Systems of the Human Body Intended for Grade: Subject:

Systems of the Human Body
Intended for Grade:
Through this project, an understanding about the human body will
be developed focusing on the different systems and organs that work together to
help us survive and stay healthy.
This project will allow students to explore the interactions
between components in living systems particular to the human body. From this
project, students will be able to identify parts of the human body and basic
functions of various human body systems such as the following: the circulatory
system; the respiratory system; the digestive system; the skeletal system; and,
the nervous system.
Mississippi Frameworks addressed:
Science Framework 2a: Identify parts and basic functions of various body
systems (circulatory, respiratory, digestive, skeletal and nervous systems).
Science Framework 2b: Analyze the circulatory system.
National Standard addressed:
Content Standard C: Life Science
NSF North Mississippi GK-8
The human body is composed of many small cells that function
collectively to form an organism. We classify the hierarchy of
individual components of the body into three groups which are tissues,
organs, and organ systems.
Tissues are groups of cells in the body that work together to
perform a specialized function. The four primary types of tissues are
epithelial, connective, muscle and nerve.
An Organ is a structure that contains at least two different
types of tissue. The different types of tissue function together to
serve a common purpose.
The Organ systems are composed of two or more different
organs that work together to provide a common function.
A good way to begin learning about the human body’s systems is to
start with the smallest component of each system which are cells. It is
suggested that you use microscopes to view cell slides. Explain to the
students how cells make up all the parts of the body. As well, explain to the
students that each system of the human body works together to support the
entire body and the entire body is composed of cells.
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Activity One:
“Keeping the System Healthy”
A food Pyramid print out or diagram to use for explaining the
food pyramid. (one is contained in this document)
Copies of the Handouts 1 and 2.
Cut outs of the Handout 2 (building the pyramid) and glue for
gluing the pyramid back together. Alternately, one large
printout can be created, and cut out. Students can help the
teacher assemble the pyramid.
One way to study the human body is to learn how to keep
it healthy. The following activity involves the food pyramid to help educate
students on the correct ways to eat in order to keep their body healthy and
free from disease. It is never too early to begin to teach students about
good nutrition. Further, by going over nutrition, it will be easier to explain
to students about organs that make up human body systems, such as the
stomach, intestines, bones, etc.
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Background Vocabulary:
diet: Everything that someone consumes. A balanced diet is based on the
scientific principles that healthful foods and appropriate nutrients must be
consumed each day.
calorie/Calorie: One calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the
temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius. One Calorie, or kcal, is
equal to 1,000 calories, the amount of energy required to raise 1 kilogram of
water (about 2.2 pounds) 1 degree Celsius. Nutrition is measured in Calories.
metabolism: The number of calories burned at any given moment. An
individual’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) is a measure of the number of
calories burned to keep the person’s heart, lungs, and muscles working while
the body is at rest. An individual’s metabolism is higher when the person is
active than it is when the person is at rest.
nutrients: Substances found in foods that people need to stay healthy.
Proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber are essential elements
of a nutritious diet. Proteins make the cells, while carbohydrates provide
energy. Vitamins regulate chemical processes in which the body converts
food into energy and tissues. Minerals such as calcium are essential for
building strong bones and teeth. Fiber helps keep the digestive system
functioning smoothly.
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Begin by discussing with students that it is important to watch what they
eat. They should compare what they eat with what the daily nutrition
requirements recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is
important not only to discuss vocabulary, but also why nutrition is
important to our bodies.
Have the students “brainstorm” for healthy food ideas. List these ideas on
a bulletin board, or chalk board. Examples include calcium for strong bones;
too many sweets can make you fat causing stress on your heart; Eating
carrots for good eye sight; vitamin E for healthy skin; etc. The importance
of this activity is to relate “good foods – good health!”
Have the students recall their dinner from the previous night. Using the
handout provided, have the students categorize each item they ate into the
appropriate Pyramid category. Discuss with them how they feel about how
healthy their dinner was.
Distribute the next handout which is building a three dimensional food
pyramid (3 sided). Before assembling the pyramid, label each side of the
pyramid. Suggestions include, on the first side, label the names of each
group; on the second side, label the servings; on the third side, draw
example foods. Once labeling is completed, cut out the pyramid, and paste
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The Food Pyramid
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Recalling your dinner from last night, list each item that you ate in the
appropriate category from the Food Pyramid.
