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Episode 45 | SCRIPT

The Fishbowl Model of Homeostasis


The A&P Professor podcast (TAPP radio) episodes are made for listening, not reading. This transcript is provided for your convenience, but hey, it’s just not possible to capture the emphasis and dramatic delivery of the audio version. Or the cool theme music.  Or laughs and snorts. And because it’s generated by a combo of machine and human transcription, it may not be exactly right. So I strongly recommend listening by clicking the LISTEN button provided.

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fish bowl

Episode 45 Transcript

The Fishbowl Model of Homeostasis


Kevin Patton: The late physicist and author, Stephen Hawking, once wrote, “A few years ago, the city council of Monza, Italy, barred pet owners from keeping goldfish in curved bowls, saying that it is cruel to keep a fish in a bowl with curved sides because, gazing out, the fish would have a distorted view of reality. But how do we know that we have the true, undistorted picture of reality?”

Aileen: Welcome to The A&P Professor, a few minutes to focus on teaching Human Anatomy & Physiology with host, Kevin Patton.

Poll Results: Addressing Professors

Kevin Patton: In this episode, I revisit how students address professors. I mention a concept list seminar, the secret identity of The A&P Professor is revealed, and I discuss the Fishbowl Model of homeostasis.

Kevin Patton: In the last episode of this podcast, that is Episode Number 44, I had a brief discussion about what our preferences are as teachers as to how students address us in class or out of class or whatever. Do we prefer them to call us by our first name or maybe our last name? Do we want them to call us with the usual titles used in ordinary conversation such as Ms. or Miss or Mrs. or Mr., or do we want them to use our academic title such as Professor or maybe Dr. Whomever?

Kevin Patton: I said during that episode that I would put a Twitter poll out at my Twitter account, which is @theAPprofessor, and I did that. But I started the Twitter poll just before that episode was released, so I think some of the people that responded to the Twitter poll did so before they heard the episode. Probably some others heard the episode first and then responded, but I don’t think that’s going to have much influence on the outcome because after all, this isn’t a very scientific poll anyway. Like all Twitter polls, it only lasted a week, so you had to get in that window of time. Also, like all Twitter polls, you only get four choices, and there’s a lot more than four choices as to how you might want students to address you. So, that limited things quite a bit as well.

Kevin Patton: So, let’s go through the results of the poll, and then I’ll mention a few of the comments that came along with the answers to the poll. Now, the first of four allowable choices was, “First name only,” and 33% of the respondents, and by the way, there were a total of 63 votes, so 33% of the 63 votes said, “Yeah. First name is what I prefer.” Now, the second choice ended up being the most popular choice, and that was, “Dr.,” so Dr. Patton, for example, and 48% of the respondents, that is just about half, responded that that’s what their preference was. The third choice was, “Professor Whomever,” so Professor Patton, for example, and 13% of respondents chose that one. So, not as high as the first two but still a significant number. The response that got the lowest number of choices or responses was the fourth choice, and that I had listed as, “Mr./Ms./Mrs./Miss,” so that would be something like Mr. Patton, and only 6% of those responding chose that as their preference.

Kevin Patton: So, what came in number one was Dr. What came in number two was first name only. What came in number three was Professor Whomever, and the last choice was the Mr./Ms./Mrs./Miss combination. Now, there are lots of other variations, and they just didn’t get in there. But, I think looking at those numbers is interesting. It’s interesting to me at least. I’m the one that brought this up, so I must be interested in this topic anyway. And I think that’s interesting that about half of us prefer Dr., but pretty close to that is first name. So, I think, as I discussed in the previous episode, a lot of that is influenced by a variety of factors, and it could be that some of us who teach in more than one institution, right now, I’m teaching at two different institutions, might prefer one manner of address with one group of students, and one manner of address with another group of students. Now, I don’t, but I could see that happening.

Kevin Patton: At one school I’m teaching at, I’m teaching beginning community college students, and at another institution, I’m teaching graduate students in a master’s program, so that could be different. For me, it’s not, but I might have reasons for them to be different. I also want to mention a few of the comments that were posted at that poll because I think that they better inform us about this whole idea of how that might work and the variety that there is among our peers and how they prefer to be addressed.

Kevin Patton: For example, Janine Ziermann, and I hope I have that pronunciation correct. Janine Ziermann, she wrote a Twitter post that her students call her Dr. Z., and she encourages it because most of them mispronounce her name anyway. So, I hope I got that right, and if not, Janine, if you’re listening, please respond and let me know what the right pronunciation is, or maybe I should just call you Janine Z. And she also mentioned that she likes that Dr. Z. title because it’s more relaxed than if they did use her whole name.

Kevin Patton: What she doesn’t like, she said, is to get called only by her family name. Or, she also doesn’t like it if her male college gets called Dr., and she’s being called Mrs. I agree with both of those statements. Now, I don’t get called Mrs. I don’t remember ever being called Miss or Mrs. or anything like that, but it makes me uncomfortable if I’m called Dr. and a female colleague, who is also a doctor, is called Mrs. That irritates me, and I can imagine it would be even more upsetting to my female colleague who would be treated that way because it implies I think a difference in the way their status is seen even though we would have equal status.

