As I was reading my Twitter feed, I came across this app called Anatomy 4D. All I could think after checking it out was why did I NOT know about this?!?! As a former 5th grade teacher in North Carolina, I taught human body systems. This included the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems. My students were responsible for knowing the main function of each system, label the parts of the system, and describe how the systems worked together to sustain life. We did several awesome experiments; my personal favorite involved a blender in which we ground up an apple and squished it through a long flexible hose and into a bowl to make the digestive system come to life. When the app My Incredible Body came available a couple of years ago, I was so excited to finally be able to show my students a great interactive digital representation of the various body systems. I have since been waiting for another quality app that allowed me to skip the body systems that yielded a more middle school conversation while still showing an in-depth look at the six body systems that I was required to teach.
Voila… Anatomy 4D (with some minor tweaking for age-appropriate images) is just that app! I was able to download the FREE app (yes, free!) and immediately print the pages that trigger the augmented reality 4D experience on either the iPod touch or iPad. There are two pages that come with the app – one is a full-body image and the other is an image of the heart. Each of these pages have facts about the systems listed, which is a pretty cool bonus. One thing to note is that this app is rated 17+ for intense sexual content & nudity; however (thinking of elementary school here) the skin can be shown as a male or female (I suggest male so the lymphatic & muscular system doesn’t make the kids giggle unnecessarily) and if the skin is shown as most transparent (use controls on the right side of the screen), students cannot see the nudity. For my 5th graders using the full-body image, I would use the dial at the bottom of the screen to turn on only the systems that I needed and deselect all others.
How cool is this to show how the skeletal system protects the respiratory system?! Students can see inside their body! If you want to just show the respiratory system, deselect all others to show only respiratory. Here the student can see the main parts of the respiratory system – the trachea (windpipe), lungs, and even the diaphragm!
Now, showing the circulatory system is pretty cool because the students can see how the veins and arteries are throughout the entire body. You can even zoom into the heart to see it more closely.
The coolest part of the Anatomy 4D app is the heart image though! When you use the iPod touch or iPad to look at the heart image, a beating heart appears showing how the heart contracts to pump blood and even showing the oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood being brought to and sent from the heart!
You can deselect different parts like the valve, ventricles, and blood flow to allow students to really focus in on what is needed for that lesson. For an elementary student, I wouldn’t just give them the images and the iPad and let them go conquer the world. The full body image would definitely be a teacher-directed discussion while the students can explore more on the heart image.
Another pretty neat app working checking out is The Brain AR app – same concept, but focuses solely on the brain, from the shoulders up to the head.