Fats, Oils, and
Milk, Yogurt &
Cheese Group
Vegetable Group
Meat, Poultry, Fish,
Dry Beans, Eggs,
and Nuts Group
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Fruit Group
Bread, Cereal, Rice
& Pasta Group
Three Dimensional Food Pyramid
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In the evaluation of the students, the goal is to determine if students
can utilize the food pyramid, and make a connection of why the food pyramid
is important - the food pyramid is a guide to eating healthy. The three
dimensional food pyramid can be used for evaluation purposes.
Extended Activities:
Class Cookbook
Have each student bring in a recipe of a favorite food that is
healthful and part of a well-balanced diet. With the help of the
students, compile the recipes into a class cookbook. If possible, plan a
class lunch, and have students bring in samples of their favorite
foods. Then, enjoy a healthful lunch together.
Systems of the Human Body
NSF North Mississippi GK-8
Activity Two: “Supporting the Body”
Paper Plates
Small Wood Blocks
Measuring Cups
Background: Bones make up the skeleton or skeletal system. Bones
provide a frame for all the parts of the human body. The human body is so
large, that without the skeletal system, the body would literally fall apart
due to its own weight. The human body has an internal skeletal system unlike
insects. This is because an exoskeleton like that of insects could not
support are size.
The human body’s internal skeletal system consists of rigid structures
that are mineralized or ossified and they are referred to as bones. When we
think about what a bone is made of, we usually imagine it to be a dry and
hard substance that doesn’t appear to be ‘living’ in any way. In fact, the
bones in our bodies are filled with living material. There are blood vessels
which run near the surface of the bone. Our bones have two layers of bone,
compact bone and spongy bone. Often there is a jelly-like area in the center
of the bone, which is called the bone marrow. Bone marrow produces the
body's blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen around the body and white
blood cells fight infection within the body. If you looked at a cross section
of your arm, you would be able to see that the bone is actually a hollow
structure; in the middle is a cylinder. So, bones are actually hollow tubes, a
bit like bamboo, which is a type of plant. A hollow structure means that the
weight of the bone is a lot less than it would be if it were solid.
Cartilage is another common component of skeletal systems. The
human nose and ear is made of cartilage. Cartilage is primarily used in
supporting and supplementing the skeleton. Bones are connected to one
another via ligaments. The skeletal system is connected to the muscular
system via tendons.
Systems of the Human Body
NSF North Mississippi GK-8
Start by showing students, diagrams, pictures, and examples of
bones of the human body that make up the human skeletal system.
Introduce the names of more common bones of the body.
Explain to the students about good posture. Explain what correct
posture is by demonstrating correct posture. Explain to the
students that good posture helps our organs work more efficiently.
Good posture helps to reduce strain to the back and neck muscles,
and overall allows us to stay healthy especially when we get older
(arthritis, etc).
Next, have students place their hands on their sides just above
their waists to feel the bottom of their rib cage. Then tell the
students to reach around and feel the ridges of their spines.
Ask the students, ”Why do we need a skeleton”. Look for answers
such as, “they give our body structure”. Ask them “What do you
think we would look like without bones?” Explain to the students
that without our skeleton, we would not be able to stand, walk, or
Have your students touch their nose and ears, introduce the word
cartilage to them and explain that cartilage is part of the skeletal
system, but it is not as hard as bone, it is more flexible, you can
move your ears and nose.
Next, have students create paper bones. First, roll up a sheet of
paper (8 1/2 x 11) about 1 inch wide into a cylinder. Make three of
these which we will call paper bones.
Stand the bones up on their ends, placing a paper plate on top of
the bones.
Ask the students, “Will the hollow rolls support the plate?”
Roll three more sheets of paper as tightly as possible, allowing for
little to no hollow space.
Next, add weights (wooden blocks) to the plate one at a time.
When placing the wooden blocks on to the plates, count how many
blocks the paper bones can hold before the bones collapse. Record
the results on the chalk board.
