Health and the human body

Science Scope cover, November 2007This month’s issue has a theme that is appealing to most middle school students – the human body.
The article Choice, Control, and Change has a SciLinks, code for “Investigate good health” SS110701. This leads to a list of sites related to health issues such as obesity, vaccines, diet, and dental health. But if you want information on specific anatomy and/or physiology topics, you’ll have to dig a little deeper.
If you’ve never tried this, here is your assignment! After logging in to SciLinks, if you’re a registered user (not a guest), you get the chance to enter in a keyword such as “Blood” or “Circulatory System.” The other option is to do a search by NSES standard (National Science Education Standards). Choose a subject, topic, and grade level. Try “Life Science” as the subject, “Structure and Function in Living Systems” as the topic, and “5-8” as the grade level. You’ll get a list of all of the keywords for websites that are correlated to this very broad topic. As you scroll down, you’ll see topics such as Body Systems, Blood, Circulatory System, and Tissues and Organs. Click on a topic to get the SciLinks list of websites. Let me know in a comment if you have any trouble doing this.
When I taught seventh-grade life science, one of my essential questions was “What adaptations do living things have to sense and respond to their surroundings?” The first unit we did was on the human nervous system, including the brain and sense organs. The students were fascinated by this, and this unit was a good context to review what they knew (or didn’t know) about cells and tissues. We then looked at other animal phyla, from the simplest to the most complex, using this question and knowledge of the human nervous system as a framework. My favorite investigation was “What stimuli do earthworms react to?
To help student learn about the human nervous system, you won’t go wrong with Neuroscience for Kids. This website has recently been updated and is even better than the first time I saw it. This site could easily be the basis for comprehensive unit on the nervous system.

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