A 3D Urinary System Lesson Plan: Creating Interactive Presentations


For this lesson, we’ll be using Human Anatomy Atlas to walk students through the gross and microanatomy of the urinary system. All you need is the Atlas application on your device—it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3… and 4.

1 – Launch Atlas

Launch Human Anatomy Atlas and adjust the settings to your preferences (language, color, etc.) The “show gestures” option may be useful as a visual guide when you present.

2 – Select and save views

For this lesson, you’ll need to save three views.

In the Views section of the app, scroll down to the urinary system subsection. Launch the view titled “Renal Vasculature (F)” — the “F” stands for female.

GIF from Human Anatomy Atlas 2023 +

Select the renal arteries to highlight them. Zoom in and rotate the model until you have the perfect view. You’ll be able to manipulate the model as you present it to your students, so unlike a traditional slideshow, you’re not stuck with a static image. Once you’re done, click on the “Save View” icon in the bottom tool bar.

For the next two views, you’ll need to go back to the main screen and navigate to the microanatomy section.

Launch the "Nephrons" view. Once you’ve adjusted the model to your specifications and highlighted the nephrons, save the view.

The third and last is the “Simplified Nephrons” view from the microanatomy section. Highlight the convoluted tubules and save the view.

urinary2GIF from Human Anatomy Atlas.

You're now ready to link these views and create your tour! If you want to add more or different views, you can always create and save new views, and edit the tour to do so.

3 – Create a tour

Navigate back to the main screen and open the “Tours” section. Click "Start" and select the views you saved in the order you want them to appear. For this lesson, the order should be: Renal Vasculature (F), Nephrons, and Simplified Nephrons. Name the tour and save it. 

urinary3GIF from Human Anatomy Atlas 2023 +.

4 – Teach!

For a multimedia lesson, you can incorporate videos and images from our Learn Site. Once you have all the supplemental materials ready, you’re all set to teach!

Below is an example of how you can teach the male and female urinary systems. 

Open the tour and use the first view to show how blood enters the kidney through the renal arteries where they then branch into many capillaries inside the kidney. You can zoom in and rotate the model as needed to give students a more dynamic look at the structures.

Select the arrow to move to the next view and use the microanatomy model to explain the ~1 million nephrons in each of the kidneys. Each one filters waste out of the blood and produces urine. Zoom in and show your students the glomerulus to illustrate where filtration begins. Highlight the convoluted tubules where filtrate passes through.

urinary4-1GIF from Human Anatomy Atlas 2023 +. 

If you want to get more detailed, play this 10-second animation that shows the filtration membrane.

Animation from Anatomy & Physiology.

Use the third view in the tour to show the flow of filtrate from the glomerular capsule to the renal tubule. As fluids flow through the renal tubules, vital substances are reabsorbed into adjacent capillaries. Concurrently, waste products pass from the capillaries into the renal tubules and move as urine into the collecting duct.

You can use another video from our Learn Site about the secretion of waste and absorption of nutrients.

Animation from Anatomy & Physiology.

Now, return to the gross anatomy view and show the path of urine out of the kidney as it moves through the renal pelvis, down the ureter into the bladder, and finally out of the body through the urethra.

Next Steps

If you’ve covered all the parts of the kidney with your students, navigate to “Quizzes” from the main screen and select the “Kidneys” quiz under the urinary system section. You can ask different students to come up and select the correct structure.

urinary5GIF from Human Anatomy Atlas 2023 +.


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