Kevin Patton: But I also don’t like being called just by my family name. I’m not sure why that is, but it just feels uncomfortable to me. It feels actually unfriendly to me, but I think probably there are some contexts, some environments in which everyone is called by their last name, and it really doesn’t make a difference, and it puts everyone at an equal footing. So, maybe there’s another side to it, but I agree with Janine. I don’t particularly like that.

Kevin Patton: Another comment came in from Krista Rompolski who said that this is a charged topic. As one might suggest, it’s a sign of disrespect not to use earned honorifics. I assume she’s talking about the title, Dr., and she goes on to say, “I wonder how one’s institutional climate as a whole influences that,” and that is something that we talked about in the episode. Then, she goes on to talk about another topic that kind of came up. “What if you’re the only one that’s okay with using a first name, or the only one who’s insisting on being called Dr. or some other honorific title?” And those are all good questions, some of which we talked about in the last episode, but I think it’s worth continuing to think about and continuing to talk about.

Kevin Patton: Another comment that came in said that, “Everyone senior to me went by their first name at their first job out of grad school,” so she did, too. This came in from Ann Raddant, and she said, “New job, new culture, new preferred title.” She said she does have TAs that call her Ann, but nearly all, “Hey, Ann,” emails from students earn an eye roll. I get that.

Kevin Patton: Jamie Chapman replied that he’s happy with first name, but if a student wants to be formal, then Dr. and not Mr., and I hear where you’re coming from there, Jamie, on that because I agree with that. Amanda Meyer posted in there that she doesn’t like Miss or Ms., that that really irritates her because she hasn’t been one for 15 years. And Dr. Karen Pinder, she wrote in and said that she’s irritated by that distinction between married or not, and that that even still exists for women. And Krista Rompolski came back with another Twitter post that said that she voted for Dr. in the poll, but Dr. R. is what they call her. She likes the familiarity and informality of it, and that’s what Dr. Z. mentioned in her previous post as well. That wasn’t one of the choices, except for just Dr., but I kind of like the informality of that, too, so I think that if I did, myself, personally prefer to be called Dr., Dr. P. would be great.

Kevin Patton: And now that I’m saying that out loud, I can hear a few of my students calling me that. Because if you did listen to that previous episode, I did mention that even though I asked them to call me Kevin, I do tell them if they prefer calling me Dr. or Professor, that’s fine. And some of them do prefer that Dr., that a little bit more formal manner of addressing me, and some of them have used Dr. P.

Kevin Patton: So, as Krista points out in this post, also, she said, “I would never correct a student unless they got my actual name incorrect.” So, she’s Krista. She’s Miss Rompolski. She’s Professor Rompolski as long as they get the name right, that’s okay with her. Or as I like to tell my students, “You can call me just about anything, just don’t call me late for dinner.”

Kevin Patton: And then, Damien Harkin wrote in and said that generally all of his students call him by his first name, but he’s heard from a former student that one class privately called him Histo-Dad. So, a nickname like that, how do you feel about that? I think I would love that, Histo-Dad, but I have also heard professors called by nicknames behind their backs that are not so nice, and that is a very nice one. I think that’s not only respectful but endearing, and so I’m wondering how we feel about that, the endearing kind, not the bad kind of nickname. So, call or write in and let me know what your reaction to all this is.

Sponsored by HAPS

Kevin Patton: This podcast is sponsored by HAPS, the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society, promoting excellence in the teaching of Human Anatomy & Physiology for over 30 years. Go visit HAPS at theAPprofessor.org/haps. That’s H-A-P-S.

Running Concept List Video

Kevin Patton: In the last few episodes, I mentioned that at the HAPS annual conference in Portland, Oregon, from which I just returned, that I was going to offer a workshop called Running Concept Lists: A Simple Strategy to Identify, Connect, and Apply Core Concepts of Anatomy & Physiology. I did that, and I was grateful that so many of you attended. I was a little afraid I was going to be the only one in the room or me and one other person because it was held in the last time slot of the last day of a four-day, sometimes exhausting, conference, and it comes right at that time when people are thinking, “You know? I don’t know if I can do one more session. I’m just so exhausted.” A lot of people were suffering from jet lag and things like that, too. That was catching up with them, and so, yeah, I’m really grateful that people came and participated, and I think we had a good time.

Kevin Patton: I’m also kind of grateful that it came at the end like that. I wasn’t so sure when I first saw that on the schedule, but it turns out that there were some other workshops that really kind of connected with this topic and really gave me some good ideas for better approaching it with everyone who showed up to mine and gave me some things to bring back and think more deeply about in terms of using this method of teaching and learning called Running Concept Lists.