Systems of the Human Body
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Stand these "bones" up as before placing the same plate on top of
Place weights on top of the plate until they collapse as before,
counting the number of weights/blocks used.
In this activity students are introduced to bones and the human
skeleton. The goal of the activity is for students to be able to understand
the support system/frame that the skeletal system provides and, to identify
the common rigid structure of the skeletal system which are called bones.
From this activity, the students should be able to recognize that the bones
of the human skeletal system support our bodies’ internal structure, as well as
protect our internal organs and that our skeleton is composed of bones and
Students should be able to explain the phenomena that they have witnessed
with the paper bones. Have them try and correlate these hollow bones to that of
the human body. The hollow bones were able to support more weight the hollow
center gave the bones a better design and made them stronger. The large bones in
our body are also hollow, which makes them strong so they can support our body
Have the students complete the worksheet (included) drawing lines from the
words to the skeletal diagram.
Systems of the Human Body
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Extended Activities:
Have the students demonstrate/draw correct and incorrect posture. Ask
them to explain why good posture is important.
Using an aluminum can (i.e., a coke can) try pressing on the top and then the sides
of a drink can. What happens? What price do we pay for having light bones?
Another activity that students might enjoy is constructing their own human
skeleton. From the following images, have the students cut out the bones of
the human body. Using brass plated fasteners; students can assemble the
human skeletal system. Students can color, label, etc, individual bones of
the human skeletal system.
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Name: ___________________
Draw lines from the words to the correct body parts.
Systems of the Human Body
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Activity Three: “The Nervous System”
Model of Human Brain
Diagrams/Models of the Human Body
Six blind folds
Two Sheets of Red Construction Paper
Two Sheets of Green Construction Paper
Background: The nervous system is the communication network of the
human body. The controlling organ of the nervous system is the brain. The
“network” of the nervous system is created by millions of nerves. Nerves
use electrical signals to send and receive information. This “network” is
similar to roadways of the United States, consisting of Interstates,
Highways, etc. The interstate in the human body would be the spinal cord
which is found along the spine, and connects to the brain. It contains a thick
bundle of nerves that branch out to major parts of the body (highways).
These nerves branch again (smaller roads) and reach to all the rest of the
parts of the body. The human body is controlled by the brain, and the brain
uses the nerves to send and receive information from different parts of our
body like are eyes, arms, and legs.
Systems of the Human Body
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1. For this activity, seven students will be needed (The rest of the class
can take turns in the activity).
From the seven students, one student will be the brain; one student
will be the eyes; one student will be the right arm; one student will be
the left arm; one student will be the eye’s nerve (optical nerve); one
student will be the left arm’s nerve; and one student will be the right
arm’s nerve.
3. Have all the seven students sit down on the ground in the following
4. Blind fold all of the students except for the student who is representing the
Give the student representing the left arm one piece of red construction
6. Give the student representing the right arm on piece of green construction
7. Explain to the students that they are going to model the nervous system.
The students must whisper when sending information (like when you play the
game telephone).
The student representing the eyes will see the piece of paper that the
teacher holds up.
9. The eyes will tell the Eye’s Nerve which color, red or green.
10. The Eye’s nerve will tell the brain what color the eyes saw, red or green.
11.The Brain will tell either the Left arm’s nerve or the Right arm’s nerve to
tell the Left arm or Right arm to raise up their piece of construction paper.
The brain will either say raise up, or stay down. The brain must decide which
color of construction paper must be raised up (Red or Green), and then tell the
corresponding arm to raise its piece of construction paper into the air. The
brain must remember that the red construction paper is held by the left arm;
the green construction paper is held by the right arm.
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Students should be able to identify the major organ and control center of the
human body which is the brain. Student should be able to describe how the brain
sends and receives signals using the nerves.
Extended Activities:
Have the students investigate other aspects of the human brain. Have
students play Simon says. Have the students play a memory game. Relate
both games to memory and thus, the brain.
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Left Arm’s Nerve
Left Arm
Red Construction
Optical Nerve
Right Arm’s Nerve
Right Arm
Green Construction
Teacher holds up either a Red or a Green sheet of construction paper, in front of the Eyes. The Goal is for the
Nervous System to properly send the correct signals from the Eyes all the way to the correct Arm, such that the
correct arm holds of the correct corresponding color.
