In keeping with our theme of the year, “Connections”, the Nenes (1st & 2nd Grade) studied the connections within our own fascinating bodies. Before we began, I searched for new and interesting resources to add to the unit. Most of what I found were cut-and-paste body templates. This would not do for our hands-on kiddos! We ditched the templates and jumped right in!
To start off, we found a surplus roll of butcher paper, stretched out on it and we traced ourselves. The first system we studied was our skeletal system. It was mind-blowing for everyone to learn that they each have 206 bones with 54 of them being in their hands alone. To represent these bones, we cut white felt and glued our ‘bones’ to our ‘bodies’. Some students used full sheets of felt and created a rib cage to house their heart and lungs.
The following week, we dove into a study of our circulatory system. Again, minds-blown -- our circulatory system (if stretched out) could wrap around the planet 2.5 times. Unable to match that length of red yarn for each of our models, we added colored coffee filters for hearts and short lengths of red yarn to represent the flow of blood.
Our digestive system was the most amusing system for us to research. Human bodies do some pretty interesting (and yucky) things that cause many giggles in a first and second grade classroom. I often had a hard time keeping a straight face (don’t tell the kiddos!) Each student was given a 20-30 foot length of tubular metal ribbon which they did not actually believe could represent something inside their own bodies. Nine pairs of shocked eyes looked at me when I told them it was accurate and needed to be attached to their models. What? How? It is too long! But they did it!
We later learned about our nervous and respiratory systems, adding green yarn for nerves, egg noodles for brains, and bubble wrap for lungs. Our final products were hung like dancing puppets from the ceiling in our room with voice-typed research on their backs. Everyone proudly showed off their models to visitors of our STEM fair. It was wonderful to share our exploration with friends and family!
PS. Your strongest muscle is your heart & your largest is your bottom!