Week 7:  Rough Draft Due

Week 8:  Peer Review, Final Revisions, and Preparation

Week 9:  Final Presentations



Contact Information

Mr. Thollander can best be reached by email at .

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