Active learning integral to exploration of Human Body theme

Our Human Body theme is starting this week. It will last 10 weeks and will be organized mostly by systems as follows:

  • Week 1, Sept. 16–29: Cells

  • Week 2, Sept. 23–27: Muscular System
  • Weeks 3–6, Sept. 30–Oct. 25: Circulatory, Excretory/Digestive, Immune, Nervous Systems

  • Week 7, Oct. 28–Nov. 1, Skeletal System
  • Week 8, Nov. 4–8: Respiratory System
  • Week 9, Nov. 11–15: Reproductive System
  • Week 10, Nov. 18–22: Human Body books to be shared with families at our Thanksgiving Feast on Monday, Nov. 25.

Following our "active learning" motto, we intend for the students to experience being biologists and anatomists during this theme. In particular, we plan to use and have students work with and/or observe actual tissue. This will include getting and looking at human cheek cells the first week; examining uncooked chicken leg/thighs to look at joints, muscles and tendons the second week; observing an actual sheep’s brain during weeks 3–6 (but dissecting a cauliflower brain model); and observing how a sheep's heart/circulatory system works together with its lungs/respiratory system during week 8.

We plan on talking with respect about the dead animals the organs will come from and handling the organs with respect as well. Teachers at ease with the process will do all the manipulating of the sheep organs. Students will only observe. We expect this will generate a lot of interest but also understand that some students will prefer to opt out and engage in related activities that do not involve real animal tissue.

Please let Sophie know if you don’t wish for your child to be offered these opportunities so we can plan our groups accordingly. In the past, we've only experienced problems when a child really wanted to participate but his or her family did not allow it. We therefore ask that you help make your child comfortable with whatever option you choose.

As always, consider offering your expertise and/or your ideas to enhance this theme.