Wednesday, January 26, 2011

First Grade Fun: The Human Body

{I did some posts for a human body unit over at the old site, and I am moving the resources over here.}

I found this large skeleton print-out for Bill to put together. I hooked the parts together with brads (so Bill could make him move) and we hung him on the wall. We also happened to have a book about skeletons, The Visual Dictionary of the Skeleton, which was fun to look at and taught us about skeletons of different animals; you can surely find something at the library.

As an into to the human body unit and to pique Bill's interest, we watched the Magic School Bus videos for Inside the Human Body, and did some activities in Janice Van Cleave's Let's Play & Find Out About the Human Body

I taped several pieces of printer paper together (using butcher paper or a roll of art paper would be better) and had Bill lie down on it. I then traced the outline of his body. We hung this body-man on the wall next to our skeleton and as we covered each major organ in the unit, we printed it out, colored it, and added it into our body outline. You can see in the photo that we've added the heart. Note: if you use the organ print-outs I have linked, I found the heart a bit big for Bill's body, so I resized it in my printer settings window to a 5x7 and that worked better.

 You can see from the photo which colors to use where.  The arteries are red and they carry oxygen to the rest of the body.  The veins are blue and they carry carbon dioxide from the organs back to the heart.  The heart then pumps this used blood to the lungs, where they take out the carbon dioxide and put in fresh oxygen, and the cycle goes on.

The pdf for the lungs can be found here and here.  As with the heart, you should be able to size it appropriately to your child in your printer's settings box.  I printed it out at 75% and the lungs seemed a bit small over the heart, but I think they will do.  

Glue the tracheas on top of one another to connect the lungs.  When you hang the lungs, only attach the trachea so you can lift them and see organs underneath them.  I actually used "teacher tack" to attach the organs.  It is white sticky stuff that teachers use to hang posters on walls without damaging either.  It looks like (and I guess behaves like!) gum.  It is sold in education stores.  

Anyhow, you can use balloons to demonstrate how the lungs work as they fill with air and then breathe out.  Air comes in through nose and mouth, goes down trachea (windpipe) and through the bronchial tubes to the lungs.  The lungs take carbon dioxide from used blood that the heart sends them, and refreshes blood with oxygen to send back out to the body via the heart.

You can find the pdf for the brain that goes on the human body poster here.  I found a great human body unit at CurrClick for just 50 cents!  It has 164 pages, and is terrific! I also found recipes for making a model of the human brain at a Neuroscience for Kids site. That will be fun for us to all do together.  Finally, I found a really neat site called Brain Explorers that has different activities/lesson plans for the brain & skull, reaction time, and neurotransmission.  These lessons will give a deeper understanding of the brain's workings and should be interesting for all of the kids.

You can find the printable for the kidneys here. The bladder goes with the kidneys, so you can find the printable here. We colored the kidneys dark red and the bladder light red. Glue the kidneys on mid-torso. The left kidney actually sits a tad higher than the right. Glue the bladder down near where the legs join together. You can see where they go in the photo above.

The kidneys are the filters in the body. Blood goes to the kidneys and they separate liquid waste out and send it to the bladder.  Liquid that can still be used by the body is sent back to the blood. The waste is urine, and when the bladder is full, the brain sends a message to the body to empty it. Each kidney is about the size of your fist; and they are anchored to the back of your body with connective tissue.

For older kids, there is a great informational section on kidneys with great pics, info, and even videos at How Stuff Works.  Here is a handout for upper elementary with info about the kidneys with a worksheet to go with it.

Adding the stomach to our body poster paves the way to discuss digestion, and the intestines go up as well. Find the stomach printable here, the small intestines here, and the large intestines here. Telling the kids about the incredible length of the intestines is one thing. But show them? 

Oh, fun! I found this idea in an old Mailbox magazine. You need four colors of yarn, and you cut them to the typical length of the digestive system parts. So cut one color to 25cm for the esophagus, one to 25cm for the stomach, one to 480cm for the small intestine, and one to 150cm for the large intestine. Knot each piece together in the order given, and label each part with a piece of masking tape folded over the yarn and stuck to itself to create a tab. Now the kids can see just how impressive their digestive systems are!

I also found an experiment that sort of makes the digestive process a more concrete concept to learn about. You need 1C vinegar (to be digestive juices), 2 ziplock bags (to be stomachs), a sugar cube (to be food not broken down), 1/2tsp sugar (to be food that has been chewed and broken down), and a timer. Can you figure out the experiment? 

Have Fun!

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