This unit on the Human Body is being taught as a district and state requirement. Arizona State Standards apply.
Students are asked to come to the meeting place rug so that we can begin a new science unit. On the wall, I have a flannel outline of a body hanging up. I ask students, "What do you think we may be learning about?". Most likely students will come up with the body or body parts.
I ask a question rather than just telling student that we are learning about the human body because it causes the students to think. They are pulling from their prior knowledge that we have already learned about the parts of the body (outer parts) and it gets them thinking about what other things we might be learning about.
I have students tell me what they already know about the parts of a body. As the students suggest ideas, we label the parts with word cards. The word cards have the body parts on them and velcro on the back so they will stick to the flannel body. I use turn taking sticks so that every students has a chance to participate.
During this labeling, I also write responses on a K-W-L chart. Since I have taught the outer parts of the body (eg. head, arms, feet, shoulders, etc.) I anticipate that many of the responses from the students will be these outer parts.
At the beginning of the school year, we did a lesson on comparing and contrasting how people are different yet the same. During this lesson, we named the parts of the body (outer parts) to show that "most people have arms, legs, hands, feet, etc."
I use a K-W-L chart throughout this unit. Using a chart such as this helps students to reflect back on their learning and is a nice tool to be able to write down any questions students may have. During the unit we can refer to those questions as we go along to make sure they are being answered. Giving students a tool such as this puts ownership on their learning. In a sense, it is guiding their learning by what information they want to learn.
After getting all of the students responses on the K-W-L chart, I explain to the students that we will continue to learn about other parts of the body.
"These parts will be inside, the parts that we can't see."