Diagnosis for Classroom Success
by Nicole H. Maller

Price at time of review: $28.95
96 pp.
NSTA Press
Arlington, VA
ISBN: 9781936959525

Grade Level: 9-12

Reviewed by Adah Stock
Master Teacher and a Science Education Consultant

Every so often a classroom curriculum comes along that you want to try out on students because you know it would be a fun learning activity that really relates to student’s lives. The role–playing curriculum approach for this subject is a real draw for maintaining student interest. This curriculum, designed for high school students, can easily fit into a curriculum for anatomy and physiology or into a biology unit about the human body. Students learn about nine human body systems but more importantly they learn how they interact with each other to create a functioning human body.

In this program, small groups work as a team, attend and graduate medical school, sign the Hippocratic Oath, meet patients, run seven diagnostic laboratory tests, diagnose their patients, develop a prognosis, present a report in a PowerPoint, a PSA or a written format, and receive feedback from the evaluators. Students research several diseases while in medical school to "earn their white coats." Groups analyze the medical records (charts) of four imaginary patients, perform labs for urinalysis, analyze digestive by–products, analyze blood smears, do HIV tests, check lung capacity, analyze hormone tests, and do an imaginary, emergency organ harvesting when a fifth patient becomes a donor for other patients.

This volume comes in two parts. Part one is for the teacher. After a brief overview of this book the second chapter links the curriculum to the Framework for K–12 Science Education, the NGSS, as well as Common Core Standards. This is accomplished in Chapter 2 with a neatly presented chart. Chapter 3 is titled "Teacher Prep Made Easy" and provides a complete list in chart form of all materials needed to be purchased before implementing the activities. These materials mostly can be purchased at a grocery store and items are shaded in the chart if they are a one–time purchase. The supply chart identifies vendor, catalog number, cost, number to order, and total cost. This is great for preparing a budget.

Beginning with chapter 4, each section provides a guide for the ten units for this complete program. The first page of each unit starts with an overview broken into three sections: Before You Begin, During the Lesson, and After the Lesson. This is a pacing guide for the educator and follows the format of the book. This is followed by a task overview and then several pages of answer keys for each of the activities. Each chapter ends with a list of references. Part two of this volume is the complete students’ edition with all the handouts.

What is not to like about this volume and the curriculum? It provides students with real–life challenges about real–world problems. Students use high order thinking skills to solve a medical mystery of sorts. All the activities are student–centered and their success depends on their hard work and making connections. Topics within the curriculum are relevant to the students’ lives. The lessons, as the author states, fit into classes that are 45 minutes to 90 minutes.

Preparation for this curriculum is designed to reduce the amount of work an educator has to do. A student workbook can be purchased so a teacher would not have to spend their life at a copier. I highly recommend this book with its original approach to having students understand the workings of the human body.

Review posted on 6/13/2013

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