Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Middle School Biology (grades 5-8) Botany and Human Biology

Weeks 1 and 2: What is Life? An Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology

Weeks 3 and 4: Classifying Life

Weeks 5 and 6: Biomes and Food Chains
  1. Teach the student about food chains. Include plants, animals, decomposers and scavengers in the chain. Have your student choose a biome such as desert, mountian, rainforest or swamp and write about some of the relationships found in the biome your student is studying.
  2. Ask your student to choose an animals from the biome he is studying and find out what type of home the animal makes for itself. 
  3. Teach the student about parasites. In this relationship, one organism gets its food from another organism and harms it in the process. A common parasitic relationship is between a flea and a rat. The rate in this relationship is called a host. (Cross-curriculum link: Middle Ages and The Black Death.)
  4. Teach about mutualism or symbiosis. In this relationship the two organisms involved help each other. One may provide food and the other may provide shelter.
  5. Teach about commensalism. Sometimes two organisms live together but only one of the two benefits and the other is not harmed by the relationship. Have your student look for specific species that have his relationship.
  6. Have your student draw a picture and label the cycle of decomposition. Include the living organisms that die, the decomposer that breaks them down into nutrients and the new life that benefits from the nutrients.
Week 7: Botany

Week 11: Leaves

Week 12: Stems

Week 15:The Human Biology: The Skeletal System

  1. The skeleton is a support system that gives the body shape. The human body has 206 bones that protect the organs and act as a system of levers that allow the body to move.
  2. Compare bones to exoskeletons.
  3. Study the major bones of the body and label the bones on a skeleton sketch. (ribs, ulna, tarsals, patella, phalanges, metatarsals, radius, ilium, maxilla, carpals, ischium, mandible, metacarpals, sternum)
  4. Read about joints.
  5. Read about ligaments. Ligaments join bones at the joint.  A sprain is a tear in a ligament and take a long time to heal. 
  6. Demonstrate the ligament on an uncooked chicken wing or leg.
Week 16: The Muscular System
muscle cell observations lesson
source: Hands On Muscle Lesson from Adventures in Mommydom
  1. There are three types of muscles in the body, skeletal, cardiac and smooth. Skeletal muscle, also called striated muscle, covers the skeleton and makes up a large body weight. Cardiac muscle is found in the heart. Smooth muscles make up the stomach, intestines, blood vessels and diaphragm.
  2. Read about how skeletal muscles move a limb. Draw a diagram in your science  journal.
  3. How does temperature affect the movement of muscles?
Weeks 17 and 18: Energy and Life

  1. Learn about producers, consumers and decomposers and the cycle of life.
  2. Learn about how organisms get energy from their food.
  3. Learn about combustion in living organisms.
  4. Learn about the role of carbohydrates in organisms.
  5. Learn about how the body uses calories and metabolic rates in mammals.

Weeks 19 and 20: Health and Nutrition
  1. Discuss the role of good nutrition in the health of the human body.
  2. Research a topic related to nutrition and write a report or present your findings in a creative format.
  3. Complete a nutritional analysis of one day's meals. Analyze the calories, fat, protein, and the minerals and vitamins, calories, protein and carbohydrates. How does it compare to the recommended daily diet of the food pyramid?
  4. Discuss the elements of a healthy diet. Refer to the food pyramid that teaches what you should eat each day. Have your student design a menu of foods that would provide you with the appropriate foods for a day. Choose foods that you like, making sure you include each food group.
  5. There are three types of exercise. Stretching exercises lengthen muscles and keep them from getting tight. You should stretch before and after vigorous exercise. Teach the student some stretching exercises.
  6. Weight lifting is another type of exercise. It develops muscle strength. There are different exercises for the different muscle groups in the body. Resistance of any kind can build muscle. Teach the student some safe resistance exercises.
  7. Aerobic exercise is the third type of exercise. It increases the heart and breathing rates, making the heart and lungs stronger.  Brainstorm a list of games, activities and exercise that make your heart beat faster and increase your breathing rate. Make a plan to do these at least three times a week. 
  8. Have your student make a circle graph that shows how he spends his day. Have him divide a large circle into 24 pie shaped wedges. Each wedge represents an hour. Have your student make a color code for different activities. For each hour of his day, have him color the wedge to show what he did.

