Homeschool Fair/Human Body Unit
Posted by homeschoolmentormom on July 11, 2011
(This is a belated post…I thought some of the boy’s craft and school ideas might be fun summertime activities for others, or perhaps inspiration for the next school year.)
My boys have been obsessed with two things this year: Wiki Stix and wooden (puzzle) models. We got to show both things off this spring at our annual “Homeschool Fair.” It really is a fun event—like a science fair, but for every subject. You’ll see things like traditional science projects (including oral presentations to the group), but also history dioramas, notebooking and lapbooking for various disciplines; writing; arts and crafts; child-made videos (we even had some “stop action animation” this year); demonstrations of various types; sewing projects; baked goods (which are then sold as a fund-raiser); Lego models and other types of models, etc, etc. This year there was a display about how chickens lay eggs that included real chickens, and a display about rabbits that included real rabbits. In conjunction with the displays, our group serves a bag lunch (another fund-raiser) AND after lunch there is a talent show (“God’s gifts”): recitations, mime/drama, singing, kids playing their musical instruments, and so on.) My Josh played piano for this.
This year, the boys each entered their Wiki Stix sculptures:
They also entered their wooden models (you can find these at Michaels craft stores; they can be colored or painted, as you see.)
Additionally, they showed off some of their academic work: their human body cut-outs. We traced around their bodies onto heavy white butcher paper and then read about each major organ; finally, we added them to the body outlines in (approximately),their rightful place, one-by-one.
We used My Body Book by Patty Carratello for our patterns, but we beefed up the text by reading tons of other books, as well.
Here is a partial list of the books we read: I-Can-Read Books: Your Skin and Mine, Use Your Brain, A Drop of Blood, What Happens to a Hamburger, You Can’t Make a Move Without Your Muscles, and Ears are for Hearing, (all by Showers), as well as The Skeleton Inside You, by Balestrino.
(Excuse the funny face–he did it on purpose, of course.) We read numerous “Let’s Read and Find Out About Science” books as well, including Why I Sneeze, Shiver, Hiccup and Yawn. Some of the “I-Can-Read” and the “Lets Read and Find Out” books were read as review, and then passed along to another family (since my boys had really outgrown them.) I would say that these books are best for 5-9 year olds or so, although my 10 year old still enjoyed them….and learned a lot from them. They certainly opened up a lot of discussions about how our bodies work.
We also read Body Battles by Gelman (about the immune system) and (a lot of) The Human Body (by Weldon Owen. This was a Costco find that included overlays; I couldn’t find it online, sorry.) We used The Human Body as a sort of as reference/”spine” book. It explained the systems of the body nicely, and had beautiful pictures. We also read portions of God’s Design for Life: The Human Body (from Answers in Genesis) which inspired us to branch out for a bit to learn more about Leonardo Da Vinci (we read portions of Leonardo Da Vinci and studied his drawings, inventions, and his more famous paintings.)
For activities, we looked at a real x-ray, listened to our hearts with a real stethoscope, learned how to take our pulse and experimented to see how exercise increased our pulse, examined our skin before and after a long soak in the tub, and examined our skin and hair under 50X magnification, and of course, made the body models. We would review the organs (etc) that we’d already learned about daily, before learning anything new, and I think I’m going to add what we’ve learned to our vocabulary notebooks so that we can regularly review what each organ/system does.)
The study took us about 6 weeks, and during this time we learned about the skin, skeleton, bones/bone marrow, muscles, brain, eyes, ears, kidneys, liver, bladder, cells, spleen, pancreas, gall bladder, appendix, heart, lungs, stomach, small and large intestines, veins and arteries, as well as the systems of the body (we skipped over the reproductive system for now; Dad will cover that with them soon.)
If you decide to do this unit and have several children, you could use the “bus stop” method: Have all your children do their school together, and then “let the preschoolers off the bus” (excuse them from lessons) while you do more detailed reading/work with older children. Preschoolers could make an outline of their bodies, too, and while they wouldn’t remember all the names of the organs/systems and what they do, they certainly could learn about and remember the names and functions of the main organs (brain, skin, bones and muscles, heart, lungs, and perhaps the bladder.) Mature 4 year olds could sit through the easier books, too (the “I-Can-Read About”/”Let’s Read and Find Out About Science” books.)
We will repeat this unit when our boys are older (at a more advanced level) and next time, we’ll include labeling the body parts, bones, etc, as well as studying reproduction.
© 2011 Susan Lemons all rights reserved. Copyrighted materials may not be re-distributed or re-posted without express permission from the author.