Teacher holds up Red Construction Paper: Left Arm Raises Red Construction Paper
Teacher holds up Green Construction Paper: Right Arm Raises Green Construction Paper
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Activity Four:
“The Circulatory System”
Models/diagrams of the heart and circulatory system
Modeling Clay (enough for about a quarter size piece for each student)
Tooth picks
Sidewalk chalk
The circulatory system is an important system of the human body.
The main organ of the circulatory system is the Heart. The heart pumps
blood throughout the body via a network of blood vessels similar to a
“pipeline”. This “pipeline” contains several different sizes of blood vessels
similar to different sizes of pipes. The “pipeline” along with the heart
creates a pathway by which blood can be transported. This is important
because blood delivers nutrients and oxygen to all the parts of the body. As
well, blood also collects wastes and CO2 from all parts of the body so that
they can be removed.
Heart- The heart (Latin, cor) is a hollow, muscular organ that pumps
blood through the vessels and cavities of an animal's body by
repeated, rhythmic contractions. The term cardiac means "related to
the heart", from the Greek cardia for "heart". In the human body the
heart is situated slightly to the left of the middle of the thorax,
behind the breastbone (sternum). It is enclosed by a sac known as the
pericardium and is surrounded by the lungs. It weighs about 300~350
g in an adult. It consists of four chambers, the two upper atria and
the two lower ventricles.
Systems of the Human Body
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Overview of the “pipeline”: - Arteries carry blood filled with
nutrients away from the heart to all parts of the body. Eventually
arteries divide into smaller arterioles and then into even smaller
capillaries, the smallest of all blood vessels. One arteriole can serve a
hundred capillaries. Capillaries join together to form venuoles (small
veins), which flow into larger main veins, and these deliver
deoxygenated blood back to the heart. Inside the right side of the
heart, the deoxygenated blood is sent to the lungs to collect oxygen.
The oxygenated blood is then returned to the left side of the heart
where it will be once again travel through the body. (Note: explain
that the orientation of left and right sides of the heart is from the
perspective of the person, not the observer).
Begin by showing where the students’ heart is located on the
models/diagrams. Have the students find their left rib cage, and
explain to them where their heart is located in relation to their rib
Describe to the students the role of the heartbeat in relation to
the pipeline of blood vessels.
Divide the students into pairs.
Have one student in each pair place their wrist, palm side up, on a
table or desk.
Have the other partner place the clay on the other partner’s wrist
on the right side (thumb side).
Have the student count the number of pulses of their partner, for
one minute, and record the results.
Next, have that student do jumping jacks for one minute.
Swap partners, and repeat steps 5-9.
Have each pair insert a toothpick into a small piece of clay. Flatten
the bottom of the clay.
Reattach the clay, and count the number of pulses again for one
minute. Record the results.
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Discuss the results of the two trials. In your discussion have the
students explain why the need for nutrients and oxygen would
increase when doing jumping jacks. Have them explain the
Using stethoscopes have one partner listen to the other partner’s
Using the clay/toothpick apparatus, have each student listen to
their partners heart while observing the toothpick.
Record observations.
Switch partners, and repeat step 12 -14.
Discuss results and observations.
Using the models, have the students identify the heart. Have the student
describe what the function of the circulatory system is in the human body. Have
the students predict their heart rate when they are a sleep vs. when they are
walking up stairs.
As well, have the students explain how the respiratory system works with
the circulatory system.
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Extended Activities:
“Follow the Pipeline”
Have the students go outside. Using sidewalk chalk, draw the shape of a
very large human body. An example template can be found on the next page.
After drawing the human body, divide students into groups. Explain to
the students, that they are each a red blood cell. Have each group take
turns in “flowing” through the circulatory system. Students can start at the
right side of the heart; go to the lungs; go back to the left side of the
heart; go through the body; and then back to the right side of the heart.
Individuals in each group can take different routes from the heart to
different areas of the body, thus one student can go from the heart to the
brain, while another student can go from the heart to the arm, etc.
