I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.
Christian Anatomy Lessons: Skeletons and Muscles
Create edible models of bone parts, use stickers to label the bones on your body, dissect soup bones and muscles, design workouts for individual muscle groups, and more! These lessons are geared toward 4th- or 5th-grade-level children and their siblings. Another creative mom planned this for our homeschooling co-op. We meet each week for 2 1/2 hours and have 33 children between the ages of 1-13. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, family, after-school program, or co-op!
Part 1: Systems of the Body & Why God Gave Us Bones
YOU WILL NEED:
- Pray. Read and discuss Ezekiel 37:1-14.
- Review cells and DNA. Introduce the major systems of the body: endocrine system, nervous system, muscular system, urinary system, cardiovascular system, digestive system, integumentary system, skeletal system, respiratory system, reproductive system, and lymphatic system.
- Show a picture of and repeat a mnemonic device to remember each of the systems: each night my unintelligent cat dives into some really rocky lakes.
- Ask the children why they think God gave us bones. Most children will say something about how it gives us our shape or form, it holds us up, and it helps us to move.
- Quickly form a person from Play-doh and say, "If we didn't have skeletons, our bodies would be like this Play-doh person. Can it move? No."
- Allow a child to smash the person. Say, "It would also be easily smashed. Just imagine if you fell. That would happen to your body."
Part 2: How Bones Protect Organs
YOU WILL NEED:
- an egg
- a hard plastic container filled with water
- a balloon
- Show an egg and say, "What would happen if we shook around this egg in a container? It would break, wouldn't it?"
- Say, "This egg is like your brain. If it wasn't surrounded by our cranium/skull and some fluid for extra protection, it could break easily. Let's see how it works."
- Place the egg in a hard container that's filled with water. Allow every child to shake it around 5 times. Did it break?
- Tell them: "Just like the bottle and water protected the egg from breaking, our cranium and the fluid inside protects our brains."
- Then ask: "What do your ribs protect? Take a deep breath in and out. Did you feel them move? Your ribs protect your lungs and heart."
- Show a balloon and say, "If your ribs weren't protecting your lungs, if you fell, what might happen to your lungs? Yes, they might easily smash like this balloon."
- Allow a child to pop the balloon.
Part 3: How Bones Make Blood & Store Fat and Minerals
It wasn't until I was learning about the human body with my children that I learned (or maybe relearned) that your bones make blood cells!
YOU WILL NEED:
- cheese (or other food that has calcium) for the children to sample
- "Where does our blood come from? Yes, our hearts pump our blood, but where do the blood cells come from?"
- Ask if anyone has a cut right now. Say, "Your body had to make more blood cells to replace the ones you lost. Also, blood cells work really hard delivering oxygen and carbon dioxide, so they only live for a few weeks. We need lots of new blood cells. Where do they come from?"
- Tell them, "Your bones are blood cell factories. This is why you can’t just replace real bones with manmade bones. Bones also store fats and minerals for our bodies."
- Show them your bag or purse. Say, "I keep the things I'm going to need in my purse. Here are my keys, lip gloss, sunglasses, etc. Your bones are like a backpack or purse, storing what your body needs, like fats (called lipids). Who can name something that fat does for our bodies? Do you remember that the cell membrane we learned about last week (which was represented by the plastic ziplock bag) is mostly made up of lipids, or fats? If you had no lipids in your diet, you would not have cell membranes. Could you have cells without cell membranes? No! You could not survive without your cells."
- And: "Your bones also store minerals like calcium, which help your heart beat and help your mind think. If you’re forgetful, drink some milk."
- Pass out cheese for children to eat. Say, "Even though your bones store calcium, you still need to eat and drink some every day—at least three servings. What has calcium? Milk, yogurt, cheese, collard greens, spinach. You help your bones get stronger with Vitamin D from sunlight (also in foods) and by getting exercise.
Part 4: The Inside of Bones
YOU WILL NEED: (1 per group of children)
- Soup bone
- Disposable plate
- Toothpicks or disposable knives
- Disposable gloves (optional)
Pair children up into groups of 2-5 and pass out pieces of cow femur (soup bone purchased from the grocery store) on plates.
- Mention each of the parts (periosteum, compact bone, spongy bone, and bone marrow).
- Have them peel away the periosteum.
- Give the children toothpicks so that they can scoop out the marrow.
