This is a 3 day lesson series that is my students' first introduction to the systems of the body. I like starting with this paper doll activity because the systems can be quite complex. Using an extended drawing activity that slows down student thinking and appeals to their happy early childhood memories of coloring while they begin to grapple with complex terms and how they relate to one another helps us tackle this large topic area in a very short period of time. Our school has a very popular upper level Human Anatomy and Physiology course and as a result, the introductory biology class tends to focus on molecular biology concepts rather than emphasize the body and other larger scale systems. This project helps me to give students a taste of what it is to come for them later on in their high school career.
On Day 1, students are introduced to resources about the human body systems and begin to brainstorm their paper doll ideas. The class also reviews basic concepts of hierarchy and organization within living systems: cell, tissue, organ, organ system, organism.
On Day 2, students collaborate during studio work time to complete their paper doll booklets.
And during Day 3, students share their projects with the class and make deeper connections with each system.
After this lesson series, we spend time digging into the essential concept of feedback loops and then work on a multi-day project activity involving specific body systems. This is a short unit, but one that students report being impacted by and enjoying as an end of the year experience before school lets out for the summer. And because they are now much more confident learners than they might have been at the start of the academic year, students feel comfortable taking on more independent roles in learning this new material.
1. Ask students to briefly discuss the following prompts in their lab groups:
What do you currently know about the systems of the human body?
What system do you most want to learn about and why?
2. Using the spokesperson protocol, have students briefly share out their responses. This primary goal of this step is to quickly generate student interest in and curiosity for this upcoming unit and to give you the teacher some ideas as to what to focus on and highlight in the classroom with your specific students.
3. Ask students to discuss the following prompts in their lab groups:
4. Introduce the concepts of anatomy (structure) and physiology (function) of human body systems. As a review of concepts introduced in the first semester, put the words organ, organism, tissue, system, and cell on the board and ask students to popcorn out responses to your questions: Which of these words is the smallest unit in an organism? Which represents the largest component of an organism? Clarify and correct any issues with the student version of hierarchy/levels of organization in organisms.
5. Pass out the human body systems key information document. Tell students that they will be watching a short, 8 minute video giving some basic information about each system. They should record relevant information on their document. Tell them there may still be blanks spots and that they will all be filled in by the time this unit is completed.
6. Show the video clip.
7. Allows students a few minutes to share out their document responses in their lab group. You can compare student answers to the master document as a reference point throughout this lesson series.
1. Tell students that they will start their exploration of the human body by creating some paper doll models to help describe the basic parts of each system. Pass out the paper doll activity document. Allow students to read the basic directions to themselves and then go through the assignment expectations as a group.
2. Pass out the Human Body Systems Overview document. Tell students that they will be able to utilize this document, the supplemental powerpoint slide presentation, and our textbook along with any other text or web based sources as they work to complete their paper doll activity.
3. Pass out the sample paper dolls template. Remind students that they may use this template or create their own. Point out the classroom resources available to them: textbooks, other texts, colored pencils, markers, scissors, rulers. Take any clarifying questions that students might have.
1. Tell students that with the remaining class time that their job is to decide which template they are going to use, begin creating their own template if that is in fact what they would prefer to do, and begin to investigate their resource materials before our work tomorrow creating our paper dolls.
Note: In order to help facilitate this studio time session, remind students of the following expectations:
2. While students look at resources, discuss ideas with each other, or begin to draw their original templates, circulate with words of encouragement, enthusiasm and to answer clarifying questions that might come up as students begin to read through their resource materials more closely. This is also a time that you might be able to recommend an especially great source for a specific system among your personal/classroom collection of books.
3. Tell students that they will have additional time in class to work on their projects.
Now on to Day 2!