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Anatomy and Physiology | Health Science

3 Best High School Anatomy and Physiology Curriculum Resources

December 9th, 2022 | 10 min. read

Mike Cescon

Mike Cescon

With past experience in teaching, a couple of degrees in writing, and an upbringing immersed in medical jargon, Mike is positioned well to hear out the most common questions teachers ask about the iCEV curriculum. His goal is to write content that quickly and effectively answers these questions so you can back to what matters - teaching your students.

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With how important a topic anatomy and physiology is, it’s no surprise you want to get off to a strong start when teaching it to your high schoolers. After all, if your students are looking at careers in healthcare, having a strong grasp of anatomy and physiology is essential to their success. 

But where do you start looking to find the right curriculum? What options are out there, and which would be best for your students?

As a health science curriculum developer, we’ve often heard such questions and more. In response, we’ve gathered together a list of some of the top resources that can form the core curriculum of an anatomy and physiology class

In this article, you’ll discover three of the best resources out there to teach anatomy and physiology to your high school students:

  1. NHA’s Anatomy & Physiology Course
  2. Anatomy, Physiology, & Disease, 3rd Edition
  3. Hole’s Human Anatomy & Physiology Textbook

By the end of this article, you’ll have a better sense of each of these resources so you can decide which would best serve as your primary curriculum resource.

1. NHA’s Anatomy & Physiology Course

The Value of NHA Certification | ACI | Medical & Dental School

The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) is a professional certification agency dedicated to helping aspiring healthcare workers learn the necessary knowledge to become certified in their chosen fields. 

To this end, NHA offers several courses and programs intended to train future healthcare workers in the skills they’ll need to do their jobs. 

One such program their Anatomy & Physiology Course, a comprehensive curriculum intended to be used as a textbook replacement. 

What Does This Curriculum Resource Look Like?

NHA’s Anatomy & Physiology Course is divided into 25 modules, each covering a specific topic within anatomy and physiology. These modules are: 

  1. Organization of the Human Body
  2. Chemistry, Matter, and Life
  3. Cells and Their Functions
  4. Tissues, Glands, and Membranes
  5. Disease and Disease-Producing Organisms
  6. Integumentary System
  7. Skeletal System
  8. Muscular System
  9. Nervous System: The Spinal Cord and Spinal Nerves
  10. Nervous System: The Brain and Cranial Nerves
  11. Sensory System
  12. Endocrine System: Glands and Hormones
  13. Blood
  14. The Heart and Heart Disease
  15. Blood Vessels and Blood Circulation
  16. Lymphatic System and Lymphoid Tissue
  17. Immunity
  18. Respiratory System
  19. Digestive System
  20. Metabolism, Nutrition, and Body Temperature
  21. Urinary System
  22. Body Fluids
  23. Male and Female Reproductive Systems
  24. Development and Birth
  25. Heredity and Heredity Diseases

As a textbook alternative, this course is designed to counter many of the common challenges that health science teachers experience when using textbooks, such as a lack of student engagement or retention. 

To address these issues, NHA included materials and systems intended to make things easier for teachers while also keeping students engaged. These include anatomy and physiology lesson plans, PowerPoints, interactive online activities, implementation guides, exams, and more. 

How Much Does This NHA Curriculum Resource Cost?

The general price range of NHA’s Anatomy & Physiology Course hovers around $65 per single student subscription.

Doing the math, for 25 student licenses, the price would come out to about $1,625. 

Depending on the needs of your class, this could be a solid, economical choice for you. However, a factor to consider is that oftentimes NHA licenses are tied to one student for one semester only, and cannot be recycled between semesters, reused, or shared. This may be the case for Anatomy & Physiology licenses, which could affect the amount you pay for a year’s worth of lessons. 

To find out the specifics of both pricing and the lifespan of Anatomy & Physiology licenses, consider contacting NHA directly so you can get a more accurate idea of whether their terms will fit your classroom.

Who Is NHA’s Intended Audience?

NHA’s Anatomy & Physiology Course is designed for students who need a foundational education on anatomy and physiology. 

While students typically take this type of course at the start of a post-secondary health science program, much of the course material is appropriate for high school students.

If you teach a foundational anatomy and physiology course, this curriculum will probably fit you well.

This is especially the case if you want to focus on student engagement and classroom interactivity in your course. 

2. Anatomy, Physiology, & Disease, 3rd Edition

Anatomy, Physiology, & Disease: An Interactive Journey for Health Professionals, 3rd Edition

Though there are pros and cons to using textbooks to form your core curriculum, when it comes to anatomy and physiology, it can’t be denied that there are some great textbook options out there. 

Anatomy, Physiology, & Disease, 3rd Edition is one such option, and works well as an introduction to anatomy and physiology for high schoolers.

This textbook is published by Pearson, and its authors are Bruce Colbert, Jeff Ankney, and Karen Lee--each an expert with years of experience in healthcare or health science.  As its title implies, this book focuses on foundational information about the human body and the diseases that may affect it.

What Does This Curriculum Resource Look Like?