Systems of the Human Body
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Human Body Sidewalk Template
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Activity Five:
“The Respiratory System”
Models/diagrams of the lungs
Two Medium Balloons for each student
20oz soda bottle with cap, for each student (bottom two inches cut off)
Drinking straw cut in half, one for each student
Small Balloon, one for each student
A rubber band, one for each student
The respiratory system, is the system that allows us to breathe. We need
to breathe so that gas exchange can occur, exchanging oxygen for carbon
dioxide. The lungs are the major organ of respiration. There are two types
of respiration. The first type of respiration is called external respiration,
which is gas exchange between the atmosphere and the blood. External
respiration occurs in the lungs. The second type of respiration is called
internal respiration which is gas exchange that occurs between the blood
and the cells of the body. The body has two lungs.
Lungs- The lung is an organ belonging to the respiratory system
and interfacing to the circulatory system of air-breathing
vertebrates. Its function is to exchange oxygen from air with carbon
dioxide from blood.
When we breathe, air is drawn in from the atmosphere through are nose
and/or mouth. Drawing in air into our lungs is helped by the diaphragm. The
diaphragm is a muscle. When the diaphragm flattens it causes the chest to
expand and air is sucked into the lungs. When the diaphragm relaxes, the
chest collapses and the air in the lungs is forced out. Air is passed into the
trachea, (the epiglottis, prevents food from entering the trachea), at the
end of the trachea, there is a branch point. Two tubes (one going to each
Systems of the Human Body
NSF North Mississippi GK-8
lung), called the bronchi. At the end of the bronchi, air moves into more
tubes called bronchioles. At the end of the bronchioles, are little sacs
called alveoli. The alveoli are surrounded by capillaries. This is where
external respiration occurs. To help students remember bronchi, the
Teacher could introduce the word bronchitis, (since many have already heard
the term). You could say that “-itis” means inflammation and bronch refers
to the bronchus tubes. Thus, this is why you might cough a lot when you
have bronchitis.
1. Using models/diagrams locate for the students where the lungs are in
the human body. Have the students touch their rib cage, and explain
to them that their lungs are behind their rib cage. Ask the students
why their rib cage might be “above” their lungs.
2. Pass out a balloon to each student.
3. Have each students take a deep breathe, and
blow that one breath of
air into the balloon. Ask the students where did the air come from
to blow up the balloon (ie, where was the air stored, the lungs).
Explain to the students that the balloon holds the same amount of air
as their lungs did when they breathed the deep breathe. (Note: You
cannot totally blow out all of the air in your lungs!). Explain that half
that air was in one lung, while the other half was in the other lung.
Ask the students, does the balloon contain a lot of carbon dioxide or
Oxygen. Ask them why the body needs oxygen.
5. Use a stethoscope to listen to one another's breathing.
Pair off
students: BREATHERS: All students sit quietly (lie down if possible)
with hands placed over their stomachs or chests. WATCHERS: The
watchers must watch their partners and count the breaths taken in
one minute (count ONE breath for every time the stomach or chest
rises). Teacher cues the watcher when to begin and when to stop
after 60 seconds. After the 60 seconds, watchers tell the breathers
how many breaths were counted. Then all breathers record their at
rest information on the index card or sticky note paper.
6. Students trade places and repeat the activity.
7. Next, students do jumping jacks or run in place for 60 seconds
before recording breathing rates as described above.
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Discuss the results. Ask the students what is happening in the lungs.
Ask the students how the oxygen is getting to the cells of their body
like their skin cells or brain cells.
9. Discuss in detail the anatomy of the lungs.
After students have a
firm understanding of gas exchange and how the oxygen is delivered
to the cells of the body, continue to next part of the activity.
Creating a Lung Model
10. Give each student a 20oz soda bottle that has the bottom two inches
already cut off.
11. Give each student a half of a straw, and using tape, securely fasten
the straw to the inside edge of the mouth of the bottle (you will need
to unscrew the cap to do this) .
12. Tightly cap the bottle.
13. On the bottom part of the straw, attach the small balloon.
14. Cut the top off the medium balloon, and stretch the balloon over the
bottom of the soda bottle. Secure with a rubberband.
