Shhh!!! Sneaking in the Standards
The arrival of spring can mean spring fever for both teachers and students. Teachers have the tough job of keeping students interested and engaged in the midst of spring break, standardized testing, and the countdown to the end of the school year. Even as the year is winding down, teachers have plenty of opportunities to bring valuable learning to their students in unexpected ways. This week’s theme on the Gateway is the human body, a topic that can be adapted to many different subjects and grade levels. A study of the human body can include different types of activities including active games, art, writing, and scientific investigations.
I hope this post will show you how easy it is to incorporate high quality, ready-made lesson plans to create memorable learning experiences even when you are short on time.
The following examples show the depth and variety of resources available for one very specific topic. Just imagine the variety you will find for all the different topics you will teach throughout the year! I hope you will be able to use one of the resources to grab your students’ attention and get them really thinking about the human body and how all the systems work together as a smooth machine. Each example has a unique way of presenting the human body and doesn’t take specialty supplies or equipment. They are already aligned to state standards, giving you a tangible way of measuring what you are teaching.
Joann mentioned one idea in her column where students go outside and draw their body outline and all its systems with chalk. I like the idea for its simplicity and I like how it gives students both a chance to get outside and to be creative. This is something you could do with your students when you have some extra time during the day. It’s fun, and you can get a really good idea of how well they understand the systems of the body. For a full explanation of the activity, please see Draw Inside the Human Body. The lesson was written for preschool through third grade, but could definitely be adapted for older students. Big kids like to draw, too! It’s neat to see how students picture their different body systems. This would be a nice introduction or culminating activity for a unit.
Another neat idea is to have students create wanted posters for different organs in the body. The Organ Trail: Human Body Wanted Poster is a creative way for students to present their research on the human body. This challenges students’ creativity and requires them to do careful research. The novelty of spinning the information into a wanted poster makes it more interesting and fun for the students (and the grader, too!). Another interesting twist on a research project about the human body is The Human Body Corporation, where students write a job description from the point of view of their chosen organ.
My Body Felt Board is another resource that was designed for younger students. In this activity, students put together a human body on a felt board. Like the chalk idea, I think this activity is ideal for young students. I also think that older students would have fun and learn a lot from the exercise of putting the pieces of a felt body back together again. There are also online versions of this activity and printable outlines of each system for students to label.
One online site I have mentioned before is Your Gross and Cool Body. While you are studying the human body, let your students find answers to some of their grossest science questions. This site teaches all about snot, sweat, and all kinds of other “gross” human body stuff. I find that students often get the most excited about things that are either gross or weird…who knows why!
I wish I could share all of the cool human body resources I have found here, but my column would be way too long. If you search for “human body” on the Gateway, you will be sure to find something you will be able to use. If you know of a great resource that is not part of the Gateway, please let us know. Our expert librarian, Joann is always searching for stellar new resources to add to the collection.