Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology

PSTL 1135
4 credits

Sponsoring U of M Academic Department: Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning

U of M Catalog Description

Fitness, disease, body systems such as muscular and cardiovascular systems. Cooperative learning groups, computer-enhanced learning, inquiry-based lab activities.

Additional Information

PSTL 1135 examines specific topics in human anatomy and physiology, including fitness and disease and body systems, such as the respiratory, muscular, and cardiovascular systems. Students engage in a wide range of learning tasks, such as Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL), cooperative quizzes, and many other endeavors that promote the social nature of knowledge, ie, group discussions. There is very little lecture in this course.

Teachers must be open to new ideas, and be risk-takers in terms of instructional strategies. We are moving to a “problem based” course. Students will be required to learn anatomy online, and we’ll focus more and more classroom time on problems in physiology. Our goal is to lecture as little as possible, thereby generating a classroom atmosphere in which students use inquiry to learn the concepts of human anatomy and physiology. To better understand the philosophical and pedagogical orientation of the course, prospective teachers of Human Anatomy and Physiology are asked to read several essays, written by the faculty coordinator.

This course is taught over an entire high school academic year.

Additional Credit Information

PSTL 1135:

  •     is a freshman-level introduction to human anatomy and physiology
  •     satisfies the U of M liberal education core requirement for a biological science with lab
  •     is not the first semester of a two-semester anatomy and physiology course

Student Qualification Requirements

Students enrolling in PSTL 1135 must be juniors or seniors in high school and have earned a B or better in a rigorous high school chemistry course.

Teacher Qualifications

Minimum Qualifications

Teachers interested in applying to teach PSTL 1135 must have adequate experience in the discipline, at least two years of coursework in the biomedical sciences, and must understand how to teach with Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) and cooperative learning pedagogies.

Educational Background

  • A minimum of two years of human anatomy- and physiology-related courses. Candidates must have at least two years of undergraduate biomedical science courses in anatomy and physiology, immunology, neurology, gross anatomy, comparative physiology, etc.

Teaching Experience

  • Taught human anatomy and physiology courses at the high school level, and taught advanced students (juniors and seniors)
  • Licensed in secondary biology/life sciences

Application and Interview Process

  • Contact faculty coordinator Murray Jensen to:
    a) Schedule a visit to one of his University classes to observe POGIL and cooperative learning pedagogies in practice
    b) Make arrangements to visit a current PSTL 1135 classroom in a high school
    c) Check your understanding of what is and what is not inquiry-based learning; you are encouraged to read Prof. Jensen's essays on the matter, and for further information, Teaching as a Subversive Activity by Neil Postman
  • Submit a complete CIS application. Forms and requirements may be found on the CIS website
    a) In an application cover letter, please address your interest in teaching the University course, and your understanding of and experience using cooperative quizzes and inquiry. All PSTL 1135 instructors must implement weekly cooperative quizzes
  • Complete applications are reviewed by the faculty coordinator; recommended applicants will be contacted by the CIS office to schedule an interview
  • Acceptance decisions will be made with the provision that new teachers participate in an official POGIL workshop before teaching PSTL 1135 through the University of Minnesota (this workshop has previously qualified for professional development funding through secondary schools)

School Responsibilities

  • Schools with teachers accepted to offer PSTL 1135 must meet all of the responsibilities related to offering a U of M course through CIS (see the School Partnership Agreement in the Teacher Applicant Handbook)
  • Schools must also agree to schedule the U course over one full academic year, provide adequate lab facilities, and provide release time for an accepted applicant to observe another CIS instructor/PSTL 1135 class during their first year


College in the Schools teachers are approved by the University of Minnesota academic department from which the course is offered. CIS teachers are typically lifelong learners, committed to staying current with both pedagogy and content through reading and ongoing professional development. They are energetic and committed to challenging both themselves and their students. CIS teachers value participation in a true community of learners.

At least a few years' experience at the site where they will teach the CIS course also is helpful for identifying students and managing administrative tasks.

Applicants should also be aware of the General Teacher Qualifications for all U of M CIS courses.

Other Considerations

This course is typically taught over an entire high school academic year.

Applications for teaching this course will ONLY be considered if you are applying to replace a current CIS teacher.

Class size limit: Capacity of lab


  • Visual Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology, Martini, F., Ober, W., Bartholomew, E., Nath, J. (2012), Benjamin Cummings, publisher, is recommended. ISBN-10:0321780779 | ISBN-13: 978-0321780775. (Cost was approximately $67 in 2013.) Teachers may use another text, if approved by the CIS faculty coordinator.
  • PSTL 1135 Lecture Study Guide by Murray Jensen (made available without cost to CIS teachers who choose to use it).

Lab handouts (made available without cost to CIS teachers who choose to use them).

Internet Usage

PSTL 1135 uses Moodle and several open internet sites and makes extensive use of Technology Enhanced Learning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the texts and readings specified or mandated by the University of Minnesota? If not, what are some of the choices?
CIS does not require schools to use the textbook used in PSTL 1135 on the University campus. CIS instructors may choose from a variety of the introductory anatomy and physiology texts offered by major publishing companies; the chosen text must, however, be approved by the faculty coordinator. Currently there are five to ten different texts to choose from. Instructors are not required to use either the lecture guide or lab handouts.

Do teachers have choice in assignments? Are there required assignments?
All schools are required to implement cooperative quizzes and use inquiry-based instructional methods.

Who creates the exams?
Individual teachers create their own exams.

Is there a training and mentoring system for Anatomy and Physiology teachers new to CIS?
Yes. When you begin teaching anatomy and physiology you will be joining a group of high school teachers who share ideas and materials with each other through e-mail and teacher workshops held in the summer and throughout the school year. New teachers also benefit from an orientation to College in the Schools that will familiarize them with the support available through CIS as well as prepare them for administrative tasks such as registering students and posting grades.

High school class schedules vary; can a teacher in the block system teach Anatomy and Physiology?
This course is taught over an entire high school academic year.

What happens at typical teacher workshops?
Typical activities at CIS workshops include meeting University faculty and hearing about their recent research in the discipline; reviewing and/or developing student assessment tools; sharing instructional materials; discussing particular content, pedagogy, or assessment of the University course; and receiving updates on CIS program policies and practices. Anatomy and physiology workshops focus especially on discussion of class assignments, development of new curriculum, and work with Technology Enhanced Learning.

Sample documents

High Schools Offering this Course

Academy of Sciences and Agriculture
Apple Valley High School
Bethlehem Academy
Como Park High School
Cretin-Derham Hall
Eagan High School
Eastview High School
Elk River High School
Faribault High School
Forest Lake High School
Hill-Murray High School
Hmong Academy
Hopkins High School
Johnson High School
Jordan High School
Lester Prairie High School
Mahtomedi High School
Minnehaha Academy
New Life Academy
New London-Spicer High School
Pine City High School
Plainview-Elgin-Millville High School
Rogers High School
Rosemount High School
Shakopee High School
St. Clair Public Schools
Stillwater Area High School
Tri-City United High School
Wabasha-Kellogg High School
Washington Technical Secondary Magnet
Watertown-Mayer High School
Wilmar Senior High School