- Mention how some people eat bone marrow because it is high in iron (and considered tasty) and some people make soup from these because they're high in collagen.
Part 5 (Option A): Make a Non-Edible Bone Model (Craft Project)
Make a model of a cross-section of a bone.
YOU WILL NEED: (per child)
- 4-inch piece of toilet paper/paper towel/wrapping paper roll
- Red and blue crayons
- Shelf liner
- Crumpled up red and yellow tissue paper (or red and yellow pompoms)
- Plastic wrap
- Take a 4-inch piece of toilet paper, paper towel, or wrapping paper roll. Use red and blue crayons to draw blood vessels and nerve endings on the tube, as it is supplied with blood and nerve tissue.
- Tape a piece of plastic wrap to the outside of the paper roll. This represents the periosteum, which is the bone's outside layer. The tube itself represents compact bone, which is the hard, dense layer.
- Next, push some shelf liner into the tube. This represents the spongy bone, which is still hard but less dense than compact bone.
- Put some crumpled up yellow tissue paper in the middle to represent the marrow. The yellow marrow stores fat.
- Place crumpled up red tissue paper pieces at the ends of the tubes. Red marrow produces red and white blood cells.
- Tape plastic wrap over the ends so that the tissue paper won't fall out.
Part 5 (Option B): Edible Bone Model (Craft Project)
Lead children in making an edible bone model. To see the script for what I said during this activity, look below the lesson in Appendix A.
YOU WILL NEED: (per child)
- 1 plate
- 1 napkin
- 1 small or medium tortilla
- 2 strips of white sandwich bread (which would amount to half of a piece of white bread)
- 2 sugar wafer cookies (preferably strawberry or vanilla)
- 1 spoonful of strawberry jam/jelly
- 1 spoonful of orange jam/jelly (apricot, mango, peach, etc.)
- 1 disposable spoon
- 3 strings from Twizzlers Pull & Peel (Not 78 whole pieces but 78 strings. 1 Twizzlers piece has 9 strands.)
Prep: Ahead of time lay out the items that are needed for each child on individual plates with their names on them.*
- Review each of the parts of the bone and what they do. Have the children guess what each of the items will represent in their edible bone model.
- Tell them that the tortilla is the outermost layer of the bone, the periosteum.
- Lay the 2 bread pieces in the center of the tortilla. They will be the spongy bone.
- They can use their spoons to spread the orange jam in the middle of the pieces of bread, as it will be the yellow bone marrow. They should spread the red jam on the top and bottom edge of the bread, as it will be the red bone marrow.
- Lay one strip of the licorice down the middle of the jam to represent the blood vessels. They can put the 2 pieces of bread together like a sandwich.
- Separate the 2 sugar wafers into 4 pieces and place them around the 4 sides of the bread and jelly sandwich. These are the compact bones.
- Wrap the whole thing in the tortilla. Wrap 2 pieces of licorice around the outside of the tortilla. These represent the blood vessels and nerves.
- Review one more time what each part represents. Set these aside for children to take home. If you are not limited by time, they can eat them then.
Part 6: How Broken Bones Heal
YOU WILL NEED:
- X-ray or picture of an x-ray
- A cast (if someone has one)
- Your Body Battles a Broken Bone by Vicki Cobb or another book on how bones repair themselves
- Ask if anyone has ever broken a bone. Did they have surgery or a cast put over the bone they broke?
- Show an x-ray or a picture of an x-ray. Pass around a cast if someone has one.
- Say, "A bone is strong like steel and concrete, but the spongy bone makes the bone resilient so that it can bounce back after being compressed. There is one main difference in this living tissue when compared to other matter. It has the ability to repair itself. A bone will start healing within one hour of a fracture. That's why it is an emergency when someone breaks a bone. As soon as possible, x-rays need to be taken to see if surgery is required to put the two bones back together."
- Tell them, "Within one hour of a fracture, leaking blood from the bone forms a blood clot. After a few days, cells called fibroblasts and osteoblasts make spongy bone in the open area. A callus forms on the bone as it continues to harden and blood vessels regrow over the area. It will continue to harden and be completely healed in 3 months."
- If you're not limited by time, read Your Body Battles a Broken Bone by Vicki Cobb.
Part 7: Make a Model Osteon (Craft Project)
If you are not limited by time, make a model of osteon. Compact bone is made up of osteon, also called the Haversian system.
