Muscular System - Structure and Function

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SWBAT to explain the relationship between structure of muscular system and its function.

Big Idea

Students develop an argument on how the body, including muscular system, is a system composed of a specialized group of cells and tissues. (MS-LS1-3) (Crosscutting Concepts: Systems and System Models).


5 minutes

To engage students in this lesson, I show the video The Human Body - Unleashing the Full Power of The Muscle by Carpe Noctum. While watching the video, students are required to write down at least 5 observations and these can/should include any drawings.  

The purpose of the video is to demonstrate the human muscular system to students and ultimately to create an appreciation for the fact that there is a hidden muscular system inside our bodies that we depend on to survive.


25 minutes

After that dramatic introduction, students participate in a muscular system tour.  

The procedure for the tour is as follows (procedure is for a class of 30 students):

1. Divide class into 5 groups of 6.

2. Students rotate to a total of five stations during tour.  (Groups are given 5 minutes per station).

Station 1: Muscular System, Skeletal Muscle, 3 Types of Muscle, Cardiac Muscle, Smooth Muscle

Station 2: Anatomy of Muscle, How a Muscle Works, Muscle to Tendon to Bone, Opposite Contract 

Station 3: The Muscles .. a front view, The Muscles ..a back view, The Muscles ..a side view

Station 4: Ligaments hold bones together

Station 5: Muscle Stimulation (You may need to substitute this station if you don't have access to a muscle stimulator. Chiropractors and physical therapists may have this equipment.)

3. On the sound of a bell students rotate clockwise to next station.

4. Each student is responsible for completing a muscular system tour.


10 minutes

In the next section of lesson I hand students a muscular system study guide, from cK-12, which cements some of the information students learned during the muscular system tour in the previous section of the lesson.  

This study guide can be used as a source of evidence by students when completing their assessment at end of lesson.

In addition to the study guide I present a Muscular System Powerpoint to emphasize some areas that I feel are important for students such as structure of muscle cell and muscular system function. Students take notes using the last section of the muscular system study guide, which is designated for notes.


10 minutes

In this section of lesson I have students read Smooth, Skeletal, and Cardiac Muscles, an informational text from cK-12, on muscles (RST.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts).

At the end of the reading, students complete the following questions:


  1. Compare and contrast the three types of muscle tissue.
  2. What can muscle cells do that other cells cannot?
  3. Why are skeletal and cardiac muscles striated?
  4. Where is smooth muscle tissue found?
  5. What is the function of skeletal muscle? Give an example.

In addition students can watch the following videos to reinforce what they have learned so far about the muscular system:

Muscular System Structure and Function

Muscular System - 3 Types of Muscles

Anatomy of Muscle


10 minutes

In the last section of lesson I assess students' progress toward the learning objective by having students complete an exit slip.  

1) Exit slip assesses student understanding that the body is a system that relies on subsystems composed of specialized cells, tissues, and organs to properly function. (MS-LS1-3) (Crosscutting Concepts - Systems and System Models)

2) Exit slip requires students to develop an argument through the use of a claim supported by evidence from a variety of sources and logical reasoning. (SP7) (W.7.1)