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Teaching medical terminology is a critical part of the health science career pathway. Complex terms and language undergird the science and practice of medicine, so it’s crucial that students memorize medical terms to earn their certifications and be successful in their future careers.
As a health science curriculum provider, we know that sometimes it can be hard to find the right projects to use in your classroom. After all, you want assignments that go in-depth with medical terminology concepts to ensure students have the opportunity to explore and understand every term they need to know.
In this article, you’ll find 3 of the best medical terminology project ideas for a high school CTE health science class:
Tissue Box Project for Med Terms from Ariel Wyatt
Medical Terminology Student Presentations
Medical Terminology Current Event Report
Along the way, you’ll learn how you can use one or more of these projects to boost your students' memorization and working knowledge of medical terminology.
1. Tissue Box Project for Med Terms from Ariel Wyatt
Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) is a digital educational marketplace where educators can buy, sell, and share lessons, projects, and other curricular materials. Ariel Wyatt is a Texas teacher offering resources through Teachers Pay Teachers.
One project Ariel Wyatt shares through TpT is her Tissue Box Project for Med Terms. This resource is a free, four-page assignment to help reinforce medical terminology for students in grades 10-12.
The focus of the Tissue Box Project is those often-tearjerking primetime television medical dramas. The fact is that in shows likes ER, Grey’s Anatomy, or The Good Doctor, scriptwriters often include realistic conditions and medical terminology to add credibility to each episode’s plotline.
This project directs students to view an episode of the medical drama of your (or their) choice, writing down as many medical terms as they encounter throughout the program. Then, they’ll have to look up and correctly spell and define each word they’ve heard during the show. With the average primetime TV episode lasting about 45 minutes, your students could be responsible for quite a few terms!
After finishing their terminology worksheet, the project tasks students to design and decorate a tissue box based on one of the main conditions or diseases discussed during the TV episode.
Designing the tissue box will require students to rely not only on their knowledge of medical terminology, but also their ability to creatively express key concepts in a way that reinforces what they’ve learned.
With Ariel Wyatt’s project, you’ll be able to assess students on both the content of their medical terminology worksheets and the quality of the tissue box project, giving you two potential assignments to gauge learners’ understanding.
2. Medical Terminology Student Presentations
Student presentations are another great option to introduce a project component into your med term lesson plans. When used effectively, class presentations can improve your students’ proficiency with the subject while developing practical workplace skills.
Presentations can take several forms, from rote lectures to decorated posterboards. But many students enjoy the creativity they can embrace when using a presentation platform such as Microsoft PowerPoint.
Since most high school students are already experienced with PowerPoint, simply assign them to research and create a presentation that incorporates medical terminology.
Choose the number of slides, terms, and other content requirements for the student presentations based on the particular needs of your class.
Set grading criteria that encourage students to explore terminology related to different body systems. By using terms from separate families, they’ll become more experienced with the variety of prefixes, suffixes, and word roots they’ll need to understand in health professions.
For example, you could have students specifically explore the roots, suffixes, and prefixes of 4-5 medical terms of their choice. Have them discover the root, where it comes from, and related words that include the same root.
For best results, have students present their PowerPoints in front of the class. Presenting will help students better understand the terminology they’ve researched, and others in the course will have the opportunity to hear and learn from their peers. This can sometimes be a refreshing change of pace from the typical lecture format!
When evaluating students’ success with the project, you can assess both the quality of their research and slides and the level of engagement in their presentations. Having the rest of the class fill out a form during presentations can give you a better idea of how effectively each presenter handled the task.
3. Medical Terminology Current Event Report
A third project choice is to have students create a current event report using medical terminology. Since newspapers, magazines, medical journals, and websites are full of interesting news stories, you could find plenty of opportunities to incorporate this idea into your curriculum.
Current event reports are useful because they help students understand and contextualize major movements in healthcare and often discuss medical terminology students need to know for exams and certifications.
For this reason, reports work best when students are using up-to-date information. Consider requiring students only to use articles published within the previous 30 days.
To complete the project, have students select an article from a newspaper, journal or magazine, or reputable internet source. They should include a copy of the article with their report.
Then, students should fill out a current event report form. This form could take one of several different shapes but generally should include these elements:
A bibliographic citation for the article in a standard style guide (such as MLA or Chicago)
A summary of the article's main points, including primary and supporting details
An analysis of the overall article
By using the same form with all of your medical terminology students, you’ll have room for comparison when evaluating the quality of each. You can assess the current events sheets based on how thoroughly learners completed their research and analysis, as well as each article’s relevancy to medical terminology.
When used right, current event reports can add some freshness and variety to other resources like medical terminology textbooks and teach advanced analytical skills.
Integrate a Medical Terminology Project Right Now
Finding the right medical terminology project for your class could be the difference between your students committing critical language to memory or forgetting the terms they need to know the most. If you’re looking for a free and effective project you can incorporate into your course, any of the medical terminology activities in this article could be a great place to start.
But sometimes, you might be looking for a med term project you can implement right away. In that case, a current event report is an exercise you can use today!
With the health science current event report activity, you’ll be able to reinforce your students’ knowledge of medical terminology while providing them with valuable research and critical thinking skills that will help them on certification tests and in the field.