Archive for the ‘ Human Body Unit ’ Category

Human Body Activities – Digestive System

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Last week, I was out of commission and prepared some posts while I recovered.  I picked out some old posts that might be of interest. This is the last of these posts:

Some the posts that receive the most hits were my human body posts from last spring. Here are some of the activities and worksheets we did last year…

Last week was a quiet one. The public school kids had their spring break, so we had activities and play dates each day. We did extremely short days of school. We did start off our human body unit, though.

Once a year, we usually learn about one of the human body systems. Last year, for example, we learned about the circulatory system. This year we are going to study the digestive system.

Overview of the Human Body Systems

We started with a fun album called the Human Body Rock (we borrowed it from the library, but it’s available at Amazon) that we listened to as we made our two trips to the doctors last week (for LD’s allergy shots). The first song goes over the body systems in a fun, general way and we used that as a spring-board for talking about all the systems.

I made this matching page of all the body systems and we did that one morning to add to their science notebooks:

Download the free worksheet: Body Systems Matching Page

I also made a chart and we wrote down some of the lyrics to the song.

  • immune system — defends our body
  • skeletal system — all your bones
  • excretory system — cleans our body of poisons
  • muscular system — all your muscles
  • endocrine system is in control of the thyroid glands
  • digestive system — mouth and stomach
  • respiratory system — delivers your oxygen
  • nervous system — is your control center
  • circulatory system — is your life pump that keeps your blood flowing

Download the free Human Body Systems Chart:

If the album,  Human Body Rock, is not available at your local library, it is available at Amazon. You can even just download the one song (“Body System Rocks” and/or listen to a preview) for 99 cents. It’s cute and catchy and great for kids ages 4-10.

Related Posts That Might Interest You:

  • Choking, An Important Lesson for the Kids - A lesson about swallowing, the epiglottis and performing abdominal thrusts. Make your own (moveable) epiglottis with the printout to show how food is prevented from entering the windpipe:

Remember, if you think you missed some recent posts, you can check out my Homeschool Den Facebook page. I put up a quick synopsis my posts so it’s a quick way to browse through and click on recent posts you may have missed.

I also have a pretty extensive set of categories here on the blog — everything from freebies, math, science, language arts to specific units, to planning and preparation and more. You’ll find that in the right sidebar.

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Human Body System – Heart and Circulatory System Activities

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

This week, I’m out of commission. I’m having some pretty major ear surgery this week and I plan to lock the bedroom door and let my amazing and wonderful in-laws watch the kids while I recover. In the meantime, I wanted to leave you with something to look through. I picked out some old posts that might be of interest:

Our study of the heart and circulatory system started with a listen to our own heartbeats. We measured our heart rates when resting and after walking, running and skipping. Then using a graph put out by Texas heart institute (4th grade curriculum, p. 25), we graphed our results.

Heart as a Pump:

We did this experiment: When your heart beats it acts like a tennis ball filled with water. The heart muscle squeezes blood out of its way. Between beats it goes back to its original shape. The human heart creates enough pressure to squirt blood 30 feet. The kids had a tough time actually squeezing the tennis ball, but they got the idea.

Our bodies have 5.6 liters of blood. We measured that out in a big pot:

Circulatory System Activity:

This is how Harold looked before we started. I named him to pique the kids’ interest!

We sat down together and I explained how blood that has no oxygen heads to the heart and into the lungs. There is picks up oxygen (I said it more along the lines of “OH MY GET ME SOME OXYGEN QUIIIiiiiiCK!”). Then I drew the lines in red showing how the oxygenated blood heads back to the heart and then gets squeezed out to the body. I showed how some blood travels to the brain, some to the arms, fingers, legs, toes, etc. etc.) The blood drops off oxygen and then returns in veins (blue lines) back to the heart where it is sent off to the lungs to pick up more oxygen.

After we drew the lines — arteries and veins — together, I got two tiles. I put the blue tile on top and the red tile on the bottom. I traveled from the heart as a blue tile (with red underneath) to the lungs where I flipped over and became the red sided tile. Then I ‘drove’ my red tile back through the heart and out into the body. I decided to go to the brain to drop of oxygen where I flipped my red tile back to blue. The blue tile traveled along the blue veins back to the heart and then to the lungs.

