Table 1: The Cardiovascular System
- Find and measure your pulse (easier to count for 15 seconds and multiply by 4). Stick a straw into a small piece of clay and put it on your pulse point. What do you see? (Easy Genius Science Projects with the Human Body by Robert Gardner, p. 13)
- Race your heart! Using 2 Dixie cups, see how many times you can pour 2 oz. of water from one to the other in a minute. Did you match your heart rate? http://science-mattersblog.blogspot.mx/2011/02/body-systems-cardiovascular-system-race.html
- Half of the people at the table lie down for five minutes. The other half run in place or do jumping jacks for five. Check heart rates again; how did they change? (Easy Genius Science Projects with the Human Body by Robert Gardner, p. 31)
- If there’s extra time, try this Cardiovascular System word find
Materials Needed: Stopwatch (1); clay; small straws (1 per participant); Heart Rate Recording Sheet (1 per group); pencil; Dixie cups (2 per table spot); pitcher of water; liquid measuring cup; towels; copies of the Cardiovascular System word find (and definitions of words)
Comments: The kids had trouble finding and calculating pulses. They loved the heart race! It was messy, so towels are a definite must. We didn’t get to the other activities.
Table 2: Respiratory System
- Make a simple model of the lungs; see how diaphragm, lungs work http://science-mattersblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/body-systems-respiratory-system-model.html
- Test your lung power; how long can you keep a ping pong ball floating on top of a straw? (The Human Body: 25 Fantastic Projects by Kathleen M. Reilly, p. 24)
- If there’s extra time, try this Respiratory System word find
Materials Needed: Water bottle (1per participant), balloons (2 per participa
nt), scissors, tape, stopwatch (1), bendy straws (1 per participant), pipe cleaners (1 per participant), ping pong balls (1 per table spot), Ping Pong Ball Recording Sheet, pencil, copies of Respiratory System word find (and definitions of words)
Comments: We couldn’t get this first one to work at all — our water bottles were too flimsy. Instead, we had them see how long they could hold their breath, and then how long they could keep a ping pong ball afloat. It was hard to balance the ping pong ball to get started. Maybe for the younger kids, see how long they can keep the ping pong ball on the straw by sucking in?
Table 3: Muskuloskeletal System
- http://ourjourneywestward.com/human-body-systems/ The muscular graphing experiment looks cool and pretty easy. You can also do this by squeezing a tennis ball – (Easy Genius Science Projects with the Human Body by Robert Gardner, p. 76)
- Try to stand up from a chair with a straight back, arms folded. (Head to Toe Science by Jim Wiese, p. 72)
- Use a toilet paper tube to demonstrate the strength of a hollow tube (bone) (Head to Toe Science by Jim Wiese, p. 86)
- If there’s extra time, can work on this Skeletal System word find
Materials Needed: tennis balls or clothespins (1 per table spot), stopwatch, Muscular System Recording Sheet (1 per group), pencil, toilet paper tubes (2 per group), books, copies of word find and additional pencils
Comments: Results were not super consistent on the first activity, maybe because they weren’t squeezing the clothes pin all the way shut by the third round? The tracking sheet had a total of four tries, but we did just three. They loved both the chair activity and the toilet paper tube strength activity.
Table 4: Nervous System
- Print two copies of a maze, one forward and one backward. Time yourself going through the first maze. Then look at the second maze in a mirror. Time yourself going through it. Which one did you do better at? (Head to Toe Science by Jim Wiese, p. 14.)
- Is it easier to locate an object with 2 eyes or 1? Have a partner hold out a pencil. The second partner closes one eye and tries to touch the tip of the pencil with a second pencil. Try again with the other eye closed. Try again with both eyes open. Which way is easiest /hardest? (Easy Genius Science Projects with the Human Body by Robert Gardner, p. 59)
- Find your blind spot. (Easy Genius Science Projects with the Human Body by Robert Gardner, p. 64)
- (If they finish too quickly, do the balloon sensory bags from Fun with Science and/or the listening jars from Sound Storytime )
Materials Needed: copies of the maze (3 forward and 3 backward per participant), small hand mirrors (1 per table spot), stopwatches (2), pencils (8), recording sheets (1 per participant), index cards (1 per participant), sensory ballons and mats, listening jars
Comments: They really only got through the first activity. It was a little bit hard to time, especially with the mirror component, because it was so hard! For the younger kids, might want to find an easier maze and eliminate the timing – it’s pretty obvious the it’s harder through the mirror without trying to time yourself.
I found tons of fun things that were outside the scope of this 45-minute program.
- Make a model heart / pump: http://www.smm.org/heart/lessons/lesson5a.htm
- Make a model of blood: http://science-mattersblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/body-systems-cardiovascular-system.html
- The farting balloon! (Or “Whoopsie Whistle”). (Easy Genius Science Projects with the Human Body by Robert Gardner, p. 45) I’m not sure how instructive this is, but they’d love it.
- That thing with the room temperature water, ice water, and hot water
- Run a narrow, flexible tube from one ear to the other. Close your eyes and have a partner tap on the tube at different places. Can you tell where the sound is coming from? Try with tube running across in front and behind. (Easy Genius Science Projects with the Human Body by Robert Gardner, p. 39)
- Blindfold a partner. Have them touch similarly sized objects with the back of the hand, palm, cheek, knee, etc. Can they identify which object it is? Which parts are most sensitive? (Easy Genius Science Projects with the Human Body by Robert Gardner, p. 47)
- Shine a flashlight in a partner’s eyes. What happens to the pupil? Do the irises work together or separately? Have the partner close just one eye. Does the right pupil change when the left eye is covered (or the other way around)? (Easy Genius Science Projects with the Human Body by Robert Gardner, p. 57)
- Test reaction time (Easy Genius Science Projects with the Human Body by Robert Gardner, p. 95)
- Use cones to see if you can hear better with “bigger” ears (The Amazing Human Body by Shar Levine and Leslie Johnstone, p. 16)
- Put two paperclips on a ruler. See how close they have to be to each other to feel like just one point. Try on your palm, back of your hand, leg, arm, back, fingertips. Where is your skin the most sensitive? (The Amazing Human Body by Shar Levine and Leslie Johnstone, p. 39)
- Put several small, familiar objects in a sock. See if you can recognize them through the sock. Which part of your hand does this best? (From Head to Toe by Barbara Seuling, p. 28)
- Model of lungs: https://www.teachengineering.org/view_activity.php?url=collection/cub_/activities/cub_human/cub_human_lesson09_activity1.xml (We’d need to make this ahead and just let the kids play with it; it’s too complicated for the age group and time allotted.)
- http://www.aclassofone.blogspot.com/2013/12/apologia-anatomy-physiology-unit-three.html (We’d need to make this ahead and just let the kids play with it; it’s too complicated for the age group and time allotted.)
- Make a model spine with 25 paper discs, 25 beads (color code: 7 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 1 sacral), and a pipe cleaner. (From Head to Toe by Barbara Seuling, p. 12)
(For this particular program, I didn’t even look for activities on the following body systems: Endocrine, Immune, Lymphatic, Reproductive, Urinary. They seemed out of scope.)