YOU WILL NEED:
- 2 lumps of modeling clay or play-dough
- A drinking glass
- Drinking straws
- Hold up some straws. These will represent the osteons, which are made from thousands of fibers of collagen embedded in mineral salts of calcium and phosphorus, which will be represented by this clay/play-dough.
- Flatten two lumps of clay/play-dough. The fibers are laid in circular layers.
- Use the rim of a drinking glass to make an indention in each lump of clay/dough.
- In one clump, make a tower of straws pointing in all directions. In the second lump of clay/dough, make a second tower with the same number of straws placed upright around the indentation. Ask the children which tower they think will be stronger.
- Test the strength of each tower by placing books on top of it. The ring of straws should be much stronger. The circular pattern of the osteon in our compact bone makes our bones strong and hard.
Part 8: Make an Osteon/Haversian System Model (Craft Project)
Make a model of the arrangement of the osteon/haversian system.
YOU WILL NEED: (per child)
- 4x6 piece of construction paper or cardstock
- About 30 straws cut into 6-inch lengths
- Double-sided tape
- Scotch Tape
- Give each child a sheet of paper. It represents the periosteum of the bone.
- Use a few strips of double-sided tape to cover one side of the paper. Fold into a tube with the tape on the inside. Tape this closed with Scotch Tape.
- Stick the straws into the inside of the tube until no more can be added. The straws represent the osteon.
Part 9: Bone Count
Count your bones. Spend a minute trying to count how many individual bones you have.
- Tell them: "We have 206 bones and more than half are in our hands and feet. (We have 54 bones in our hands, and our feet have 52 bones.)"
- Ask them: "Why do you think you were not able to count all the bones in your body?" (Some are well-hidden, fused together, on a part that they didn't think to count like on the back, etc.)
Part 10: Labeling Your Bones
Go over the scientific names of some of your bones.
YOU WILL NEED:
- Stickers containing the above-referenced bones
- A reference sheet
- Walk children through them and have them touch each one.
- Pass out a sheet of printed labels that have each of the bones listed on them. Children can use a reference sheet from the Internet or a book for assistance.
- Have the children place each of the stickers over the named bones on their own bodies.
- Our stickers included cranium, mandible, maxilla, scapula, humerus, radius, ulna, carpals, metacarpals, phalanges, sternum, costals/ribs, vertebrae, sacrum, femur, tibia, fibula, talus, malleolus, calcaneus, tarsals, metatarsals, phalanges, patella, pelvis, and clavicle.
Part 11: Learn About Vertebrae
Create a model of the vertebrae. Briefly talk about our backbones.
YOU WILL NEED: (per child)
- Pipe cleaner
- 5 pony beads of 1 color
- 12 pony beads of another color
- 7 pony beads of a third color
- Construct a spine using a pipe cleaner (representing the spinal cord) and 3 different colored beads.
- Fold a knot at the end of a pipe cleaner.
- Working from bottom to top, add 5 lumbar vertebrae of beads of one color.
- Next, add 12 Thoracic vertebrae of another color.
- Finally, have the children add 7 cervical vertebrae that are the neck. Shape the spine into an S shape and you have a human vertebra.
- Be sure the mention that these are just the 24 articulating vertebrae. There are also 9 fused vertebrae in the sacrum and the coccyx that don't bend. As they bend their pipe cleaner spinal cords, they can see just how flexible our column of vertebrae bones is. You can also talk about what it means when someone says they have a slipped disc. "The Visual Dictionary of the Human Body" has a great illustration of this!
- You can also make an edible model of vertebrae using gummy Life Savers, pasta, and pipe cleaners.
Part 12: Joints and Synovial Fluid
YOU WILL NEED:
- 1 bottle of mild scented or unscented hand lotion
- Explain what joints are. If someone made a hand model, you can use it to demonstrate the joints in your hands. We have over 200 joints in our body. There are 56 joints in each hand. Some joints allow a lot of movement. Some allow a small amount of movement. Some joints (like the ones in your cranium) hold the bones together but do not allow any movement. Between the joints is synovial fluid, which helps the joints move more easily.
- Have the children rub their hands together really hard for 20 seconds and then notice how warm their hands are (from the heat produced by friction) and how rough it felt.
