A heart anatomy lesson with a digital pulse.

Watch the lesson come to life

Jodie Deinhammer, a science teacher in Coppell, Texas, has always used innovative methods to teach her Anatomy and Physiology class. Using iPad, iTunes U, digital textbooks, and a suite of apps, she’s discovered amazing new ways to help her students understand and demonstrate the complexity of the human heart.

“The heart unit is important because kids need to know how to take care of themselves and live a healthy life. Heart disease is a huge problem, and it’s something they don’t know a lot about.”

Jodie Deinhammer, Science Teacher, Coppell Independent School District, Texas

Introduce the topic.

Digital textbooks and sketching apps quicken the pulse of learning.

Before iPad, some of Jodie’s students struggled to understand the anatomy and complexities of blood flow through the heart muscle. But with iBooks textbooks and creativity tools on iPad, the details become captivatingly clear.

“With the heart unit, there are lots of great visualizations I could never provide before. Now students can just click on them on iPad, and it makes the learning more concrete, so it sticks with them.”

Build student understanding.

The experimentation begins, with iPad at the heart of lab activities.

Once Jodie’s students have a foundational understanding of the heart’s anatomy, they rotate through a series of lab stations where they experiment, observe, and dissect, using iPad to support each activity.

Heart Model Lab Station

Photo Editor by Aviary

Identifying parts of the heart.

Students manipulate a model heart to get hands-on with its components. They take photographs and label structures using the iPad camera and the app Photo Editor by Aviary. This activity helps students build their memory of the heart’s anatomy and documents the parts for later reference and study.

Histology Lab Station

MotiConnect & Notability

A closer look at arteries and veins.

Students connect their iPad to a microscope using the MotiConnect app and a Moticam digital microscope camera to examine slides of various cardiovascular tissues. They examine healthy and unhealthy arteries and veins, and learn to identify them. Students then pull the photos into the Notability app and hand label all of the parts. Labeling the images provides a visual learning tool that students can take with them to study later.

BioDigital Human

Viewing arteries in 3D.

To supplement the view of the cells, students review normal blood flow through a healthy artery and vein and view a clogged artery using the BioDigital Human app. They discuss how this happens and think about the factors that cause the heart to malfunction.

Heart Rate Lab Station

SPARKvue & The Human Body Lite by Tinybop

Correlating heart rate with health.

At the heart rate station, students learn how heart rate correlates to health and exercise. Each student uses a Pasco Passport Hand Grip Heart Rate Sensor to transmit their heart beat over Bluetooth to the SPARKVue app. SPARKVue creates dynamic graphs and charts of the data so students can compare their heart rates. They also use The Human Body Lite by Tinybop app to see what happens when blood flows through the heart during physical exertion. All of these experiments help students to understand the connection between the heart muscle, heart rate, and health.

Dissection Lab Station

The Human Body Lite by Tinybop & iBooks

Dissecting a real heart.

“Doing a dissection on a real specimen is invaluable,” says Jodie. “Technology can never replace this experience, but it can definitely enhance it.” As students dissect an actual sheep heart and examine the ventricles, valves, arteries, and veins, iPad is there to support the experience. Images from The Human Body Lite app and Life on Earth help them find and identify the parts they’ve learned and studied.

“I think combining physical activities and hands-on experiences is still very important in science. The iPad is extremely helpful in making those experiences more meaningful.”

Demonstrate learning.

A final project that’s tailored to each student’s talents.

Once Jodie feels that students have a strong understanding of how the heart functions, she gives them a series of final assignments to pick from so they can demonstrate their learning.

“You have to reach the individual student in order for them to learn. If you don’t find a way to personalize it and make it real for them, they’re not going to be successful.”

Foster transformational learning.

Students become the teachers.

Learn how students educate the world

Jodie’s students publish their own iTunes U course, Health Without Borders, to help K-5 students understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Her students offer FaceTime sessions with course enrollees, and invite local students into their classroom to do hands-on activities around heart health and physical activity. The students are constantly evolving the course with new materials and assignments based on feedback they get from young students in classrooms around the world.

Health: Inside Out

Jodie’s students also recently authored and published their own textbook called Health: Inside Out with iBooks Author that’s used in conjunction with their iTunes U course.

Learn more about iBooks Author


The number of young learners worldwide who have subscribed to the Health Without Borders iTunes U course

“The iPad has afforded our students the opportunity to learn science at a deeper level. They’re able to make connections that weren’t really possible before the technology came into the classroom.”

Personalize and perfect your lesson.

With the variety of apps, books, podcasts, movies, and music available through iTunes, designing a customized lesson is easier than you might think. Get started with the apps Jodie’s class uses or explore other ways to integrate iPad into your classroom.