Day 49: Body Systems and Key Questions

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Science 8 – We are doing a short unit on Body Systems.  For this unit I have come up with 3 Essential Questions (called “Key Questions” for the students).  The key questions are:

  • Why does an apple look different when it goes in your body than when it comes out?
  • How are our body systems organized to ensure good health?
  • How do the circulatory and respiratory systems work together?

The unit plan (student version) can be downloaded from here: Body Systems Unit Plan

Students are showing good progress in creating answers to the first question.  However, when I ask the students to reflect on what they’ve learned and how it pertains to question 2, they get stumped.  Like, really stumped.  With a lot of prompting I started to coax answers from the students.  “Well, what happens if your small intestine is shortened?”  They finally decided that this would decrease the amount of nutrients that are absorbed.

While working through some new material on the circulatory system, I asked the students to come up to the side wall and add a sticky note to the key questions whenever they discovered a new idea that seemed to fit.  I think this activity is worthwhile, but we didn’t get very far before it was the end of the class.

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Day 41: Body Systems

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Science 8 Students shifted to a new unit on body systems.  First we went over the overall plan and key questions for the unit, and students brainstormed their own questions that they’d like to inquire about.  Next, I had the students trace out a body and try to place/sketch as many organs and body systems possible.  This activity helps cement questions that they may be curious about.  For example, while all the kids have heard about kidneys, they are now really interested to know where in the body they are located.  As well, the process of sketching helps the students revisit and test themselves on their previous knowledge.  The lessons serves as a good Engage activity for a 5e learning cycle.

Day 39: Tissue Analogy

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Science 8 As a lead into our unit on body systems, the students were introduced to a new analogy. The idea is that there are four types of tissues in the human body and to better understand them, we can relate them to a household item. Tissues serve as the basis that ties the body systems together.

This analogy was from our BC Science 8 textbook and we all agreed that it worked quite well.  The analogies appear to be very intuitive and make sense to the kids.