- Put lotion on each child’s hand and tell them to rub their hands together for 20 seconds again. This lotion is like the synovial fluid that helps your joints avoid damage from friction.
(This activity idea came from in Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology (Young Explorer Series) by Jeannie K. Fulbright.)
Part 13: "Name That Joint": Types of Joints
Having a game-show-host type of persona while presenting this would be ideal.
- Tell them: "We are going to play a quick game of “Find that Joint”. I am going to describe a type of joint, and I want you to show me where that type of joint is in your body by moving it."
- Say, "We will start with a hinge joint. A hinge joint lets bones swing fully in one direction: up and down, but not side to side." (Move your elbows up and down like you are doing bicep curls and kick your legs like you are kicking a ball to give them a hint.) Say, "Yes, the elbow and knee have hinge joints! They offer a limited range of motion but are very stable. Move your elbows and knees while saying, 'hinge joint.'"
- Tell them: "The pivot joint allows for one bone to twist around another joint, allowing it to rotate or turn from side to side" (Shake your head “no” and “yes” to give them a hint.) Yes, the top two vertebrae let your skull pivot from side to side and up and down. Shake your head “no” and then “yes” while you say, “pivot joint.”
- Tell them: "The ball-and-socket joint is the most flexible joint, allowing movement in many directions." (Stretch your shoulders out and around in circles and wiggle your hips around to give them a hint.) "Yes, your shoulders and hips have ball and socket joints. They offer a wide range of motion but are less stable than hinge joints." Move your shoulders and hips while you say, “ball-and-socket joint.”
- "A sliding or gliding joint lets two bones that can move separately meet." (Flick your wrists, move around your ankle, and twist around your back to give them a hint.) "Yes, your wrists, ankles, and vertebrae/spine have sliding or gliding joints. You have two bones that move separately meet and slide over one another, allowing you to bend and twist." Move around your vertebrae, wrists, and ankles as you say, “sliding joints”.
- Say: "Our last one is tricky, but I think you can guess what it is. A fixed joint is a joint that does not move. There are places in our body that bones come together in our body, but they do not move." (Tap your head as if you are thinking hard.) "Yes, we have fixed joints where the bones of our cranium come together." Tap your cranium gently while you say, “fixed joint”.
- Thank you for joining me today on “Name that Joint”!
Part 14: Muscle Groups (Antagonistic Muscles)
YOU WILL NEED: (per child)
- 8" x 1" strip of cardboard (cereal box cardboard would work well)
- Rubber bands
- Discuss the difference between voluntary and involuntary muscles, how many muscles are in the body (more than 650), and how muscles work. Make a model of how our arm muscles move.
- First, have the children flex their biceps and then their triceps. Explain how these 2 muscles work together to move your arm bones.
- Have the children fold and then unfold an 8" x 1" strip of cardboard in the middle to create a cardboard arm. Have them cut the bottom half into 2 strips to represent the radius and ulna. Cut 2 rubber bands so that they are straight. These represent the bicep and tricep muscles.
- Tape a rubber band muscle in a straight line to each side of the top part of the cardboard arm (the humerus). As the children pull one rubber band, it will make the sections of the arm bend toward each other and contract. This is the action of the biceps.
- When they pull the rubber band muscle on the reverse side (the triceps), the biceps lengthen and relax. Have them put the cardboard arm in the crook of their elbow and then watch what happens to the rubber bands as they raise and lower their arms.
Part 15: Dissecting Muscles
- Dissect a piece of lightly cooked meat (such as beef brisket).
- Mention how most of the meat we eat is actually the muscle of the animal.
- Allow children to separate the meat into thin strips of muscle fibers.
- Discuss how individual muscle cells are wrapped in a cell membrane and connective tissue. They are also bundled together in connective tissue (tendons) in order to securely attach skeletal muscle to bone.
Part 16: Muscle Names & Physical Training
YOU WILL NEED:
- 12 strips of paper that each list a different muscle and its common shortened name, if applicable: deltoids (“delts”), biceps, abdominals (“abs”), hamstrings, frontalis, triceps, gastrocnemius ("calves"), latissimus dorsi (“lats”), pectoral (“pecs”), gluteus maximus (“glutes”), quadriceps (“quads”), trapezius (“traps”) and papers that show where muscles are located
- Tell the children that they are going to become physical trainers. They will work in pairs to come up with an exercise that will target the muscle that they select.