Kevin Patton: Now, that’s topic that I mentioned in a very, very early episode of this podcast when it first started, and some of you may have heard that, some not. I’ll put a link to that episode in the show notes, an episode page. But, I’m also going to post a recorded version of that workshop, a little bit abbreviated, from that workshop, and I’m going to do that in the app. So, this is an app-only feature. So, go to your device’s app store if you don’t already have the app. Just go to the app store in Apple or Android or Kindle Fire, and just put in The A&P Professor. It’s a free app, and you can listen to the podcast that way. But, another advantage of it is even if you have another preferred way of listening to the podcast, when you go into the app, you can access these app-only extras. And so, there will be a video in there that will be an abbreviated version of this workshop if you want to kind of watch and listen and see what it’s all about.

Sponsored by AAA

Kevin Patton: A searchable transcript and captions for the audiogram of this episode are funded by AAA, the American Association of Anatomists, at anatomy.org. I get a lot out of my AAA membership, and it’s getting better all the time. You really ought to consider joining.

Kevin Patton: As I’m recording this, I just returned from the HAPS annual conference in Portland, Oregon, which was a great conference. I enjoyed it tremendously, learned a lot. As I was telling people toward the end, “I think my brain is full for the moment,” as I was trying to digest it all because there’s just so much that I learned, not only in the sessions, but just in regular conversations with people. And I was out there busy giving away my hip logo pins, my A&P Professor pins that I’ve mentioned on previous episodes, and I’ve given them all away. So, there’s going to be even more valuable now, unless I have them remade, but I’ll have to save up my pennies and have another batch made before that happens. So, I think they’re going to be increasing in value very quickly here because they’re so rare now.

TAPP Secret Identity Revealed

Kevin Patton: As I was doing that, something came across that I guess never really struck me that hard before, and that is the name The A&P Professor. I was standing at one of the receptions. I was standing in the drink line waiting to get my glass of water on the rocks, and there were a couple people in front of me that I had never met before. They looked at my name tag, and when I registered this year, because I work for two different institutions and I run this podcast, I just went ahead and put the name of the podcast, The A&P Professor. So, they glanced at my name tag and said, “What? You’re The A&P Professor? And is that like The Ohio State University?” And I’m like, “Oh, my gosh. I never thought of it that way.”

Kevin Patton: And I tried to correct them, and we had a big laugh about all of that. But, I’ve also been addressed by people as, “Oh, Kevin. He’s The A&P Professor,” meaning that the title of my blog and podcast, The A&P Professor, refers to me, that I’m The A&P Professor. And I guess that could be true, and it would still work in the context. But, that’s not really what The A&P Professor is. That’s not who The A&P Professor is.

Kevin Patton: So, I’m here to reveal the secret identity of The A&P Professor. Who is The A&P Professor? Well, it’s you. It’s anyone who teaches A&P. That’s what the intent of that title, The A&P Professor, is. It’s sort of like, I don’t know, a lot of newspapers have a name like that like, The Oregonian. That’s a newspaper that’s in the region where we just had our HAPS conference, and there isn’t a person who is The Oregonian, like the founder of the paper or anything. The Oregonian is a way of it just expressing the idea that here’s a newspaper that applies to any Oregonian that should be important to and informative for and helpful for any Oregonian. So, that’s the sense in which this is The A&P Professor podcast, and of course, there’s a blog and website.

Kevin Patton: As a matter of fact, the blog came first. It’s over 10 years old. I started that back in 2008, I think? Then, I was trying to come up with a name for a blog that I wanted to do that would benefit other A&P professors, where I could share things that I was learning. I came up with the name sort of as an homage to a very popular newsletter that’s still out there in the form of a website and all kinds of things. They even have a conference now called, The Teaching Professor, and I thought, “Well, that’s great. I still get a lot out of The Teaching Professor resources and advice and so on.” And I thought, “Well, maybe I’m going to do something along the same lines, sort of kind of not as well but focused only on teaching A&P.” So, I decided to call it The A&P Professor.

Kevin Patton: And right around the same time, I started another blog for A&P students called, yes, The A&P Student. And there isn’t a student out there that I was naming it after. I’m sort of using it generically as here’s something for the typical A&P student. So, that’s where it came from.

Kevin Patton: And by the way, and since we’re talking about this sort of thing anyway, I want to mention, because I paid a lot of money for this, so I want somebody to know it, it’s a registered trademark. So, my website, blog, podcast is registered as The A&P Professor. So, I guess because it’s registered and nobody else can use that phrase, at least in this context, that is providing resources for Anatomy & Physiology teaching or science teaching in general. Because of that, because it’s limited to my use only, I guess this the The A&P Professor, at least legally it’s the The A&P Professor. Oh, my gosh. Now, I think I’ve just made the situation worse by saying that. So, what is it? Who is the The A&P Professor? I don’t know.

