Learning (by) osmosis: An approach to teaching osmolarity and tonicity

Predrag Vujovic, Michael Chirillo, Dee U. Silverthorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Understanding osmolarity and tonicity is one of the more challenging endeavors undertaken by students of the natural sciences. We asked students who completed a course in animal physiology to submit an essay explaining what they found most perplexing about this subject, and what in-class activities proved most useful to them. Students had difficulty distinguishing osmolarity from tonicity and determining tonicity based on the solution's composition. The most useful activities were questions requiring simultaneous consideration of both osmolarity and tonicity. Problems that require calculating osmotic concentration and the volumes of body fluid compartments after administration or loss of various solutions emphasize the significance of osmolarity and tonicity in the context of systemic homeostasis and clinical medicine. We hope that our approach to teaching osmolarity and tonicity will prove useful to physiology lecturers who are looking for new ways of introducing this complicated topic to their health professions students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)626-635
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in physiology education
Volume42
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Osmosis
Osmolar Concentration
Teaching
Learning
Students
Body Fluid Compartments
Natural Science Disciplines
Health Occupations
Clinical Medicine
Homeostasis

Keywords

  • IV fluid therapy
  • Osmolality
  • Osmolarity
  • Osmosis
  • Tonicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

Cite this

Learning (by) osmosis : An approach to teaching osmolarity and tonicity. / Vujovic, Predrag; Chirillo, Michael; Silverthorn, Dee U.

In: Advances in physiology education, Vol. 42, No. 4, 01.01.2018, p. 626-635.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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