- Assign each child (or pair of children) a muscle. They will need to locate the muscle on the sheet they have that lists where the muscles are located and then come up with an exercise. Teachers/parents can provide help as needed.
- Have each child/pair go up to the front one at a time. They should say what muscle they have and the common shortened name if their muscle has one written in parenthesis. They should point to the muscle on their bodies, and then demonstrate the exercise. Everyone should do the exercise. (This should take each pair about 30-45 seconds.)
Part 17: A Review of the Bones and Muscles
Review what we learned in this series of lessons? Ask questions such as:
- What system has to do with our bones? (Skeletal)
- How many bones do we have in our bodies? (206)
- Use the scientific name for a bone and show me where it is. (Allow a few children to answer.)
- What is one job that our bones do? (Allow at least 2 children to answer: give us our shape, make blood cells, store fat, protect vital organs, etc.)
- What is the thin, tough membrane on the outside of our bones called? (periosteum)
- What is the periosteum filled with? (Blood vessels and nerves)
- What part of the bone is the hard, white part? (Compact bone)
- What is the name of the less dense type of bone that helps our bones spring back when compressed? (Spongy bone)
- What is the jelly-like material in the middle of the bone called? (Marrow)
- What does marrow do? (Red produces red and white blood cell and yellow marrow stores lipids/fat.)
- What is one thing your body does to heal a bone after you have broken it? (It forms a blood clot, fibroblasts and osteoblasts make spongy bone, a callus forms, etc.)
- What did God put between our joints to protect them from friction? (Synovial fluid)
- Name a type of joint and show me where that joint can be found on your body. (Hinge – elbow & knee, pivot – top of your vertebrae, ball-and-socket – shoulders and hips, sliding or gliding – wrists, ankles, and back, fixed – cranium)
- Tell me something you learned about muscles. (Allow a few children to answer.)
- What was your favorite part of the lesson today? (Allow each child to answer.)
Our Favorite Children's Books on the Skeletal System
- The Skeleton Inside You (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Philip Balestrino does a great job of explaining the skeletal system in a fun manner. Of all the books, I would recommend this one as the best option for reading aloud to a class.
- Bend and Stretch: Learning About Your Bones and Muscles (The Amazing Body) by Pamela Hill Nettleton does a good job of explaining how both systems work together in a simplistic manner. The illustrations appeal to even younger children and the information is quite educational. It is the best book option for preschool- or kindergarten-aged children.
- Bones: Skeletons and How They Work by Steve Jenkins compares human bones and skeletons to various animals' bones. While the book does call humans an animal (I just skipped over those words), this book does a great job of showing how perfectly God created each animal and their skeletons. That's not something directly mentioned in the book, but is what we discussed after reading the book.
- Your Body Battles a Broken Bone by Vicki Cobb is especially enjoyable because it is written in a superhero fashion. It has great illustrations that keep the attention of children and a highly educational text written as a fast-paced adventure. Even though it used the actual words (osteoblasts, fibroblasts, etc.), because it portrays them as superheroes, my children remember their names and love this wonderful picture book.
- You Can't Make a Move Without Your Muscles (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science Book) by Paul Showers was a favorite.
- The Mighty Muscular and Skeletal Systems: How Do My Muscles and Bones Work? (Slim Goodbody's Body Buddies) by John Burstein was also a favorite from the large stack of children's books we read through.
Optional Homework: Lapbook & Hand Model
- Optional homework: Download and print out free printable lapbook pages for the skeletal and muscular systems.
- Optional homework: Print out, cut out, and put together the skeleton from pp. 7-12 at https://www.exploringnature.org/. *Feel free to be minimal on the cutting.* You do NOT have to label them, but you can if you want.
- Extra credit: Build a working model of a hand using cut cereal boxes and string. To make a working wooden model of the bones of the hand and tendons (like the one in the picture above). You could use cut pieces of foam instead of wood, if needed.
Lyrical Life Science Volume 3
Throughout our unit on the human body, we listened to the songs from Lyrical Life Science Volume 3: The Human Body. They have catchy tunes with plenty of substantial scientific material in them! They also include great workbooks with fill-in-the-blank pages that go along with the CD. The material would be ideal for upper-elementary-to-middle school-aged children, although even my youngest ones have learned the songs from the CD.
