Systems and Cells: Wrap up

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Students will be able to use a technological metaphor to explain the organization of the body.

Big Idea

Without organization, the body would be a pile of mush!

Teachers' Lounge

The purpose of this lesson is to wrap-up the learning of the unit in a way that makes sense to the kids.  

This large unit has several smaller parts:

-Review of prior knowledge

-Characteristics of life


-Systems and Cells


3 minutes

Learning Goal: Compare the organization of the body to a cell phone. 

Opening question:   How is the information in your cell phone organized?

 Students come in the room, get ready (get their stuff), get set (get settled in their seats), and engage in writing the learning goal and answering the essential question on the board.

To answer this question I have a couple students come up and talk about how their cell phone is organized.  

Follow the links to learn more about the beginning of class strategies and ROCK STAR scientist tickets.


5 minutes

For the hook today, I give the students this thinking question.  We've been talking a lot about body organization, cells, tissues, organs, systems and so on.  What would the body be like if it wasn't organized?

I show them this picture of a disorganized puzzle and ask them to imagine a disorganized body.  I ask the students to get out a piece of paper and draw a picture of what the body might look like if it had NO organization.  (Later on the students will turn these papers over and draw an organized body.) 

One wonderful bookend project that I did this year was at the very beginning of the year I had student teams create giant posters of people to show what they thought was inside.  Then after a couple months of learning, we went back and did these pictures again individually so that I could see the growth in their understanding. This made a really neat display because I taped the second drawing right on top of the first and we did a gallery walk to look at our learning.  Here is a picture of the pre-assessment with the post assessments taped on.


10 minutes

This is the class time that I schedule to finish up things that weren't quite completed before.  It is also a great time to hand back papers, give out missing assignment slips, let students finish their homework and so on.  Today students are doing a multitude of tasks.  Some are finishing their models and notes, some are completing their homework, others are working on missing work and still others are completing a challenge assignment.  

Students often ask me for extra credit and it is always a difficult question for me.  I don't want them to skip the "real" work I'm giving them and pad their grade with extra credit, on the other hand I like to offer opportunities for challenge and creativity.  This assignment works well as an extra credit opportunity because it still shows the learning we've been doing in class, just in a creative way, and it is assigned after all the other work so it is truly "extra" as opposed to "instead."


10 minutes

The purpose of this section is to connect the organization of the body with something they hold dear to their hearts.  I speak of course of their cell phones.  

I start out by asking the students how their cell phones are organized.  They give me answers like

  • different screens
  • files
  • apps
  • contacts
  • logs
  • texts
  • pictures

Then I will ask students how they find the information they need.  The students will discuss

  • App stores
  • Settings
  • profiles
  • ring tones
  • alarms

Finally I ask the students, "How is the phone like the human body?"  After a few answers, one or two students will usually tell me that the body has different parts just like the cell phone has different parts and that the parts are organized.

Together the students and I make a list of the levels of organization:

I fill in Organism = Galaxy S4 phone and then ask students to complete the rest working in groups of three.  I like groups of three for this activity because there are more than two people which raises the creativity, but less than four so there is more personal accountability.   I walk around and praise, prompt, leave.  This is a great strategy because it values the student work while still pushing their ideas without telling them the answers. 

Below is a model of how I approached this assignment:

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10 minutes

The purpose of this section is to assess students on the ESSENTIAL learning of the unit.  Since I am not assessing everything, my tests are short and fairly simple.  I keep the complicated for performance assessments during the class or extra credit opportunities.  

At the end of the Cells and Systems assessment, the students turn over their disorganization pictures and draw as complete a picture of the human body as they can.  This is the picture that I tape to the pre-assessment from the beginning of the year, making a nice bookend for this unit.


3 minutes

For closure today, the students and I go to the bodies we made at the beginning of this unit and we tape up our new pictures.  Then we talk about how our ideas have changed during this unit and what the made the most impression on the students.  This is a great visual of learning and a nice close to the unit.