Human Body Unit

The past few weeks we have been doing a human health unit for science. The first week we did some stuff with the senses. Then we did a week on nutrition using a free kit I got in the mail from here: . I didn't really use the lesson plans, but the printables and food diary and such. Then since we were in a little bit of a dull period, I decided to toss all but a very easy phonics/reading lesson and use the rest of the day for studying the human body. So here is what we did this week: (1st grade and under)

Day 1: CELLS:

Activity 1: Build a wall to demonstrate smaller objects making larger objects; dicuss uses for walls, and certain blocks are used to make certain types to walls. Then we discussed how our walls were like our body (cells --> people)

Activty 2: Look at pictures of various cells (book: Cells and Tissues) Then draw and label the 3 basic parts to a cell.

Activty 3: Look at cell under the microscope. We looked at a leaf, and I showed them how to collect skin cells. Care and parts of the microscope was included here.

Activity 4: Cell division using playdough. We used this for math I had them estimate how many times a cell would divide to get 32 cells. Then we divided our playdough and predicted how many we would have after the next division. We only made it to 32, but did the math up to 10 divisions.

Activity 5: Baking. My kids love to bake and it was just another way to equate smaller parts making up larger objects. We made flat bread. I had them all look at the ingredients under the magnifying glass to see the "cells" and we dicussed how the cells->tissue->organ->system->body chain.

We are also making a lapbook for this unit so in the afternoon we had made a minibook of 6 major body systems using clipart of the DK website. He labeled the systems and wrote the major organ for each one.

Day 2: The Skeletal System

Activity 1: (While listening to the Bone Song, you know...the foot bone's connected to the leg bone...) We cut out a moveable skeleton and named the bones as we put it together. Here is the skeleton we made, it is put together with those little metal brads.

Activity 2: Label the parts of the body and the major bones of those parts. This was for our lapbook. I don't remember where I got the print out for the labeling, just something I came across while searching.

Activity 3: Why is calcium important? We reviewed the scientific method and used it to determine the anwer this question. Each of the boys had a chicken bone- and they observed it for a bit, tried to bend it, etc. Then we made our hypothesis as to why we need calcium and what would happen if we lost it all. Then we stuck the bones little bottles and filled them up with vinegar. This experiment is still going, and they were excited that the tips were bending today.

Activity 4: Count the bones. We started at the head and I let them count each part and write down how many bones. Once we got to the feet we added them all up (great review for my 6 yr old in adding more than 2 numbers) Then we went off to research the actual number. We read the book Bones and it has some nice x-ray pictures where they could see the bones, and it listed the number if bones in the head and hands, but no grand total. So we found another book Why Does My Heart Beat? which gave the answer:206. Much higher than their guesses. Then we discussed why....such as he counted the spine as one, and we looked at why that wasn't true, etc (we made a matchbook with this question too)

Activty 5: Baking again. For dinner we made Skeleton Pretzels. I used just a basic soft pretzel recipe and divided into 4 pieces and I had a picture of the skeleton on the table. So they made thier head, ribs, attempted a pelvis. My 6 yr old was the only one to insist on making the seperate parts for the arms and legs with the joinst. Then we added our toppings and baked. They loved that.

Day 3: The Nervous System

Actvity 1: Build a simple circuit. We used one of our various electrical kits. And discussed how the batteries are like the brain and the wires are like the nerves. And what would happen if the nerves were broken.

Activity 2: Along the same lines as above. We built a train track with the station at the top and multiple endings near the bottom. A train was placed at each ending. Then Percy had to travel to a different train to relay info. Then we started to break the track. What happened?? They got into this, and had a lot of questions. Esp once they discovered it worked both ways- that the train couldn't get back to the station once the track was back. We talked about nerve damage and para/quadrapalegic, etc.

Activity 3: Play concentration and exercise your brain. We used trains again, I lined a bunch up and had them close their eyes and I would take one. They had to tell me what was gone.

Activity 4: Play 'pass it on' to show how info travels down the nerves to the brain. We all stood in a line and I told the person in front of me what I wanted, he told the next, he told the next, etc...

Activty 5: Build-a-Brain. We made this brain hat: and discussed the different parts of the brain and what their purpose is.

Day 4: Circulatory and Respiratory Systems

Activity 1: Listen to your heart at rest and during activity. We have a stethescope from a previous hospital stay so we used that. Then we turned on the music and ran for a few minutes and listened again. We also noted how the breathing changed

Activity 2: Then we read and discussed the path of blood through the heart in DK's BODY book.

Activtity 3: Make Blood. This was a little gross looking but they had fun making it. Using the following recipe: Candy Red Hots - 3/4 cup (red blood cells - 44%), White Jelly Beans - 1/4 cup (white blood cells - 0.5%), Candy Sprinkles - 2 tablespoons (platelets - 0.5%),Corn Syrup - 1 1/4 cups (plasma - 55%) And we added each (after a brief into to percentages) and talked about what it was and what it's job was. They tried to eat some but didn't care for anything but the jelly beans....I'm glad- who wants their kids eating pure corn syrup?

Activity 4: Make a blood clot. We used 1-in paper pieces in white, 1/2 in in red and 1/4 in in pink for the WBC, RBC and platelets respectivly. Then I cut a hole in a piece of paper with strips of tape facing up (protein strands). Then we tossed the paper pieces in- mostly pink with a couple white and red thrown in to. It helped that my oldest had a splinter the night before and it had gotten a little pus filled so he could relate well to the WBC in the clot.

Activity 5: Human Body Puzzle. We have this and do it often but it was a nice addition, it is a 100 piece floor puzzle by Melissa and Doug.

Activity 6: What happens if we don't get enough oxygen? This was our experiment for the day. We first talked about what would happen if your cells used up all the oxygen and their wasn't anymore. I told them fire burns oxygen too, and asked what would happen if it burned all of it's oxygen. Then we lit a candle in a jar and closed the jar. The flame went out in less than a min. Of course what they found more interesting was the fact that the jar was sealed when the flame went out, which led to a talk about the canning process.

Activity 7: Make a lung. We made 'lungs' using a 2L bottle, 1 large balloon,cut, 2 balloons, some playdough, 2 straws. Then we inflated and deflated the lung-baloons by pushing or pulling on the diaphragm balloon.

Day 5: Digestive System

Activity 1: Read and discuss the process of digestion and the amount of time it takes to pass from organ to organ (DK's BODY book).

Activity 2: Play Roll through the Digestive System game from here: (being boys they enjoyed the ending when they said that their game pieces were....well you know what happens at the end....)

Activity 3: Observe chewing. I had them sit facing each other and chew a piece of bread without swallowing. Every little bit I would call out to open their mouths so they could see what was happening inside their mouths.

Activity 4: Creative writing. My older 2 drew/wrote a page on 'What happened to my [enter food]? 2 sentences were all my 6 yr old could produce, so the food got chewed and into the stomach, but his handwriting was awesome! And he worked his senteces so he could spell the words.

Activity 5: In the kitchen again. Make a smoothie, in our handy dandy stomach, I mean blender. The visualize the process of liquifying the solid foods for absorbtion.

I was tired to today so we didn't do quite as much, but over all it was a good week with a lot less fights about 'school'. I am planning on going on...we still have to cover skin, and maybe more in depth about the inner workings of the sense organs, and germs and disease. But that will come next week.


  1. so glad I found your blog through pinterest

  2. This is very helpful, thank you! I have you pinned so I can refer back to this as we go through our human study these next couple of months.

  3. Great ideas for teaching kids how the body works!