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Physiology and Anatomy


Physiology is the study of how our cells, muscles and organs work. It looks at living mechanisms – from the molecular basis of cells to the integrated behavior of the entire body.

“Physiology” comes from the Ancient Greek physis, which means “nature, origin”, and logia, which means “study of”.

Physiology Art Deco

Anatomy is the identification of the structures of living things…. it can be divided into three broad areas: human anatomy, animal anatomy, and phytotomy (plant anatomy). The word anatomy comes from the Greek ana– meaning “up”, and tome– meaning “a cutting”.

Human compared to elephant frame.

Anatomical chart by Vesalius, Epitome, 1543



Blood and blood types

Breathing Lungs Respiration

Circulatory system

Digestive system and Digestion worksheets

Endocrine system

Excretion (incl. kidneys and our skin)

Homeostasis and feedback loops

Immune system and Diseases and pathogens



Muscles and skeleton

Reproduction in humans and embryogenesis

Sex and human gender

Nerves and the brain

Nerves/Neurons, myelin insulation, the synapse and neurotransmitters

The Brain, brain plasticity, CNS and PNS


Myths about the human brain

Nerves: Honors Bio

Cortical homunculus

Michelangelo’s Secret Message: A Juxtaposition of God and the Human Brain

How does the brain think? Textbook chapter

Nerves and evolution: laryngeal nerves

Did neurons evolve twice?


Honors Topics: Diseases and pathogens


Protein folding diseases

Neuroscientists say that addiction is not a disease


Advanced topics

Interstitium: Discovery of a new organ in 2018

Sample questions

Feb 2016 MCAS

Secretions from the pancreas contain compounds called lipases. Lipases increase the rate of digestion of lipids. Lipases are an example of which of the
A. enzymes .     B. hormones .     C. nucleic acids .     D. simple sugars

Learning Standards

College Board Science Standards

LSM-PE.1.1.3 Observe the anatomical structures of a variety of organisms, and describe the similarities and differences among them. Organize the organisms into groups based on their similarities and differences.

LSH-PE.2.1.1 Describe the structure and function of at least one organ located in a plant and the analogous organ located in an animal (e.g., organs used for food storage, movement, reproduction, etc.). Description includes the types of cells, the structure of these cells, and the processes they perform to support the function of both the organ and the organism as a whole.

LSH-PE.2.1.3 Describe, using information gathered from print and electronic resources, the structure and function of at least two organs that are part of a human body system (e.g., circulatory, digestive, gas exchange). Description includes how the two organs differ regarding the types of cells that make up each organ. Explain, using knowledge of systems of cells, how the cells and organs coordinate and contribute to the overall essential functions of the organism.

Hormones, Feedback/Homeostasis, Nerves

LSH-PE.5.5.1 Construct a model that represents the molecular communication that takes place between cells that are in direct cell-to-cell contact, and a model that represents the molecular communication among cells in which molecules are released from one cell and target other cells in the vicinity of the emitting cell (e.g., neurotransmitters, local hormones, growth factors).

LSH-PE.5.5.2 Construct a model to describe the communication between distant cells (e.g., hormones, pheromones, chemotaxis) and the process by which molecular communication between distant cells leads to particular outcomes.

LSH-PE.5.5.4 Construct a simple representation of a feedback mechanism that maintains the internal conditions of a living system within certain limits as the external conditions change. Describe, using the representation, the response of the system to some particular system imbalance (e.g., lack of water causing stomata to contract).

LSH-PE.5.5.5 Construct a representation of the interaction of the endocrine and nervous systems (e.g., hormones and electrochemical impulses) as they interact with other body systems to respond to a change in the environment (e.g., touching a hot stove). Explain how the representation is like and unlike the phenomenon it is representing.


Objective LS.2.3: Cell Growth and Repair

Normal progression through the cell cycle and readiness to initiate reproduction are constantly evaluated at check points Normal progression through the cell cycle and readiness to initiate reproduction are constantly evaluated at check points throughout the cell cycle; abnormal or damaged cells are targeted for repair or for intentional destruction (apoptosis). Malfunctions in the check point feedback system may allow defective cells to continue cycling and the number of abnormal or damaged cells to proliferate, resulting in cancer.

Sex chromosomes and gender

LSH-PE.5.2.1 Estimate and justify how many variations are possible in the set of chromosomes (DNA molecules) that the sex cells of a particular organism (e.g., mosquito, fruit fly or other organism with a low number of chromosomes) receive during sex cell formation. Construct a model that includes a label for each chromosome and that illustrates some of the possible combinations of chromosomes that will be present in the sex cells that are produced.

2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework

HS-LS1-2. Develop and use a model to illustrate the key functions of animal body systems: Emphasis is on the primary function of the following body systems (and structures): digestive (mouth, stomach, small intestine [villi], large intestine, pancreas), respiratory (lungs, alveoli, diaphragm), circulatory (heart, veins, arteries, capillaries), excretory (kidneys, liver, skin), and nervous (neurons, brain, spinal cord).

MCAS Close reading anatomy and physiology – Google Docs

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