Kevin Patton: That doesn’t mean you can’t call yourself the A&P professor in a generic sense. As you walk into the classroom and say, “Well, I’m the A&P professor, and you’re the A&P students,” and, oh, by the way, The A&P Student is a registered trademark, too. But, that’s okay. You can use it in that generic sense when you’re in the class, as long as you’re not producing a blog or website or podcast or using it in some other way in that kind of a context where you’re providing resources.

Kevin Patton: When you do that, when you identify yourself as the A&P professor to your students, what better way to clarify that fact than to wear your official pin from The A&P Professor, if you’re one of the lucky few that have one of those pins. I’m all out for now, but as I say, maybe in the future, I’ll have some more. But, that’s okay because you have other options. You know what? You can get a mug with that hip logo emblazoned with the phrase, The A&P Professor, or you can get a T-shirt, or you can get a jacket, or you can get all kinds of other hip stuff with the hip logo. And, if you want to, check that out. Go to theAPprofessor.org/hipstuff. That’s all one word, hipstuff. theAPprofessor.org/hipstuff, and you can shop online for all your A&P Professor gear with the hip logo.

Kevin Patton: And since we’re taking a backstage tour here anyway, that kind of leads to a discussion of the expenses of providing you with a free podcast, and who pays for those expenses? Well, this podcast is all me. I don’t have a staff. It’s been just me doing the blog and the website and now, the podcast, for all these years since 2008. And until I started the podcast, there haven’t been many expenses, so it’s sort of like what it’d be like if I became a coffee drinker and had to buy coffee and keep a coffeemaker in good repair, not that expensive, easy to absorb. The podcast thing, I’ve come to find out, is different, at least if you employ what are considered to be best practices, and I figure if I’m going to do it, I’m going to aim for doing it well. And so, what are those expenses?

Kevin Patton: Well, first of all, there’s distribution. In podcasting, it’s often called syndication, and I use a service called Liberated Syndication, also known as Libsyn for short. That’s the largest podcast network in the world, and it has the most features for the lowest price. So, no wonder, I chose them after doing a little bit of research. And Libsyn also provides the apps for the Apple iOS devices, Android devices, and the Kindle Fire, and that all costs money, not a huge amount of money, a moderate amount of money, but it does cost money. It’s a monthly, recurring expense, so it goes on and on and on. Those expenses have recently been covered by a sponsorship from the HAPI Degree Program at NYCC, where I teach part-time, so thanks HAPIs.

Kevin Patton: There’s also the expense of transcribing each episode, and this makes it easier to find where things are discussed by making them searchable. Now, Google just started the searching of podcasts, and I mentioned that on a previous episode. But the transcriptions they used are kind of wonky, so the terms you’re likely to be searching for such as carbaminohemoglobin, a term that I try to work into every episode. Because I just like to say, “Carbaminohemoglobin.” They’re just not very likely to show up in a machine transcription that Google uses. Google is likely to mess that up, and it’s not going to come out as carbaminohemoglobin. Did you see what I did there? I got to say that word, carbaminohemoglobin, three times, and now four, by pointing it out. So, it’s little things like that that keep me going and make me happy.

Kevin Patton: I also use those transcripts, which by the way are partially generated by machine, but there’re also a transcriptionist goes over them and works out the kinks. So, they’re a lot more accurate than the machine-generated form of a transcript. I also use those transcripts to make the captions for the audiograms that I post in YouTube for each episode. Again, I could just let YouTube caption that, but it’s the same problem with the same Google transcription software. They can’t even get the name of the podcast right, so I’m not going to trust them with, wait for it, carbaminohemoglobin.

Kevin Patton: Right now, the transcription costs are paid from an Education Outreach Grant from AAA, the American Association of Anatomists, but that money will run out before very long, and you can’t renew that grant. Who knows? Maybe if they get some Tweets or emails thanking them for their support from listeners like you, they might find another way to continue their support. I can hope.

Kevin Patton: The costs for turning audio into an Audiogram is another expense not paid out of that grant. It’s not a huge expense either, but it’s an expense, and it adds in there. And what kind of expenses are beyond what I just mentioned? Well, there’s equipment, software, web services. As far as equipment goes, there’s microphones, cables, pop filters, boom arms, wine racks and wine glasses, and all kinds of other necessary equipment. And as far as the software and web services, there’s audio recording and editing software, website software and website hosting expenses, IT expenses when I need help fixing things on the website. There’s an online, audio processing service that I use for every episode to kind of even things out in terms of loudness and removing background noise as much as possible and doing all those little tweaks that an audio engineer is supposed to do, but I don’t have one of those. I’m it, and I can’t do all of that. I can turn on Record and press Pause and do stuff like that, do a little bit of simple splicing, but that’s about it.