After we all took a number of turns doing that, we piled blue/red or red/blue tiles all over Harold’s body to show the path of blood.

I searched everywhere for a heart-circulatory activity and never found one… but this activity that somehow jumped into my head turned out to be a HUGE hit in our house!! The kids even spent a long time “teaching” Dad what they had learned!

One last picture of this activity:

Heart and Circulatory Activity

Blood Activity:

Another day we learned a bit more about blood. We cut open a chicken leg bone (before baking it for lunch) and examined the bone marrow. We had read in one of our books that bone marrow is where blood cells are formed. We took a close look at the bone marrow, poked and prodded.

Then we “made” our own blood. The types of cells made in bone marrow include red cells, white cells and platelets. We talked again about the basic function of these cells.

  • the fluid is called plasma (corn syrup)
  • red cells carry the oxygen (red jelly beans)
  • white cells fight infection (white jelly beans)
  • platelets help to clot and form scabs (rice)
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Free CDC Lesson Plans Grades 4-8 — Science Ambassador Program

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Over the summer, I stumbled across the Center for Disease Control’s Science Ambassador Program. What a great find!  It has a series of lessons (maybe mini-unit would be a better term for them) on all kinds of various topics with challenging activities for students to learn about. Topics include — autism, birth defect, Hantavirus, HIV/Aids… and many more. What I like about their lessons is that they require the students to research and find out more on their topic… and then the students are given a scenario (or series of scenarios) where they have to apply what they learned. Each unit has about 25-30 pages of materials.

We decided to start off the school year doing one of those research units on the West Nile Virus. You can choose from two levels — Middle School and High School. We loosely followed the Middle School Lessons: Entomologists on Safari: On the Hunt for Mosquitoes. I handed the kids a lot of the printouts and basically told them to read through it, do the research and that their final projects (a poster) was due by Friday at 2pm.


I really hadn’t been that hands-off with a research project before, but the CDC lessons were so well laid out with guide questions and instructions for the poster that I really wanted to see how the kids would handle it. For example, on one page there were guide questions such as

1. What are the symptoms of West Nile virus?
2. How does West Nile virus spread?
3. How soon do infected persons get sick?
4. What is the treatment for West Nile virus?
5. How can West Nile virus be prevented?

And, the lesson plans included specific links to where they could find out more.  DD and LD took it in stride and immediately set out to do some research and start working on the poster. I let them work for several days… and they really did a lot of work find out some of the basics about the virus and how it spreads…

Then one morning several days into the project I took the opportunity to talk about some of the conventions of non-fiction writing.

We looked at some non-fiction books and talked about using different types of print to highlight important/key points and some of the other features used in non-fiction writing like tables, lists, graphs, cutaways, comparisons, charts, diagrams, maps and things like that.  I had them look at their own poster and asked them to think about how they could make it more visually appealing… and what graphics could help the reader understand the material better.

They really took a lot of that information on — and added to their poster. Aside from that mini-lesson, the kids did everything themselves.  At 2pm on Friday, they had to stand up and give a presentation on what they had learned and answer questions from their audience (–me!).

Overall, I think they spent about 7 hours working on their own doing research and writing things up.

They learned a lot about the process of researching, presenting information clearly, sticking to the important key points — and making sure they could speak about their topic knowledgeably.  I was pretty proud of the hard work they put into this unit.

Oh–and by the way–Auntie G out in California had West Nile Virus about a year ago and was SO SO SO sick for a LONG, LONG time!! She’s better now, but it took her doctors a long time to determine just why she was so ill.

Be sure to visit the CDC website — Science Ambassador Program – to find out more about the free science units they have available for Middle School and High School Students.

