Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Human: The World Within

The Lessons of Phyz materials I've posted to TPT started in the realm of physics. That's been my primary teaching assignment since 1986. So it's what I know the best. But I have also taught earth science, and I've always loved astronomy. So I have video question sets in that realm, too. Once I retired from the classroom, I dipped a toe into chemistry, and found some groovy documentaries there, too. More recently, I've come across two video telecourse series and have posted question sets for them. 

But biology. Biology is the most heavily enrolled high school science course there is. But if there's a 13-part, 26-part, or (like The Mechanical Universe) 28-part or 52-part telecourse covering high school or introductory college biology, it eludes me.

I recently discovered this miniseries, though. And it seems to cover many of the basics through a contemporary lens. It's hosted by Jad Abumrad of Radiolab fame. So I ran with it. Some vignettes chaffed against my skeptical sensibilities, but I decided the judges will allow it. Each of the six episodes runs 53 minutes. As is sometimes the case in documentaries produced by one network then acquired by another, the PBS sequence and the Netflix sequence do not align. Which is to say the episodes stand on their own well enough.

Take a deep-dive into the universe that’s inside each and every one of us, by exploring a shared biology that we often don't take the time to appreciate, or understand. Heart, brain, eyes, blood, tears; "Human" uncovers not only the science behind how our bodies work, but how what's inside powers every moment of what we do out in the world. Personal profiles of people from around the globe become entry points into deeper stories about how the body's many systems function.

Go on a journey with parents who are preparing for babies to see how our bodies create and sustain new life. Through their stories, we learn about what is fundamentally shared and absolutely unique about the experience of birth.

Dive into the world of an ice climber, a bus driver, a woman in labor and a senior dance club to show how the human heart and the circulatory system power our physical and emotional lives and create the pulsing rhythm of our world.

Through the worlds of a religious faster, an ultra-marathon runner, a farmer and a young girl beating allergies, go deep into the world of the human gut, which processes the fuel our bodies need to keep going.

Look at a nature survivalist, rancher twins, a doctor who survived Ebola and the recipient of a cutting-edge cancer therapy to uncover the wildly advanced biology that keeps us alive against all odds.

Dive into the stories of a pairs figure skating team, a perfumer, a cave explorer and a musician to decipher how different ways of sensing the world all create their own vivid and unique picture.

Through the lens of a boxer, a first responder, a cell tower climber and a man with a bionic limb, go deep into the universe of the most powerful machine on earth: the human brain and the vast nervous system it controls.

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