15. Pulling on the balloon (medium size), will inflate the small balloon.
16. Have the students relate the model to their own body and their
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Students should be able to explain the role of the respiratory system with respect
to respiration. Students should be able to identify the major organ of the
respiratory system, the lung and its position in the human body. Students should
be able to demonstrate an understanding for the reason why we breathe at
different rates depending on the physical activity we are currently conducting, and
relate the interdependency that exists between the respiratory system and the
circulatory system.
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Lungs in the Body
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Activity Six: “The Digestive System”
4 different colors of yarn
Handout - Story about digestion
Model(s) of Digestive System
Two different sizes of panty hose (just the leg portion)
The digestive system includes three main organs which
are the stomach, the small intestines, and the large intestines. Other minor
organs involved in digestion include the gallbladder and the pancreas. The
goal of this activity is for students to be able to recognize the organs of
digestion that make up the digestive system.
Stomach - In anatomy, the stomach is an organ in the alimentary canal
used to store and digest food. Generally, the stomach's primary
function is not the adsorption of nutrients from digested food; this
task is usually performed by the intestine.
Intestines - The intestines are the part of the body responsible for
extracting nutrition from the food an animal consumes and processing
the remainder of the food into waste for elimination.
Small intestine – the small intestines is the site where most of the
nutrients from ingested food is absorbed. There are microscopic
finger-like projections called villi covering the small intestinal walls
which increase surface area for absorption.
Large intestine – The large intestines are mainly responsible for
storing waste and reclaiming water and maintaining water balance.
Pancreas- An organ that lies in the curve of the intestines and is
responsible for the production of digestive juices and also insulin.
Gallbladder- A sack or structure near the liver that stores bile.
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1. Explain to the students that the digestive system involves many
connected organs that form a tube starting at the mouth and ending
at the end of the large intestines. Digestion is a complex process
and involves a number of organs working together to digest and
absorb the food. We must break food down into smaller pieces so
that our body can absorb the food. In order for the food molecules
to enter the blood and be carried to all the cells in the body, the food
must be digested (broken into very small molecules). As well, there
are some food items that we cannot absorb. The majority of food
that we can absorb is processed in the stomach and in the small
intestines. Food we cannot absorb is passed to the large intestines,
and eliminated from the body.
2. Uses the models/diagrams to indicate to students the different
organs of digestion. Explain to the students the characteristics of
the organs such as the stomach, which “grinds” food into smaller
pieces. Trace through the entire digestive system. Start with mouth
and continue through the large intestines.
3. Using the four different colors of yarn to simulate the length of the
digestive system using the following measurements:
Mouth and Esophagus
30 cm
25 cm
Small Intestine
700 cm
Large Intestine
160 cm
Using this illustration, explain to the students that the digestive
system is very long, and food must travel a long ways after we eat it.
Have the students demonstrate the length of the digestive system by
stretching the yarn across the room, demonstrating its full length.
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4. Create a simulation of a section of the small and/or large intestines.
Using panty hoses (just the leg portion).
5. Stuff the leg portion with paper towels.
6. Continue to build the model by taping a larger size of panty hoses to
the first portion.
7. Stuff this section of panty hoses with paper towels as well.
8. Discuss with the students how the panty hose represents the
attachment between the small and large intestines.
Demonstrate to the students, how the intestines is flexible
(squeezed, etc).
Demonstrate bolus movement by moving the paper towels through the
length of the panty hose.
Explain how the intestines are a long tube. Also, explain that the
small intestines are smaller size tube than the large intestines.
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Have the students identify the different organs of the digestive system on
models/diagrams. Have them explain why the digestive system is an important
system of the human body. Have them explain to you how energy is important to all
the parts of the body, and that the digestive system breaks down the food
(energy) into small enough pieces that cells (which make up the entire body) can
use the energy.
Extended Activities:
Go outside and using sidewalk chalk, draw a mouth, esophagus, stomach, and
intestines on the ground. Students are divided into the four organs and
another group – food. Each group stands and outlines their organ, and hold
hands. The food group stands next to the mouth. When the teacher says
“Go”, the food goes into the mouth, the mouth students hold hands and form
a circle around the food; they stomp their feet all around the food, going in
a circle. When the teacher says “Swallow”, the food group “turns in circles
as they go down the esophagus, (the esophagus students outline the drawn
esophagus, and create a barrier to which the food cannot fallout of). Next,
the food students move into the intestines, (the passage is narrow, students
of the food group have to be single file; the intestine students outline the
intestines and hold hands) when the teacher says “go to the rest of the
body”, the intestine students let go holding hands, and the food rushes out.