Kevin Patton: And then, there’s some marketing expenses. That’s mostly free, but I do use a paid social channel management platform called Hootsuite. And sometimes, I will boost a post for a small fee on Facebook or Twitter, and I have an in-kind arrangement with HAPS, Human Anatomy & Physiology Society, to promote them in exchange for three ads a year in their publication, the HAPS Educator, which if they hear from listeners, they might want to continue with doing that little in-kind swap in the future. So, any feedback to HAPS from this podcast would certainly be appreciated by all of us because it keeps things going. And another marketing expense are those pins I talked about. It does cost money to produce all those solid gold pins for you to wear on your conference lanyard and on your lab coats while you teach. Okay. They’re not solid gold, but brass isn’t exactly free, is it? No, it’s not.

Kevin Patton: So, where does the money that’s not covered by sponsorships come from? Well, I do get a few dollars, and I do mean a few, from your use of Amazon and other referral links in my show notes and episode pages. But mostly, those other expenses, they come from me. I make money from teaching and writing, and this podcast is on the books of my writing, speaking, consulting business. So basically, I’m sort of giving back some of the money I make from those endeavors and putting it into this podcast. Why? Because I can, and because I love, love, love, love doing this in case you couldn’t tell. And so, from this, The A&P Professor, to all of you, the A&P professors listening, let’s keep this thing going, eh?

Sponsored by HAPI Online Graduate Program

Kevin Patton: Distribution of this podcast is sponsored by the Master of Science in Human Anatomy & Physiology Instruction, the HAPI Degree. Looking to power up your game in teaching A&P? Check out this online graduate program at nycc.edu/hapi. That’s H-A-P-I or click the link in the show notes or episode page.

Kevin Patton: Because I want my students to have a thorough understanding of homeostasis before moving into their study of human physiology in our A&P course, I spend a lot of time on this topic during the first week of class. Because the concept of homeostasis is usually new to my students and because I use three different analogies or models in an attempt to get at what homeostatic control really means, well, I really work on this right from the start.

Kevin Patton: Now, why use three different models? Well, models and analogies never, ever, ever tell the complete story. That’s one never and three evers, by the way, and that’s a really low rating on the scale that I like to call Kevin’s Confidence Scale, which I’ve never talked about, but I frequently employ. I remember a number of years ago at a HAPS conference there was a really good workshop regarding issues with commonly used models of homeostasis that we use in teaching, and they had some data backing up this idea, by the way. And one of the things that I got out of it was a confirmation of my thinking that any one model cannot be relied on to give a deep enough understanding of homeostasis. Not any one of them is good enough for that.

Kevin Patton: Now, homeostasis is a rather simple idea, but the more you look at it and apply this concept, the more complexity becomes apparent. I realized that it’s not going to work well to dump everything I want my students to understand about homeostasis on them at once at the beginning of the course. They need time to think I over, forget most of it, encounter it again, apply it, and then forget some of that, and then apply it again in a different situation in a building, layering process that takes a while for connections to be made, a solid conceptual framework to be built, and a deeper understanding to develop.

Kevin Patton: So, I start off with three fairly simple models. I know that I’ll be returning to these models many times throughout the course, and so I want my students to have at least a basic familiarity with them to start off their learning about homeostasis. Now, one model I use is the one in the textbook. The one used in most textbooks, which I call the Engineered Control System Model. This model uses an engineered machine, the thermostat, that most people know about at least a very simple level of understanding, to show students how automatic control systems that maintain stability in a system are designed. This also helps introduce students to the essential terminology of homeostasis, which is borrowed from engineering. Terms like feedback loop, sensor, integrator, set point, and all those other engineering-type words that have been imported into physiology. I even bring in an actual thermostat as a prop when discussing this model. Having a prop to point to is a storytelling trick that helps listeners have something concrete to refer to in their minds as an abstract idea is being described.

Featured: Fishbowl Model of Homeostasis

Kevin Patton: But before I cover that model, I introduce the idea of homeostasis with a simpler, perhaps more relatable model, the Fishbowl Model of homeostasis. The Fishbowl Model compares the human body to an aquarium. Health of the system requires stability of the fluid environment inside the tank, a lot like how we describe the internal fluid environment of the body when we’re discussing homeostasis, right? Various devices in the aquarium act like the organs of our body operate to maintain that stability, stability of temperature, stability of oxygen level, and so on. But the system in the aquarium’s not 100% stable. Things fluctuate. That is its relative stability, stability within a range just like our internal environment when things are in a homeostatic balance.

Kevin Patton: Again, making use of the storytelling trick of using props, I do a little play acting with props with this model. And don’t worry. No animals are harmed during that demonstration. What I do is I bring in a little two-and-a-half-gallon aquarium to the classroom, and I put a small, stuffed fish into it. And I mean a stuffed toy fish, not a mounted taxidermy fish. So, it’s a little, plush fish that I put in there. It’s a little clown fish, actually. And then, I ask the students, “If this were a real, living fish, what would be needed for this fish to survive?” And, of course, the obvious answer is, “Water.” That’s something that isn’t in the aquarium yet, and so I pretend like I’m adding water. Now, I’ve tried using water, and when you’re using a plush, toy fish, not only is it really messy, it takes a lot of time, and it ruins your fish. I want to be able to use my fish in every class every year.