Bill Nye on the Skeletal & Muscular Systems
Schoolhouse Rock- Them Not-So-Dry Bones
Animaniacs (skip the line about evolution)
The Bone Dance - Hannah Montana
Appendix A: Script for Edible Bone Model
- Quickly review the parts of the bones and what each part does. Ask the children what they think each of the food items will represent in their edible bone model.
- Take everything except the tortilla off their plate and place the other items on the napkin. Tell them that the tortilla is the outermost layer of the bone. Who remembers what it is called? (Periosteum) [Have children repeat periosteum.] We’ll talk a little bit more about it later.
- Lay the 2 strips of sandwich bread along the center of the tortilla. Ask them what they think might be spongy like this bread that is in their bones. Yes, the bread is the spongy bone. [Have children repeat spongy bone.] Spongy bone is a network of pores and tunnels interconnected in a pattern that makes the bone strong yet resilient. Ask if anyone has ever shut their hand in a door or car door. Did your hand break? If it didn't break, you can thank your spongy bone.
- Spread the outside tips of the bread with the red jam. Ask, “What is inside the spongy bone?” It is what you pulled out of the cow bone using your toothpicks. Yes, it is bone marrow. [Have children repeat bone marrow.] There are actually two kinds of marrow: red and yellow. Red bone marrow is the kind in which blood cells are made. When you cut yourself and bleed, your body needs to replace that blood. Your red bone marrow is where your new blood cells come from. You need lots of red blood cells because they do not last very long in your body. Even if you do not cut yourself, your red blood cells die after only about 4 months, so you need your red bone marrow to frequently manufacture new blood cells to replace the ones that die.
- Spread the bread with the peach/apricot jam in the center of the bread. Ask, “What is the other type of bone marrow? Yes, it is yellow bone marrow. Your yellow bone marrow stores lipids. Who knows what lipids are? Yes, they are fat cells. Lipids are used throughout your body for many important functions. Who can name something that fat does for our bodies? Do you remember that the cell membrane we learned about last week (which was represented by the plastic ziplock bag) is mostly made up of lipids, or fats? If you had no lipids in your diet, you would not have cell membranes. Could you have cells without cell membranes? No! You could not survive without your cells. Thank God—He made fat!
- Lay one strip of the licorice down the middle of the jam. Ask the children what they think this might be. It represents the blood vessels, which continuously carry blood to and from the bones. Ask, “Is this the only place we find blood vessels in our bones?” (No, they are also on the outside.)
- Sandwich the bread pieces together. Place the sugar wafers along the sides of the bread. Ask, “What type of our bone is hard like this?” Yes, our compact bone is smooth and hard and is made of many layers of calcium-rich minerals woven together with collagen. Compact bone is the second strongest material in our bodies.
- Wrap the whole thing in the tortilla. Wrap 2 pieces of licorice around the outside of the tortilla. Blood vessels and nerves cover the outside of the bone as well. Who remembers what it is called? Have everyone say, “periosteum.” Yes, bones have feelings too! Do you think it is painful when you break a bone? Yes, it is. The reason why it is painful is because of all those nerves in your periosteum. The blood vessels take nutrients to the bone and take out the trash – the waste made by the bone cells. The periosteum also helps in the building of new bone. Ask, “Who likes building with Lego’s?” Sometimes after you build a rocket ship with Legos, you decide to tear it down and make it into a helicopter. Sometimes your new creation is better and sometimes it isn’t. Your body is doing the same thing with your bones. It is constantly remodeling, or building new bone and destroying old bone. Sometimes this makes them better and stronger, and sometimes it doesn’t. It all depends on what you eat and how much exercise and sun you get. That’s why you should ask your moms to go to the park each week! That will help your body get the exercise and sun it needs to make better, stronger bones.
- Let’s review one more time what each part represents:
-Licorice strings are the what? (blood vessels and nerves)
-Strawberry jam is the what? (red bone marrow)
-Peach jam is the what? (yellow bone marrow)
-Bread is the what? (spongy bone)
-Sugar wafers are the what? (compact bone)
-The tortilla is the what? (periosteum)
*Some of this script is based on what we read in Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology (Young Explorer Series) by Jeannie K. Fulbright.*
Helpful Links to Other Lessons About DNA, Genetics, and Body Systems
Create edible DNA models, made models of the insides of bones, dissect deer organs, create a working model of the respiratory system, play immune system freeze tag, and more in this fun 7-8 lesson unit on human anatomy! (An optional lesson on genetics and DNA is included.)
