After studying cells (and looking at various ones with microscopes), the elementary school students went through a Guided Research process as they studied muscles. Student goals included learning about muscles; learning a process for researching information that they would be able to use independently in the future; understanding plagiarism and methods for gathering and synthesizing information that avoid it; and understanding the difference between researching and experimenting.
The elementary school students are about to tackle the Circulatory, the Excretory/Digestive , the Immune , and the Nervous systems. Over the coming four weeks, each student group will rotate through these four topics by joining a different teacher each week. They will learn about:
- The heart, veins and arteries, and the role of exercise for cardiovascular health,
- The digestive organs as well as the excretory role of the skin and the impact of nutrition,
- Viruses, bacteria and lymphatic nodes,
- The protective role of the skin, and
- Nerves, the brain and the effect of stress.
Middle school students have embarked on a research project on a specific part of the human body. Each student chose a topic, and has been employing the “sticky note” research method for taking notes. Students put sticky notes on the pages books and other reference materials that include interesting and/or relevant facts. This builds on the lessons learned in the elementary school, and students will then describe the fact or information in their own words.
How you can support theme learning at home
If you engage in stretching or exercise with your child, consider talking about which muscles you stretch or put to work; consider measuring your heart rate and your pulse.
If you eat chicken, you may want to ask your child to explain to you how the chicken leg works. Consider experimenting with the effects of eating beets on bowel color or eating asparagus on urine smell (active learning, remember?).
If someone in the family is sick, talk about bacterial or viral infections. If your child gets a scrape or a cut, talk about blood and blood cells. If your child experiences a pain, talk about nerves.
If you have a pet, discuss how it is alike and different from humans.
The Human Body theme addresses benchmarks such as:
- Distinguish human body parts (brain, heart, lungs, stomach, muscles, and skeleton) and their basic functions (grade 2).
- Identify the organs in the human body and describe their functions, including the skin, brain, heart, lungs, stomach, liver, intestines, pancreas, muscles and skeleton, reproductive organs, kidneys, bladder, and sensory organs (grade 5).
- Compare and contrast types of infectious agents that may infect the human body, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites (grade 6).