Anatomy, Physiology, & Disease is organized into a narrative journey that walks students through each section of the body. This journey is divided into 19 chapters: 

  1. Anatomy, Physiology, and Disease: Learning the Language
  2. The Human Body: Reading the Map
  3. Biochemistry: The Basic Ingredients of Life
  4. The Cells: The Raw Materials and Building Blocks
  5. Tissues and Systems: The Inside Story
  6. The Skeletal System: The Framework
  7. The Muscular System: Movement for the Journey
  8. The Integumentary System: The Protective Covering
  9. The Nervous System: The Body’s Control Center
  10. The Endocrine System: The Body’s Other Control Center
  11. The Senses: The Sights and Sounds
  12. The Cardiovascular System: Transport and Supply
  13. The Respiratory System: It’s a Gas
  14. The Lymphatic and Immune Systems: Your Defense Systems
  15. The Gastrointestinal System: Fuel for the Trip
  16. The Urinary System: Filtration and Fluid Balance
  17. The Reproductive System: Replacement and Repair
  18. Basic Diagnostic Tests: What Do the Tests Tell Us?
  19. The Journey’s End: Now What?

Each chapter provides callout boxes that help students draw connections between the concepts they’re learning and how they might apply them in the healthcare workplace. 

Unlike many textbooks, Anatomy, Physiology, & Disease also places a focus on engaging students through the use of a conversational tone, real-world analogies, practice opportunities, and more in order to ensure students both pay attention and retain information.

How Much Does This Anatomy and Physiology Textbook Cost?

Anatomy, Physiology, & Disease costs $94 for a physical edition of the book. 

At this price, buying copies for a class of 25 students would cost about $2,350.

However, it’s important to remember that there are a few other variations of this textbook available as well--including several electronic versions--that are considerably less expensive. 

Check out the order information on the Pearson’s website for more pricing information on specific versions of the book. 

Who Is This Textbook's Intended Audience?

Anatomy, Physiology, & Disease was designed with future health professionals in mind. It focuses largely on introducing new students to the foundations of anatomy and physiology that they’ll need to achieve success. 

With its introductory focus and casual, humorous tone, this textbook would be a great fit for high school students, even if they don’t plan on pursuing future careers in the medical industry. 

If you teach a high school anatomy and physiology course and need an engaging, reliable textbook to form the core of your curriculum, this would be a solid choice for you. 

This is particularly the case if you want a portion of your class to focus on disease, since this book explicitly focuses on various ailments of the human body.

3. Hole’s Human Anatomy & Physiology, 16th Edition

With many editions published by McGraw Hill over the course of the last 40 years, Hole’s Human Anatomy & Physiology is another excellent choice of textbook to serve as the core of your curriculum. 

This textbook has a reputation for being one of the most reliable, comprehensive resources out there for teaching anatomy and physiology, which is why it’s been around as long as it has. It finds a balance between providing a well-rounded education for students, while simultaneously ensuring its content is accessible and understandable.

What Does This Curriculum Resource Look Like?

Hole’s Human Anatomy & Physiology is divided into 24 chapters, each of which cover a different structure or system within the human body:

  1. Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology
  2. Chemical Basis of Life
  3. Cells
  4. Cellular Metabolism
  5. Tissues
  6. Integumentary System
  7. Skeletal System
  8. Joints of the Skeletal System
  9. Muscular System
  10. Nervous System I: Basic Structure and Function
  11. Nervous System II: Divisions of the Nervous System
  12. Nervous System III: Senses
  13. Endocrine System
  14. Blood
  15. Cardiovascular System
  16. Lymphatic System and Immunity
  17. Digestive System
  18. Nutrition and Metabolism
  19. Respiratory System
  20. Urinary System
  21. Water, Electrolyte, and Acid-Base Balance
  22. Reproductive Systems
  23. Pregnancy, Growth, and Development
  24. Genetics and Genomes

Throughout these chapters, students will use the integrated “Learn, Practice, Assess” system to ensure they can successfully understand and apply the knowledge they learn. This system is divided into three steps:

  • Learn - Where students learn key concepts and mechanisms within the human body. 
  • Practice - Where students complete activities to help reinforce the information they’ve learned.
  • Assess - Where students complete a self-assessment to measure their understanding of the material.

How Much Does this Anatomy and Physiology Textbook Cost?

Hole’s Human Anatomy & Physiology, 16th Edition costs about $164 per physical edition of the book. 

For a class of 25 students, then, you’re looking to pay about $4,100 to supply each student with a copy. 

However, as with other textbooks, there are several different versions of this book available, including larger bundles and electronic editions, and this price may vary depending on the version you think would fit best in your class. 

Check out the ordering options page for more information on the various copies and their prices.

Who Is This Textbook's Intended Audience?

Being designed specifically for grades 9-12, Hole’s Human Anatomy & Physiology is perfect for high school elective and CTE courses.

This textbook is intended for students who have little prior knowledge of science, making it a great resource for an introductory anatomy and physiology class. 

If you prefer a tried-and-true, comprehensive textbook to serve as the core curriculum for your anatomy and physiology class, then Hole’s Human Anatomy & Physiology would likely be a great fit for you.

Which Anatomy and Physiology Curriculum Is Right for You?

In this article, you’ve discovered some of the best resources out there for giving your high schoolers that solid understanding of anatomy and physiology that they need. Between textbooks and online curriculum systems, you have many options to choose from to find the best fit for your classroom. 

However, if you’re like most health science teachers, you teach more than just anatomy and physiology--you might also teach introduction to health science, medical assisting, nurse assisting, and others. And while an anatomy and physiology curriculum on its own sounds great, it won’t help you with these other essential classes. 

If you need an all-in-one curriculum resource that will help you teach almost every course across your program, then consider iCEV.

iCEV is a comprehensive curriculum that provides enough material for both a year-long anatomy and physiology course and many other courses, including introduction to health science, medical assisting, and more.

Wondering if iCEV is a good fit for you? Visit the Anatomy and Physiology course page to learn more:

Discover the iCEV Anatomy & Physiology Course