The Human Body 2.0 Project was introduced in the previous lesson and is aimed at students being able to answer the essential question:
"How would scientists go about redesigning the human creature in order to get the most efficiency out of him?"
This type of open ended question requires students to have a functioning knowledge of each of the body systems and how they interact with each other. This means that for the next several sessions, the students are exploring 8 body systems. As they develop each of the blog posts, the students are visualizing the structure of each body system, modeling them through the use of analogies and analyzing them to determine how they function (CCC Structure and Function).
I have bookmarked kid-friendly sites on the learning center of the Human Body 2.0 website. These deliver information presented in several ways and at different reading levels so that all students can access the content. The bookmarks include videos, readings and mini-games, and it is not necessary for all students to gather information from all sites. Students are able to choose which sites to visit, and the only "rule" is that they remain on-task and complete their work in a timely manner so that they can participate in the team project.
I have created a Google spreadsheet/scoreboard that allows me to keep track of points, as well as who has access to the team project. Feel free to make a copy to use in your class. I display the spreadsheet at the beginning of each class period, and highlight students as they reach access to the team project as a way to keep us all accountable.
On the first day of the blogging portion of the project I play the following song by Mr. Parr to build student excitement about for the work that unfolds over the next few days.
The, students get their computers and navigate to the Human Body Redesign website. I show them how to move through the site, show an example of what a full XP blog looks like and give access to the suggested areas of redesign sheet.
I tell the students they will have one class period for each system, so any work that is not done during class becomes homework. Submissions of the blog post and redesign sheet are expected daily.
In the days that follow, the students navigate to the website as soon as they get to my class and continue where they left off the day before.
Aside from the obvious information gathering that occurs in order to create the blog posts for each of the systems studied, the students will be deriving meaning from scientific text (SP8: Obtain Evaluate and Communicate Information) as they create their analogies. Examples of student work can be seen by visiting the blogs - Student Work 1, Student Work 2, Student Work 3)
The suggested areas of redesign sheet is the foundation for the Human Body Redesign project, and provides students with an opportunity to think about the performance of each body system (SP4: Analyze and Interpret Data) in a new light.
This is what the students had to say about the blogging experience:
Note to Teachers: I do my best to grade both the blog (for content) and the redesign (for completion) daily so that students can see how they move towards "opening up" the team project on the scoreboard (see the initial Note to Teachers).