Kevin Patton: So, then I ask the students, “Is that all? I just need a tank and water, and that’s it? That fish is going to stay alive forever, or at least for a while.” And, by the way, pet fish can live a very, very long time if you take care of them well, and their tank is stable. The internal fluid environment of the tank is stable. So, I ask them, “What else does it take? Just pour in some water, and that’s it?” “No, no, no, no, no.” They realize there are other things. At least some of the students realize it. Now, of course, not all students are going to be very familiar with how you set up a fish tank, and what it’s going to require to keep it going. But, I think everybody has the general idea of an aquarium, and especially at our school, because we have aquariums in the hallway, and so I know they’ve seen them before and have some idea that there are attachments and that it takes some effort to keep it going.

Kevin Patton: So, we kind of go through that. So, “What is it you need?” And they’ll say, “An air pump,” and some of them will say, “Well, you need a heater.” And some of them will say, “Well, you need a filter of some sort.” So, some of the students who maybe are a little more familiar with aquarium keeping might talk about chemicals that need to be added to maybe remove chlorine or to keep the water buffered or something like that.

Kevin Patton: And then, I talk about, “Well, what about nutrients? Don’t we have to have nutrients in the water available for the fish?” And so, I as the aquarium keeper might be that organ, that machine that we put in the tank to do that, but I tell them what I normally do when I set up a tank is I use an automatic feeder so that it’s spaced out evenly and is measured accurately and so on. So, you’re not relying on me like when I go away to HAPS and so on. Who’s going to feed the fish? I have an automatic feeder to do that, so it’s a lot more steady, a lot more reliable than me doing it. But either way, it works. So, there’s all kinds of different, possible things that you and the students can come up with as things needed to maintain a stable, internal environment that’s going to keep those fish alive.

Kevin Patton: And once we understand all that, then I surprise them by dumping a whole box of stuffed, toy fish into the aquarium, literally packing the aquarium with fish. There isn’t room for one more fish in there. And I say, “Well, what now? Assuming these are living fish, and there really is water in here, look at it. There’s now very little water in there and a lot more fish. So, what are the consequences of that?” And we talk about how a lot more balancing is now required to maintain a stable fluid environment. And so, I might need a better filter or more filters. I might need a better or more of everything, maybe a better heater that’s a little bit better regulated and so on.

Kevin Patton: And even doing all of that, the system is still going to be pretty fragile. Any one little thing that happens could throw off the whole thing and cause fish to start dying off, and maybe the whole community of fish to die off. By the way, those plush fish I’ve talking about, I get those from a party supply place, and they’re really inexpensive. I mean, you buy them by the dozen or by the dozen-dozen, and they last a long time. My little stuffed clown fish are over 20 years old and still going strong. Okay, they’re not really going, but they’re still in good shape, good enough shape to do this demo, actually, very good shape because this doesn’t put a lot of wear and tear on them.

Kevin Patton: And as I mentioned, we also have some actual aquariums in our labs and also they face the hallway, and so I can sort of call their attention to those as well. So, it’s not just the little stuffed fish in my tiny, little two-and-a-half-gallon aquarium. There are actual aquariums that the students will have seen, or that I can call their attention to as they leave the classroom to go take a look at.

Kevin Patton: Now, another option besides doing this demonstration with the whole group would be to have students work out what’s going on in small groups, work out what would be needed for a successful aquarium to maintain a constant water quality necessary to keep fish alive. And then, ask them, “What would be needed if we add 1,000 more fish to that aquarium,” and maybe they can even draw out a little diagram, like little stick diagrams on poster paper and share that with the larger group, or at least just sort of make a little concept map of what’s needed in order to gel their own ideas, to sort of start to build their own conceptual framework of what needs to go on there.

Kevin Patton: And, by the way, I have a handout posted in the podcast app that lays out the Fishbowl Analogy in the form of a table, so that kind of might fill in some of the blanks for you. You could use that handout, or maybe use a blank or partially blank version of that handout, for students in small groups to fill out if you do the small group thing. As a matter of fact, you could use that even in a large group setting when you do the demo to kind of help them figure out how to process this whole little storytelling gig that you’re doing and what that has to do with anything.

Kevin Patton: Now, like any model of homeostasis, certain parts of this Fishbowl Model may not be exactly like homeostasis is in the human body, and therefore, it could be misleading in that regard. But we, as instructors, can point out as many of those issues that need to be pointed out as we go along, or as we apply this analogy later in the course. And, well, we have other models we can use alongside this one to help fill in the conceptual gaps, right? I mean that’s the whole point of using three different models, and by the time we’re done, there might even be a couple more models that I’m not thinking of that I put in there and maybe you have some favorite models that you use.

Kevin Patton: I did say that I use three different models, and so far, I’ve only mentioned two of the three, the Engineered Control System Model and the Fishbowl Model. What’s the third one? Well, for that, you’re going to have to wait for the next episode. I love cliffhangers. Don’t you?

