Using a Heart Model to Study for AP Biology – Explore On a Deeper Level

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Students in AP Biology have more opportunities for in-depth and hands-on experiences in the classroom. Learn how using a heart model to study can be beneficial when taking AP Biology.

Using A Heart Model To Study For AP Biology

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Since Biology is the study of living organisms, it’s essential to learn about and understand how the heart works. Although the basic functions of the heart are often taught at an early age and in elementary school, AP Biology provides the perfect opportunity to explore the unique organ at a deeper level.

While there are typically many lab sessions where students have the chance to examine and dissect a real heart, it’s not always the ideal model when studying the heart. We’ll discuss some of the ways that using a heart model can enhance and improve the overall learning experience in AP Biology.

Taking A Look At Heart Models

Walk into any AP Biology lab or even a doctor’s office, and there’s a good chance that you’ll see a model of a human heart on display. As an AP Biology student, exploring a human heart model may be the closest, you’ll get to human heart unless you decide to advance in the sciences or attend medical school.

Have a big exam coming up or just want to gain a better understanding of how all of the parts of the heart works? A model of a heart is an excellent resource for studying. If your AP Biology teacher has a heart model, you are probably encouraged to take a look at it in the classroom, but what can you use when you’re studying outside of the classroom?

what can you use when you’re studying outside of the classroom?

Quick Study Illustrations

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Your Biology book may have some stunning and highly-detailed graphics of a human heart, but it may not showcase every part in detail. You can find a variety of “quick study” pamphlets online that give you multiple views of the human heart, and in great detail.

This type of resource is nice for studying while “on the go,” or when you want something lightweight and compact, but it is still very similar to looking at a model of the heart in your textbook. If you are a visual learner, this method may be enough to help you study, but if you’re a “hands-on” learner, you may have a harder time learning about the heart.

3D Model Apps

If you spend a lot of time at your computer or on your device while you study, it may be worthwhile to check out a 3D model of the heart. Depending on the 3D model you choose, you might be able to do virtual dissection, manipulate the heart rate, or see what happens to the heart during a heart attack.

While a 3D model that you can touch and manipulate with your own hands, may help you understand the heart better than an app, the app may be beneficial due to some of its features (such as a beating heart or blood flow).

3D “Hand On” Models

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As we mentioned earlier, there might be a 3D model of the human heart in your AP Biology classroom, and you have access to it while you’re in class. 3D heart models typically have pieces that come apart and allow you to see all the parts of the heart, which is essential when learning about the complex organ.

 When you want a more “hands-on” approach to studying the human heart, it can be difficult to have access to a 3D model, particularly if you’re in a large classroom with other students who are also wanting to see the model of the heart.

Purchasing a heart model for yourself might make studying more convenient and help information “sink in” a little better. If you’ve already started to search around online for 3D heart models, you might be a little disheartened by the price.

Many life-sized 3D heart models cost hundreds of dollars, and it might not be in your budget as an AP student. The good news is that there are many smaller 3D models available online for under $50.

If you decide to purchase a 3D model, it’s important to read the reviews before buying and keep in mind that the model will not be life-sized. Ideally, the 3D model should have parts that can be removed or at least moved out of the way, so that you can see all the parts of the heart.

Purchasing a 3D model of a heart can be a wise financial investment, particularly if you’re planning on pursuing Biology or other Life Sciences further. Your 3D model can also be a great asset to a study group or when using a variety of resources like the quick study pamphlet or 3D app.

Do You Have To Use A Heart Model When Studying?

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You might be wondering if you need to use a model of a heart when studying for AP Biology. Your teacher may strongly recommend using heart models as a study guide, but as we mentioned earlier, you might understand how the heart works without looking at a model.

Even though we mention quick study pamphlets and 3D model apps as good alternatives to studying the heart, research suggests that students are more likely to understand and retain information better when they are presented with 3D models rather than 2D.

In one study, a group of nursing students was tested after learning and studying with 2D models, and the other group was tested (with the same test) after learning and studying with 3D models. Overall, the group that had access to a 3D model performed better on the test.

The methods, which were compared included a dissection of a sheep heart and a PowerPoint presentation versus a 3D heart model; the 3D model resulted in higher test scores.

Isn’t Dissection The Best Option For Studying The Heart?

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Many may argue that dissecting a heart is the best way to study the heart and gain a better understanding of how it works. In AP Biology, you may have the opportunity to dissect a sheep heart or another mammal heart, but you won’t be able to have an up close and personal interaction with a human heart.

While dissection is a fascinating and “must have” experience in every Biology course, it can also be challenging to understand and often it’s a hurried process with limited explanations. It can also be more challenging when more than one student is working on dissecting a heart at once (such as a group of two or three people).

Dissection takes practice and time, and even though many students would benefit from one-on-one help from their instructor, it’s not always feasible. Dissecting a heart can also be very difficult for some students and may make them feel nervous or uneasy, which can also affect the overall learning experience.

Another reason why dissection may not be the best option for studying is that you can’t carry the heart around with you. Depending on how many students are in the class or how many class sessions touch and examine a heart, it can become harder to work with or easily damaged.

Ideally, every student would have the opportunity to dissect a heart and learn enough from the experience to understand how the heart works and ace an exam on how the heart functions. Since a heart is such a unique and complex organ, it’s beneficial to explore a variety of resources to help better understand the heart.

Dissection is a great option, but it’s not the only option (nor should it be) when providing an in-depth look at the heart. Unless you have a photographic memory, most students benefit from seeing the parts of a heart multiple times, not just during the various steps of a dissection.

Using a 3D model allows you to take the heart apart and put it back together as many times as you want. If the model is made of high-quality materials and is handled carefully, it can withstand many study sessions and years of science courses.

Using Various Heart Models For Studying

The type of heart models you choose will most likely depend on your learning style and preferences. Since learning about the heart is not something that is easily done overnight, it’s best to utilize as many resources as you can when you study.

If a model of the human heart is not available to you on a regular basis or at home, consider the 3D model app and even some of the quick study guides.

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