- Cells and DNA Lesson - This is part 1 of a 7 part hands-on unit study on anatomy of the human body. Create edible models of human cells and DNA, look at cheek cells under a microscope, and more!
- Genetics Lesson – This is an optional but very worthwhile lesson for the Human Anatomy Unit Study. Use M&M's to determine genetic traits, extract DNA from a strawberry using normal household materials, create edible DNA strands using marshmallows and licorice, design dog breeds as you select alleles, and more in this fun lesson on Genetics!
- Skeletal and Muscular Systems Lesson - This is part 2 of a 7 part hands-on unit study on anatomy of the human body. Create models of bone parts, use stickers to label the bones on your body, dissect soup bones, measure the range of motion of your joints, and more!
- Nervous System Lesson - This is part 3 of a 7 part hands-on unit study on anatomy of the human body. Create a clay model of the brain, twist together a pipe cleaner neuron, train your reflexes, dissect a deer brain and a cow eyeball (optional), and more!
- Digestive System Lesson - This is part 4 of a 7 part hands-on unit study on anatomy of the human body. Demonstrate how each part of the digestive system works using crackers, pantyhose, create teeth molds, prepare and eat a salad while discussing healthy eating habits, and more!
- Circulatory System Lesson - This is part 5 of a 7 part hands-on unit study on anatomy of the human body. Walk through your circulatory system, create a blood model and fake movie blood, measure your heart rate, dissect a heart, and more!
- Respiratory System Lesson - This is part 6 of a 7 part hands-on unit study on anatomy of the human body. Create a lung model, measure lung capacity, dissect a lung, play a respiratory relay race, and more!
- Immune System Lesson - This is part 7 of a 7 part hands-on unit study on anatomy of the human body. Play immune system freeze tag, watch how germs spread, observe bacteria under a microscope, and more! These lessons are geared toward 4th-5th grade level children and their.
- Human Body Unit Study Presentations and Field Trip Ideas - This is the culminating activity for the 7 part hands-on unit study on anatomy of the human body. Children presented game show themed games related to the human body or other creative presentations, and we had a systems-of-the-human-body-themed meal. Recipes are included! Also included are the field trips we attended during this unit.
Over the years I have posted over 40 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 170 lessons. The unit studies include the Human Body, Simple Machines, Earth Science, Medieval Period, American Revolution, Pioneer Life, Countries of the World, and many more! For each lesson I have included activities (with photos), our favorite books and YouTube video clips, lapbook links, and other resources. I posted links to all of my unit studies and lessons at Fun, FREE Hands-on Unit Studies .
Would you like to teach this way every day?
I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful Christian curriculum and was created by moms with active children!
If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' HomeSchoolMentor.com program! Watch videos online of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!
© 2012 Shannon
Comments, questions, or ideas - Please let me know you dropped by! I love getting feedback from you!!!
Shannon (author) from Florida on January 25, 2016:
Thank you so much! That is wonderful you will be able to use my lessons with your co-op!
annlove06 on January 14, 2016:
I love all of these ideas and plan to use many of them with our homeschool co-op. Thank you!
Shannon (author) from Florida on January 13, 2014:
@anonymous: Great! Thank you so much for dropping by!
anonymous on January 10, 2014:
Wonderful, I will use this with my daughter she'd enjoy these! thanks so much for sharing.
Shannon (author) from Florida on March 18, 2013:
@anonymous: Thank you! The children did definitely enjoy labeling themselves!
anonymous on March 17, 2013:
You make learning so much fun and you've done it again here. I would have loved your lessons when I was home schooling my children....well, I would have loved learning about the skeletal and muscular system myself with these great hands on lessons that have students not just hearing but really learning. The idea of labeling yourself just made me smile! :)
Shannon (author) from Florida on March 05, 2013:
@anonymous: Thank you!
anonymous on March 05, 2013:
thank you so much for posting these lesson plans! they are so creative, fun, and "meaty"! i have been so stressed about the science class i am teaching for co-op next quarter and now, after seeing your lesson plans, i am so excited! (okay, still stressed, but much less so!) thanks again!!!
sujathayder on March 09, 2012:
brando87 on March 09, 2012:
brilliant. What a resourceful way of teaching.