Hearing from YOU

Kevin Patton: Hey, don’t forget that I always put links in the show notes and at the episode page at theAPprofessor.org in case you want to further explore any ideas mentioned in this podcast. For other options in how to be a regular listener to this podcast, just go to theAPprofessor.org/listen.

Kevin Patton: And don’t forget to call in with your question, comments, and ideas at the podcast hotline. It’s 1-833-LION-DEN. That’s 1-833-546-6336 or send a recording or a written message to podcast@theAPprofessor.org. And I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the handle, @theAPprofessor. I’ll talk to you later, okay?

Aileen: The A&P Professor is hosted by Kevin Patton, professor, blogger, and textbook author in Human Anatomy & Physiology.

Kevin Patton: This podcast episode may ice up when conditions are cold.

This podcast is sponsored by the
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Preview of Episode 46



Hi there. This is Kevin Patton with a brief audio introduction to episode number 46 of The A&P Professor podcast, also known as TAPP Radio, an audio variety show for teachers of human anatomy and physiology.


In the upcoming full episode, that is episode number 46, I’m going to swing back around to the topic of homeostasis and models that we use to teach that core concept to our students. You may recall that in episode number 45, I talked about the fact that I use three different primary models or analogies of homeostasis to help teach my students about that topic, and I talked about two of the three models. That is the engineered control system model, or a thermostat model, and also the fishbowl model. Wherein the coming full episode, I’m going to fill you in on the third model that I use, which I call the Wallenda model, and what that is and how it works, you’ll have to wait for the full episode to find out.

Another topic I’m going to briefly mention in that full episode is a side effect of measles that involves the loss of immune memory. I’m also going to talk about a potential new mechanism for bone growth. Oh, and I’m also going to have some outtakes from previous episodes. No, I’m not. There’s a reason they’re called outtakes because I want them out of there, so I take them out and I burn them and stomp on them and bury them. So no, you’re never going to hear outtakes from this podcast.

Sponsored by HAPI

The free distribution of this podcast is sponsored by the Master of Science in Human Anatomy & Physiology Instruction, the HAPI degree. Looking for a way to join a committed group of peers working to enhance their skills in teaching A&P? Or do you have colleagues that could benefit from more training? Well, check out this online graduate program at nycc.edu/hapi, that’s H-A-P-I, or click the link in the show notes or episode page.

Word Dissections

Yep, you guessed it, it’s time for more word dissections, and the first one that we have is a pretty simple one. It’s one that you’ve probably broken down many times for your students, and that is the term chondrocyte. As you probably already know, the word part chondro means cartilage, and the last part, cyte, C-Y-T-E, means cell. So a chondrocyte is a cartilage cell. Well, that leads us to a little bit stickier term that I’m going to be using in the full episode and that is chondroprogenitor cell. Don’t you love that name chondroprogenitor? I mean, that’s almost as great as carbaminohemoglobin.

Chondroprogenitor has six syllables, oh my gosh. It qualifies as a prize winning scientific term because we all know that the more syllables a scientific term has, the more value it has, right? I don’t know about that, but it seems to be the case in scientific terminology, doesn’t it? Well, you may remember from preview episode number 38 when I did some word dissections and one of the terms there was progenitor cell. I said then that originally, the word progenitor meant the founder of a family and it comes from pro which means first and a genitor which means parent, so literally means first parent. But in human biology, a progenitor cell is like a stem cell, but it’s more specific being prime to differentiate into a particular type or subset of cells.

If we’re talking about a chondroprogenitor cell, we’re talking about a stem cell like so that is prime to differentiate into chondrocytes. That makes it a chondroprogenitor cell. Say you break it down, it’s not so difficult, but man, those six syllables, that really throws you off, doesn’t it?

Our next term is epiphyseal plate, another commonly used term in A&P, but it’s going to come up in the next episode. I thought, “Well, this is good practice to break down this term.” And epiphyseal plate, of course, is derived from the term epiphysis which we also commonly use in our A&P courses. Breaking that down, we have epi, the first part, E-P-I, which means on or upon, and then the second part, P-H-Y-S, phys, means growth. So epiphys means growth on, and the I-S ending is a noun ending, it means thing. So epiphysis is a thing that grows upon something, in this case, it grows upon the end of a bone and of a long bone, that is.

Epiphyseal, that’s taking epiphysis and swapping out the I-S ending, the noun ending, for an adjective ending, that is A-L which means relating to. Epiphyseal means relating to an epiphysis or really relating to that growth upon the end of a long bone. And, of course, a more informal name for epiphyseal plate is growth plate, so that makes sense, right? I mean, it literally has the word growth in there, the phys part of the term.