Meanwhile… ED (age 5) begged to do a poster project as well.  I happened to have some wild cat pictures I had once printed out (for a lapbook that never got made!)… pictures of leopards, tigers, lions, etc.  She cut out all the pictures and then we worked together to find out where these cats live and what these wild cats ate. I helped her write her own mini-book that gave a couple examples of what each of the wild cats ate. She also stood up and “presented” her project to the others. :)

Anyway, I wanted to share her “poster” because I so often get asked what ED is doing while the others are working.  She almost always wants to participate and do her own work. (And when she doesn’t… that’s totally okay too!!)

Above, I mentioned lapbooks — you might want to click here to see some of the lapbooks that the kids have actually made!




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Digestive System Free Worksheets

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

The past couple of days I shared all of our hands on activities in our study of the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines… everything from recreating the muscle movement along the esophagus to making fake vomit and measuring out the length of our digestive tract.  Here are the worksheets I made for my kids to go along with all of those activities.

I actually did a lot of those hands-on activities before we worked on these sheets… I just slipped information in as we did activities so that when we went over the sheets, most of the information was already familiar to them.

A good overall review sheet for the kids was the first page.  They checked off the digestive system part (such as the esophagus) and colored that same part in on their page.

The next day, we measured out the digestive tract. As they cut a piece of yarn, they colored that portion the same color on their sheet.

The next couple of days, we went over more detailed information about the digestive system. We’ll obviously have to come back to this in a few years when we rotate back to this material again. As you can see, there wasn’t a whole lot of writing so my daughter (7) was just fine with them.

The last thing they did was this matching page which gave a brief description of each part of the digestive system and the organs associated with it (it’s on page 3 of the packet):

Here’s a glimpse of the digestive system packet pages if you are interested in downloading them. This packet is actually 9 pages long, but the answer sheets are not shown below:

Digestive System Packet — Stomach, Intestines, Digestive Organs

If you are from a school, you will probably have to use your private google account to access this file. Most school email systems won’t allow access to google docs and won’t let me add you to the “share” settings.  You can also email me to request the file and I’ll do my best to get it to you. ~Liesl

We didn’t get to this activity yet (we were going to do it yesterday, but got carried away with our activities in our Africa Unit), but since this is my last post about the digestive system I thought I’d mention these cute human body stickers I bought at Oriental Trading. It was $8.00 for a pack of 12. The body is on an 11×17 piece of paper and the stickers are quite big.  I thought the set was pretty cute, though a little on the pricey side. Still, we did a set last year and will do another this year… so over the course of 4 years I guess it’s not so bad:


Other posts in our study of the Digestive System:  This was the last post of our unit. We’ve now officially finished our human body unit for this year! Here were some of the activities and worksheets we worked on as we studied the digestive system the past month or so:

  • Digestive System: It All Starts in the Mouth: We spent time looking at the important role the mouth has in digestion. We did some fun, hands-on activities related to teeth and chewing.  We also filled out a few pages for our science notebooks.  You can click on the link above for the first free download about the digestive system –the mouth/teeth — and you’ll see some of our hands-on activities.
  • Choking, An Important Lesson for the Kids - This was a lesson about swallowing, the epiglottis and performing abdominal thrusts. We made our own (movable) epiglottis with the printout to show how food is prevented from entering the windpipe:
I hope someone finds this useful! ~Liesl
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Hands On Activity: How Long is the Digestive Tract?

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Digestive Tract:

So just how long is our digestive tract? We set out to find out with this activity. We measured out different colors of yarns for each part of the digestive system.

The page you see (above right) was in the Digestive System Pack I made for the kids. I’ll share that with you tomorrow.

After we had all the bits measured and tied together, we went out to the driveway to see just how long it really is!

The kids then spent time, trying to lay all that out on their own body.

I made outlines of the kids bodies on butcher paper (we did this the day before).

Then they carefully laid out the yarn in the appropriate areas:

LD decided he wanted to draw the parts of the digestive tract on his body, though he did it in pencil so it’s a bit difficult to see:

We went over quite a bit of information as we did all these activities. You can see a couple of those pages in the photos above. We read books from the library and then at the end of the unit, went over the information for their notebook pages.  I’ll share that pack with you tomorrow.


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