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

Human Biology with The Body Book: Easy-to-Make Hands-on Models That Teach by Donald Silver

We had so much fun learning about the human body with Donald Silver's The Body Book: Easy-to-Make Hands-on Models That Teach. It is recommended for ages 3-6, but I used it successfully with my boys ages 5-14. The book is full of reproducible patterns and easy step-by-step instructions so that students can make paper models of the major organs and systems of the human body.

First you put together the sections of bones to construct the skeleton. Then each lesson time, you add a new feature to your body model and learn about it from their lesson plans for the teacher.
As you put together each skeletal section, you can talk about the different bones in the body and how they fit together. I had them see how many they could feel themselves. Then it was a process of fitting one paper bone to another with tape.

I used this opportunity to examine an old chicken bone, paying attention to how hard it is. We then put it into a cup of vinegar.  I had them predict what they thought would happen to the bone. They had a pretty good idea.

We took it out after a week and found that the vinegar leached the calcium out, making the bone soft and rubbery.
In addition, the book has some larger models that work to highlight the features of various body systems. The boys pretty much already knew how bones support and protect the body, but they did not realize that blood cells are made in the bones. 
They made bone models that show the inside as well as the outside of a bone. We also talked about the difference between spongy bone (bone that has holes in it) and compact bone and the fact that long bones, such as in the legs and arms, have a hollow center. It is in this center that the white blood cells are stored. The red blood cells are stored in the spongy bone, on the ends of the bone. We talked about how the holes help to absorb the vibrations from impacts, and prevent broken bones.

 The boys also made models of muscles with card stock and brads. The card stock was folded like an accordion to mimic the muscle's contracting and expanding qualities.

Then they added muscles to one of the arms of their skeletons. The muscles actually could move the arm back and forth a little!

We also made paper models of joints to add to their notebooks. First they made the hinge joint of the leg and the pivot joint of the base of the skull.

Then they made a ball and socket joint.

They also made models of their skin. As you can see by how large the hairs are, the model is quite an enlargement of a section of skin. They put it together and colored the sensory areas for cold, heat, pressure, pain and touch. They enjoyed doing it a little at a time, coloring as they learn.

I like the order the lessons go in. After the skeletal system and the muscles, it begins the digestive system. You can make a large model/book of  the mouth. These show where on the tongue are the taste buds that specialize in certain flavors.
They then could match different foods with specific flavors to the appropiate areas on the tongue.
Lips are the cover to the book. Older student can label the different types of teeth. After the large model of the mouth is completed, students add the taste buds and the face to our skeletons. 

Then you add the small intestine to the body model.

I also added some of my own hands-on activities to the lessons. For example, when we studied the digestive system, Steven and I measured out a 21-foot piece of string in advance so that the boys could stretch it out to see for themselves how long the average adult small intestine is if uncoiled.

They then added a window in the small intestine to show the villi inside.
The boys added the Urinary System to their body models.
We had to lift up the digestive system and nestle the kidneys at the two lower ribs and rest the bladder on the pelvic bone.

I showed them a kidney bean and they could see how they got their name. They colored larger models of the kidney, showing the blood flow through the Vena Cava and the Aorta.

As the blood flows through the kidneys the harmful substances are filtered out and these wastes along with the extra water flows to the bladder and out of the body.
We had to cut the ribs apart so that the boys could add the respiratory system to their body models.
One side of the lung shows what the outside of the lung looks like.The other lung shows what the bronchials look like inside the lung.
The boys liked calling them the broccolies. Then we added the diaphragm. 
The boys had fun finding their own.
Next were paper models of the eye
The outer eye is, of course, what we are used to seeing and makes what we see eye-shaped.

We used plastic wrap for the cornea, or the whites of the eye, as it is a protective layer.

The iris changes size as it expands and contracts, letting more or less light in depending on the amount of light in the area.

The lens bends light so that we can focus our eyes to see things near to us and far from us.

"The retina is made up of rod cells that help us to see in dim light and distinguish white, black and gray and of cone cells that help us see in bright light and in color." 

The boys had fun drawing in cone and rod shapes.

"The nerves pass through a layer of blood vessels that deliver to eye cells nutrients and oxygen in the blood."

All the nerves join at the back of the eye in the optic nerve, which carries the electrical signals from the eye to the brain.

Lastly the model of the ear and yet it still folds up flat to place in a folder. The first layer shows the outer ear. The second layer shows that the ear drum is at the end of the ear canal. The hammer, anvil and stirrup bones are next, attaching at the other end to to an opening in the cochlea. You can easily visually trace sound vibrations as they pass through the parts of the ear and to the auditory nerves which send the signals to the brain with this model.
I highly recommend this book if you are studying the human body. It could be used to supplement an anatomy curriculum or stand alone as a human biology curriculum.

Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are mine. I just liked this product and thought I would share it with you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.

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