Systems of the Human Body
NSF North Mississippi GK-8
Systems of the Human Body
NSF North Mississippi GK-8
Stomach with Small and Large
Systems of the Human Body
NSF North Mississippi GK-8
Activity Seven: What’s Covering You
(The Integumentary System)
Latex gloves
Large Bowl with Water
Food Coloring
The overall goal of this activity is to introduce the integumentary
system to the students. Probably the hardest part of introducing this
system is saying the word “integumentary”. A diagram of the skin, follows
this activity.
The four main functions of this system are as follows:
Protection: The skin covers the body and provides a physical barrier
that protects underlying tissues from physical abrasion, bacterial
invasion, dehydration and ultraviolet radiation.
Regulation: Allows the body to maintain body temperature. The
production of perspiration by sweat glands helps to lower body
temperature back to normal.
Excretion: Not only does perspiration assume a role in helping to
maintain normal body temperature, it also assists in excreting small
amounts of water, salts and several organic compounds.
Sensitivity: The skin contains numerous nerve endings and receptors
that detect stimuli related to temperature, touch, pressure and pain.
Systems of the Human Body
NSF North Mississippi GK-8
1. To show students the first property which is protection, have the
students put on one glove and stick their fingers into the water with
food coloring. Have the students pretend the glove is representing
their skin. Now have the students take their fingers out of the
water after a few seconds. Ask them if they think the food coloring
went through the latex glove? (Note: Do not take the glove off until
after the second step).
2. Have the students leave on their glove while you discuss what happened. By
the time you finish discussing function one, the student’s hand with the
glove should be warm and perhaps sweaty. Have the students take off the
glove and wave their hand in the air. Now ask what do they feel? Discuss
the second property of skin which is regulation of temperature. Ask them
if the food coloring dyed their skin?
In continuation with discussion from step #2, discuss that your body also
eliminates some wastes through skin, for example sweat, this is the third
property of skin, excretion. Ask them if they have ever tasted their sweat
(don’t encourage them it is rather dirty), but it they have, it tasted salty,
the body excreted, or got rid of salt.
4. Next,
have the students take a Q-tip and gently rub it on their arm. Ask
them, “What do they feel?” Now, have the students pinch themselves
(gently) and turn to the person next to them and touch them. Ask what do
they feel? Discuss the fourth property of skin, sensitivity.
Have the students explain the four basic functions of the Integumentary
Have the students explain how the circulatory and respiratory systems help
the integumentary system supply blood and oxygen to the skin. Here, the
answer should be basic. The goal is to have the students critically analyze
how separate systems of the human body work together.
Systems of the Human Body
NSF North Mississippi GK-8
Extended Activities:
At this point a great activity to have the students conduct would be
to look at cheek skin cell swabs under the microscope. Simply have each
student swab their mouth with a toothpick, smear the toothpick (with the
check cells), on a microscope slide, and then view the slide under the
microscope. This also helps students to understand that skin is also in their
mouth! Students could also look at hair cells under the microscope. As well,
students might enjoy looking at their fingerprints under the microscope.
For more help/information on microscopes and this suggested activity,
please visit our project entitled, ”An introduction to cells and the
microscope,” located on our website at the following address:
Systems of the Human Body
NSF North Mississippi GK-8
Systems of the Human Body
NSF North Mississippi GK-8
• by Juliette Walker of Crown Community Academy
The National Library of Medicine
The Visible Human Project's animations, which include animated trip through the Visible
Human male cryosections
The Informative Graphics Corp. has put together a wonderful Human Anatomy On-line
Andrew McGann's Look Inside the Human Body has more information on some organ
The Upper Freehold Regional School District's AP Biology class has put together a nice
summary of the Human Organ Systems.
The Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library's Inside the Human Body site has organ
system info.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Prepared by:
Charles Morrow
University of Mississippi
Systems of the Human Body
NSF North Mississippi GK-8
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