As the students enter the room they take out their journals and respond to the prompt: What is the purpose of the integumentary system? Explain.
Prior to this class, the students took notes over the integumentary system, so I expect them to be able to answer this question and provide at least two points of explanation. While the students write, I circulate through the room to read the students' responses and ask them questions about what they have written. Reviewing the students' responses provides me with insight into their understanding of the information from the notes and enables me to modify the lesson to ensure that the students develop a stronger understanding of the information.
Once the students have had a chance to write their responses, I ask for volunteers to share what they have written with the class. I ask each volunteer to share only one example and then ask for additional volunteers to share information regarding that example. This is where it is very useful to have reviewed the students' responses prior to having the students share because I can call on specific students to add information to the discussion, especially if I know that what they have written will add key information to the discussion or guide the discussion in a certain direction.
I ask the students to take out their notes and notes reviews while I display the Integumentary System PowerPoint on the projector. At this point, most of the information from the presentation has been reviewed during the journal discussion. Much of the discussion during this part of the lesson centers around me asking the students "why" questions.
For example, I ask the students to explain why we have more than one layer of skin. I ask them to explain why we have melanocytes and whether or not it is necessary to have pores in our skin.
Asking these types of questions requires the students to think about the information and will carry over to the next part of the lesson. During this part of the lesson I also spend time reviewing the images of the integumentary system. I also use a three dimensional model and ask the students to state the names of various structures as I point to them. This is a video explaining my use of the Integumentary Model. If you do not have a model, drawings and pictures also work well for this activity.
After reviewing the notes, I ask the students to open the Integumentary System Worksheet on their Chromebooks while I load the document on the projector. I begin by loading the Kids Health website and reviewing the features of the website with the students. I explain to the students that I expect them to review the website information carefully in order to utilize the information during the model construction phase of the lesson.
For the next part of the worksheet, I explain to the students that they will be performing a bit of research in order to answer two questions that many of them had asked prior to this lesson. I do not provide my students with websites to choose from and expect them to be able to use search terms and their skimming/scanning skills to find the answers from a reliable source. I also require that the students provide a link to their source of information. Generally I have the students create citations in APA format, but for this activity I allowed them to use the website URLs. Please see my reflection for an explanation on the importance of why. In researching information, the students are addressing NGSS SP8 Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. The manner in which the questions are structured also forces the students to construct an explanation for why hair grows, addressing NGSS SP6 Constructing explanations.
Once they have researched the answers to the two questions the students should draw or find a diagram of part of the integumentary system. They will use this diagram as reference to create their own three dimensional model. My original intent was for students to draw a diagram, which proved rather difficult on the Chromebooks, so I also allowed students to locate pictures online. After completing this step and showing me their finished project, the students go to the lab to build their models.
The students may work independently or with a partner to create their three dimensional model. I have a variety of recycled materials that the students are welcome to choose from for this project. Some students choose to use boxes and apply items to the outside while others choose clear containers and layer items inside. I explain to my students that their model should be more than just a drawing on the side of a box though. As the students look through the available materials, they must take into consideration the form/shape of the materials and consider the form/shape of the structures they want to represent. Thinking about this aspect of the model causes them to think more carefully and specifically about the structures of the integumentary system and how they can best be represented. This activity helps to address NGSS Cross Cutting Concept Structure and Function - Complex and microscopic structures and systems can be visualized, modeled, and used to described how their function depends on the shapes, composition, and relationships of their parts.
As the students work on their models, I circulate through the lab asking students to explain the various aspects of their models. This video demonstrates the type of explanation I am looking for from students as they are creating an integumentary model.
As they work on the model, the students are addressing NGSS SP2 Developing and using models.
Near the end of class, I remind the students that they will be presenting their models to their classmates during the next class period. I ask the students if there are any materials that they found particularly helpful in the construction process. This provides the students to share some of their construction methods with their peers and provides a little extra help for students who may be struggling with finding the types of materials they want to finish their project.
We also discuss some of the shortcomings of the materials and the ways in which the models may not be as accurate as the students would like for them to be.
As my students enter the room, I direct them to the lab and have them begin working on their models from the previous day's lesson. The students are able to work with the same partner or may work independently.
I remind the students to double check that they have labeled the items they have displayed on their models. I do not require a set number or type of items that the students must include on their model for this specific project and found that the students went above and beyond in including structures on their models. While the students work, I circulate through the room asking them to point out various structures and to describe why the structure is important.
Once the students have finished up their models, I have them return to the classroom to prepare for presentations. The presentations of the models are very informal. I randomly select students to present, so all students must be ready to present. While presenting, I ask the students to display their model and to point out its relevant features.
The rest of the students are encouraged to ask questions either about the model structures or about the construction process used to create the model. I ask each student one question about their model. For example, I may ask why the student used a particular material to represent an item, requiring the student to address the issue of structure and function.
Once all of the students have presented, I facilitate a group discussion during which we review why the integumentary system is important and how it is related to the other systems of the body, which goes back to the notes review the students completed on the first day of this activity. Our discussion about the ways in which the integumentary system connects to other body systems addresses NGSS MS-LS1-3 Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells. This discussion also addresses NGSS Cross Cutting Concept Systems and System Models - Systems may interact with other systems.
This AAAS website provides helpful information on how the body systems are connected.