Introduction to Human Anatomy (Day 1 of 6)

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SWBAT incorporate the expectations for their Body System Project into their collaborative efforts in their research and begin to conceptualize how each body system integrates to maintain homeostasis.

Big Idea

Today is Day 1 of our collaborative group project. Students will organized into their groups, select their topics, and begin their research!

Hook - The Human Body In A Snapshot

15 minutes

Students will watch the following video and record facts that are either new or interesting.  

At the conclusion of the video, students will share with their neighbor the facts that they recorded on their paper.  The teacher will then ask for student volunteers to share their most interesting fact in a short large-group discussion.

This video will serve as an introduction to our study of  human anatomy.  It was explained to the students that we could spend a month or even a year studying human anatomy, but for the purposes of this Biology course we will review the main body systems in two weeks.  The review of human anatomy will serve as a foundation to the comparative anatomy unit that will include the dissection of an earthworm, a crayfish, and a rat.  Students will then be asked to compare the anatomy of each of our specimens to our human anatomy.

Direct Instruction - Introducing the Project and Selecting Our Topic

15 minutes


Students will be assigned their group based on where they sit in the classroom.  Students are familiar with these student-groupings because they are used most often in our class.  Students are assigned to their group based on the foursome that they sit closest to.  Since the class is arranged in rows, the two students in row #1 turn around and partner with the two students in row #2 to create our first group.  The same pattern continues until all students are assigned to a group.  Sometimes the groups or rows are uneven and the teacher has to use creativity to assign the last students in their groups.

The teacher will distribute the Body System Research Project Information Sheet to all students to read and review so that the project expectations are clear.

Students will review the list of possible research topics from the list: 

  • Muscular System
  • Skeletal System
  • Nervous System
  • Digestive System
  • Excretory System
  • Cardiovascular (circulatory) System
  • Respiratory System
  • Immune System
  • Integumentary System
  • Endocrine System

Students are allowed to send one representative up to the teacher's desk to request their desired topic.  Topic assignments are distributed on a first come-first served basis so students will compete to get the topic that they deem most interesting!

Once all of the topics have been assigned to the groups, students may start work on the collaborative research portion of the activity using the class set of laptops.


Guided Practice - The Fine Details of Research

30 minutes

Once all of the topics have been assigned to the groups, students may start work on the collaborative research portion of the activity using the class set of laptops.

Student-groups will determine how best to divide the responsibilities of the research project.  Most student-groups elected to take the research topics and divide it between three students in the group and the final group member, who is the most creative and artistic is responsible for creating the 3D model of their system or most important organ of their body system.

The video clips below demonstrate group collaboration and how students decided to divide the responsibilities of the project:


Making A Model:

Close - Wrapping Up The Research

5 minutes

Students will come back into their groups to share the most interesting fact that they discovered through use of their textbook or online resources during our research session.

Some interesting facts that were overheard as part of this closing activity include:

  • "I did not know that the right lung is bigger than the left lung."
  • "It never occurred to me that the skin had so many layers but seems so thin in real life."
  • "I had never heard of the endocrine system and had no idea that it does so much to maintain homeostasis."
  • "Who knew that the muscular system was so complicated at the cellular level."

As you can see from these student reactions, there is so much more to be discovered about our human body during the course of this project.  The students are excited to learn more about themselves and I cannot wait to view the final presentations and models that represent the level of student-learning that has occurred as a result of this project!

The next lesson will continue to build on today's activities.