Students Share the PhUn in Physiology

KINGSVILLE - December 01, 2016

Contact: Shelby Purdy
Email: shelby.purdy@tamuk.edu
or Phone: 361-593-4532


During the weeks of November  7 to November 18, Texas A&M University- Kingsville celebrated Physiology Understanding Week (PhUn) as the main event of a Service Learning Initiative.

PhUn week is a K-12 community outreach activity coordinated by the American Physiological Society, a scientific organization with 11,000 members founded in 1887. Last year, this program celebrated 10 years of impacting communities by giving students a chance to meet and learn from research scientists, learn about physiology in their daily lives, and explore physiology as a possible career.

This fall semester, eleven undergraduate students from A&M-Kingsville enrolled in the course “Understanding Human Physiology through Service Learning”, offered by Dr. Maria E. Velez-Hernandez in the Biology Department.  During this class, students learned major concepts on Human Anatomy and Physiology, and then, developed ways to teach these newly acquired concepts to middle school students. With the help of several volunteers, our undergraduates showcased these approaches in two PhUn Week main events.  

Seventh grade students from Bishop Middle School visited the university on November 11 to participate in four hands-on interactive presentations, led by our undergraduate students, and a campus tour.

During these PhUn activities, 91 students and 9 teachers, learned about the cardiovascular, immune, respiratory and nervous system as well as the human senses.  Among other things, they monitored their heart rate before and after exercise and designed lung models using bottles and balloons. They also tested their sense of touch by guessing objects placed inside a mystery box.

On November 18, undergraduate students and Velez visited Solomon P Ortiz Intermediate School in Robstown. There, they presented to 210 fifth graders and six teachers.

Both PhUn week activities allowed the university to build local partnerships between science teachers and student scientists. Velez said these kind of engaging activities served as a platform for students to reach out to our communities and to the next generation of scientists.