Weeks 21 and 22: The Digestive and Renal Systems

  1. Draw and label a diagram of the digestive system.
  2. Learn about the pancreas and the effect of sodium bicarbonate on stomach acid.
  1. Read about the respiratory system. Review the work of the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, lungs, bronchial tubes, and diaphragm. The respiratory system has the job of providing the body with the oxygen it needs to function. We need oxygen to breathe, but our blood and all other cells need oxygen as well. Respiration includes inspiration or inhalation and expiration.
  2. Make a model of the respiratory system.
  3. Draw a diagram of the respiratory system. Draw and label arrows to show what happens when we breathe.
  4. Learn about blood oxygenation by completing a demonstration showing the capacity of your lungs.
  5. Make a working model of the lungs.
  6. Discuss respiratory problem and diseases such as tuberculosis, asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, lung cancer, bronchitis and the common cold. Pick one a write a short report about its cause and cure.
  7. Conduct an experiment to analyze the chemical make-up of the air we exhale. Pour 100ml of red cabbage indicator in a freezer bag. Make note of the color. Place a drinking straw in the top of the bag and fasten the bag tightly with a rubber band. Take a deep breath and blow into the bag through the straw. Remove the straw and hold the bag shut and swirl the solution gently about ten seconds. Remove the rubber bad and pour the contents of the bag into a plastic cup. Note the change in color. Using an eyedropper, add ammonia (a base) to the solution. Count the number of drops it takes to return the solution to its original color. Discuss the results. What gas did you inhale? How can you tell? What did the ammonia do to the color? Why?
  1. The circulatory system includes the heart, the blood, and the blood vessels. Read about this system. The circulatory system supplies food and oxygen to the cells of the body. It also carries carbon dioxide and other wastes away from all parts of the body. The circulatory system also carries substances throughout the body that promotes the body from disease. The heart is the pump that sends the blood coursing rapidly through the network of blood vessels. Make a sketch of how the blood flows through the heart.
  2. Read about the elements of blood. Blood is made up of plasma, red blood cells, and platelets. Make a model of the components of blood.
  3. What is the difference between the systemic circulatory system and the pulmonary circulatory system? The circulatory system delivers oxygen to all parts of the body. It takes two different routes. One route, the systemic circulation, carries oxygen-rich blood through arteries to all parts of the body. The same system returns the blood, now containing carbon dioxide, through veins to the heart for more oxygen. The other route, the pulmonary circulation, carries blood from the right side of the heart, travels only to the lungs to pick up oxygen, then returns the blood to the left side of the heart where it is sent on to the systemic circulation. Learn about the differences between arteries, veins and capillaries.
  4. Learn about blood typing and blood transfusions and complete an activity explaining this.

Week 26: Immune System
  1. Vocabulary: Pathogens, bacteria, antibody, vaccinations, immunization, immunity, parasites, antigen, lymph, white blood cells, viruses, fungi, antibiotic, pathology
  2. Explain the difference between an active immunity and a passive immunity.
  3. Allergies are the result of the immune system reacting to a usually harmless. Allergens stimulate a response such as mucous production.
  4. Good personal hygiene can prevent the transmission of diseases. Review good hygiene practices.

Weeks 27 and 28: The Nervous System
  1. Read about the brain, spinal cord and nerves.
  2. The three major parts of the brain include the cerebrum, the cerebellum and the medulla. Read about the  job of each. The largest part of the brain is called the cerebrum. It appears wrinkled and deeply grooved. The cerebrum controls sight, hearing, thinking, and voluntary muscle movement. The cerebrum is made up of a right and left hemisphere The hemispheres are made up of lobes. The cerebellum is located at the back of the brain and under the cerebrum. The cerebellum controls balance and coordination of movement. The medulla, also known as the brain stem, connects the spinal cord and the cerebrum. The medulla controls involuntary movements, such as the heart, eyes, lungs, stomach and intestines.
  3. Draw and label a diagram of a human brain.
  4. Some actions are reflexes. The message of pain is sent to the spinal cord and the message is quickly sent back to remove the body from the source of pain.

Week 29: The Integumentary System
  1. The skin is the largest organ of the body. It has three layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous tissue. Read about the make-up of the different layers. Make a model of skin.
  2. Draw a diagram of a cross section of skin.
  3. One of the jobs of the skin is to regulate the temperature of the body. Learn about the role of perspiration in cooling the body.
  4. Another role of the skin is to prevent harmful chemicals and diseases from entering the body. Discuss the importance of keeping the skin clean.
  5. Read about how and why pimples are made. What is acme?
  6. Read about skin color and how it is determined. Skin color is determined by heredity and exposure to sunlight. The amount of brown pigment, melanin, that the skin cells produce varies.


  1. I love seeing your step by step of how you teach topics.

    1. I am honored that you say that. Thank you. :)

  2. I keep pinning these curriculum posts - they are a lot of fun!

  3. My one daughter just started a module on the four systems of the human body. I always found that module so interesting! I'll have to show her this post.


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