Another term that’s going to come up in the full episode is the term amnesia. That’s made up of word parts that we use in other scientific terms as well, so let’s break it down. The first word is a word part A, and we see that a lot in scientific terms, and it means without or the absence of. Then the next word part is M-N-E, pronounced nee. Mne means memory or remember. You may recall, or you may remember that this has come up before when we talked about mnemonic devices, that M-N-E word part is at the beginning of the word mnemonic, which means relating to memory. Putting those two word parts that we have so far together, A means without, and M-N-E means memory. Then we get to the S which is just a combining consonant. Those combining vowels or consonants that we see in scientific terms are often used there just to make the word sound a little less awkward, at least to whoever made up the word, it sounds less awkward. Sometimes I think it makes it worse, but that’s just my opinion.

The S is just a combining letter, and then we have the I-A ending, and that, as we all know, means a condition or a state. Putting it all together, it’s the condition of being without memory. Amnesia, condition of being without memory. Then our last term isn’t really made up of word parts. It goes way back in the history of the English language, and it comes from some Germanic words that come down to us, and the original meaning is specks. That makes sense with measles, right? Because the key symptom or sign of measles is all those little specks. I remember those little specs. I remember getting those little specs. I had the measles when I was a kid, and luckily, I had a pretty mild case. Good for me that it imparted me some immunity so that I didn’t get it again later, and we’re going to talk about measles in our full episode.

Sponsored by HAPS

This podcast is sponsored by HAPS, the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society, promoting excellence in the teaching of human anatomy and physiology for over 30 years. Go visit HAPS at theAPprofessor.org/haps. That’s H-A-P-S.

Book Club

Well, I have some good news and some bad news related to The A&P Professor Book Club. I give you the bad news first. I don’t have a new book club recommendation for this preview episode. I will in later preview episodes, just not this. That leads me to the good news. The good news is I want to announce an awesome, spectacular, amazing opportunity, and that is, I want your recommendations to put into The A&P Professor Book Club. Yeah, you’ve read some books that have really helped you as an A&P teacher either by informing you about teaching techniques or strategies, informing you about how students think or learn, giving you some background into various content areas. Maybe giving you some context for the history of what we teach. There’s all kinds of different ways that books can make us better A&P teachers.

I’ve found some that have been very useful for me, but let’s hear some that have been very helpful for you as well. I want you to contribute your recommendations, and you can contribute more than one. If I use your recommendation, then you’ll get an Amazon gift certificate worth $25. If you’re among the first five entries of book club recommendations, I’m going to draw from those first five entries, and one winner will get a Kindle Fire HD 10 tablet. Now, think about your odds there, one in five. I mean, what kind of drawing have you entered lately for free… well, almost for free, you got to do something to earn it, but almost for free and you have those kinds of odds? I mean, that’s fantastic, I think. Of course, I’m the one that made it up, so of course, I would think it’s fantastic.

How do you contribute it? Well, I would prefer these to be audio contributions. If you absolutely can’t do that, well, okay, I might accept it, but you’re going to go down to the bottom of the list there, not to the top. What I would like you to do is… Well, there’s a couple options you have. One is to call in to the podcast hotline, that’s 1-833-LION-DEN, or 1-833-546-6336. Another way to do it is to record your entry, and then email it to podcast@theAPprofessor.org.

Now, I may combine more than one of these entries if they’re recommending the same book, but do check theAPprofessor.org/bookclub first to make sure that you’re not duplicating a book that’s already on the list. For those of you contributing audio files, which I hope is all of you, I’m really, really encouraging all of you to do an audio contribution in which you are addressing all of our listeners and explaining what the book is and why you think it’s helpful, and what maybe one or two of your favorite parts of it are.

Once I get those, I may edit them for clarity, and I’ll certainly edit out any burps or farts or other unpleasant noises, so you don’t have to worry about that. I’ll take care of that. Of course, that’s all within the limits of my feeble audio engineering skills, but I’ll do my best. When you record, keep in mind that it’s best to use the best microphone that you have in a quiet environment. Usually, the recorder built into your smartphone works just fine, but avoid using a speakerphone setting. Especially avoid using a speakerphone in your car while you’re driving in rush hour. Don’t record it during your morning run because your breathing isn’t going to be right. Same thing, don’t record it while you’re biking to work or something like that.

Once again, first five usable entries will go into drawing where one winner will get a Kindle Fire HD 10 tablet. You can listen to your podcasts on there, but you can also listen to movies and do all kinds of other stuff. Everyone’s contribution who gets used in a podcast eventually will get an Amazon gift certificate worth $25. Remember to send it to podcast@theAPprofessor.org, or call in to 1-833-LION-DEN.

Sponsored by AAA

A searchable transcript and a captioned audiogram of this preview episode are funded by AAA, the American Association of Anatomists at anatomy.org.

Well, this is Kevin Patton signing off for now and reminding you to keep your questions and comments coming. Oh, and don’t forget those book club contributions, keep those coming too. Why not call the podcast hotline right now at 1-833-LION-DEN? That’s 1-833-546-6336, or visit us at theAPprofessor.org. I’ll see you down the road.

Last updated: September 24, 2021 at 17:35 pm

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