Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Concept Maps

Concept maps are a great way to make your study time more efficient . . . that is, they help to learn more in less time. And the learning you do will be deeper learning than simply memorizing facts!

Also known as mind maps, these tools are simply a way to visualize a concept.

Although visual and kinesthetic learners will adapt most easily to this method of learning, anyone can benefit from it.

Concept maps are diagrams that relate different elements of a concept to each other and/or to the main idea. These diagrams can be simple or complex --depending on your own style of learning and what helps you understand the concept best.
For example, you can draw your own diagram of how blood flows through the cardiovascular system that makes sense to you--maybe quite different than something you may see in a book or online. It could be a simple figure 8, labeled with different sections like heart chambers, valves, systemic arteries, systemic arterioles, capillaries, and so on.
Or a flow chart, where a main idea is placed in a box at the center of the page and all the concepts related to the main idea radiate out from the central box. Then you could draw lines between the boxes to connect related concepts (maybe labeling the connecting line with how they relate to each other).

For a more complete explanation of how to make and use concept maps, including examples and links to more resources, visit Concept Maps in the Lion Den now.
You'll also want to download the FREE concept map creation tool called FreeMind . . . and start playing with it.
If you want a nice, short book that lays out how concept maps unlock your mind to organize, understand, and learn just about anything, check out the book How to Mind Map: The Ultimate Thinking Tool That Will Change Your Life.

Penile fractures and pop culture

Of course you want to apply your increasing expertise in human anatomy and physiology to your experience of popular culture, right?

You've already probably caught yourself second-guessing some of the diagnoses of Dr. House's team . . . at least those lame ones offered during the first fifteen minutes of an episode. Or the really off-the-mark versions of human structure and function woven into episodes of Fringe.

Get used to it. Apparently, the big money that goes into TV and movie productions does NOT go to anyone who passed a basic A&P course!

Dr. Patton's Theory of Media Science (Dr. P's TMS) . . .
which I just made up after years of mulling it over . . . and shouting it to my television screen . . . states that

"biological accuracy of a science-based fictional media production is inverse to the total budget for special effects in the production. "

My hope is that producers will eventually recognize the validity of my theory, and the growing population of A&P-educated viewers who can spot a stupid science "fact" that really doesn't have to be there to make the story flow or to keep the special effects within budget or allow for a snappy movie or episode title.

Then these cutting-edge producers will spring for a modest fee for an A&P consultant in each production. Which will spur an increasing demand for graduates of my A&P courses. Which will increase my job security. And then perhaps one day this trend will help me find a part-time job when I retire . . . perhaps an A&P consulting job that also involves brief, well-paid, guest-starring roles and sharing beers and pizza with my favorite TV and movie stars.

However, a recent episode of Grey's Anatomy (season 5, episode 513) brought up an anatomical issue that is rarely discussed in A&P courses . . . and so one might wonder "can this be true?!" Or even, "PLEASE tell me this cannot be true!"

Yes, my friends, one CAN break a penis. In fact, it's a more common injury than most people suspect.

Why don't we hear about it more often?

First, if you or your partner has broken a penis, would you be talking it up everywhere you go . . . as one might with a broken leg? Second, let's face it . . . one would have a cast that's out there asking to be asked about, right? Third, at least in my part of the world . . . we simply don't talk much (out loud, in public) regarding anything having to do with sex. (In fact, some reading this will shudder at my bringing it up in a blog for students . . . if they've even read this far.)

Why didn't your A&P teacher tell you about this? So you could fulfill your role as A&P expert as you watched the episode with friends or family? First, you probably haven't gotten to that part of the course yet. Second, when you do your instructor will likely be behind schedule and won't have time to tell you interesting stories about penis fractures. And third, in my part of the world at least, your professor doesn't want to have to take time to deal with formal complaints from horrified students who don't realize that any part of the body IS an appropriate topic of conversation in an A&P class.

Want to know more?

Try this straightforward . . . and easy to understand . . . article from Scientific American.

You'll learn a lot of useful A&P, you'll be able to contribute to the inevitable classroom discussion on this topic, and you'll be all set for a future career as a TV/movie consultant after you successfully complete your A&P course!

Want to know even more useful (and possibly career-enhancing) facts related to the sex organs? Then check out the book Skin Flutes & Velvet Gloves: A Collection of Facts and Fancies, Legends and Oddities About the Body's Private Parts

By the way . . .
The television show Grey's Anatomy is a word play on the title of a famous medical anatomy text by Henry Gray called Gray's Anatomy. Notice the difference in spelling. Originally published over 150 years ago (1858), the current edition remains a leader among the best available references to the human body (and now comes in many different variations to suit different needs). In case you need more facts to bolster your standing as the local A&P expert among your television-viewing crowd.