I love how inquisitive young learners are. I love that they naturally want to ask why and dig deep to find the answers to their questions. Earlier in the year, my students were very intrigued with how our skeletal system works. I have found that one of the best ways to introduce a unit is to set up my easel with something that will ignite a conversation amongst my students. The first morning of our unit, my students came in to see this on our easel.
You can be sure that they were full of questions, wonders, ideas, and JOY. They came down to the carpet and immediately began to discuss our skeletal system. After jotting down a few of their wonders on our anchor chart, I read them the book, “Dem Bones.” After our first reading, I sang them the song and they joined in while touching each “bone” mentioned in the song.
There is also a cute version of this song on YouTube:
Throughout the week, we read multiple books on bones and our body and watched a few videos to help us build our schema. In order to help my young learners internalize some of the facts that we were learning, I set out a variety of play centers. Two years ago, when all of the Halloween items went on sale, I had picked up a few paper skeleton puzzles on sale and laminated them. I set them out as a puzzle invitation on my train table and it was a HUGE hit with this group of students. They completed the puzzle over and over again discussing the proper names of the bones and where they should go. As they got better and better at completing the puzzle, they wanted to race to see how quickly they could put it together.
Another activity that this group really enjoyed was painting their skeleton using white paint on black bulletin board paper. We traced their bodies using chalk and then my students added the bones. We hung them up in the hallway to show others what we were learning and boy were our parents, other students, and administration impressed with our artistic representations of our skeletons!
Since so much vocabulary is built through dramatic play, I transformed our center into an X-ray lab! The children could not get enough of this center. In fact, it was such a hit, that it grew to include our carpet and easel area as well!
My students looked intently at our (real life) x-rays on our light table and discussed what bones they thought they were observing.
They also enjoyed using our magnetic skeleton as another “x-ray station.” The doctor in the picture below is telling her patient, “Your x-ray is showing that your bone is a little out of whack.” (HAHA!)
Don’t worry though, the patient and the doctor came up with a plan to restore her bone together. 😉
They also made sure to reference a few bone books and consult with another doctor to ensure the treatment plan was the right one!
During exploration centers, my students enjoyed drawing what they were learning. (Can you tell how much this group loves art?!) This young learner below drew a picture of a broken bone. She circled where the problem was and then went on to label her illustration.
As a science/discovery center, I set out our “squishy body” three dimensional puzzle. My students loved finding the organs, placing them on the work mat, and assembling the puzzle. This was a huge challenge for them at first, but through perseverance, they become very adept at putting it together! While working on it, they came to some fantastic conclusions: bones protect our organs, where certain organs went, and how intricate our body systems are! This was also a great opportunity for my students to practice their reading skills. They worked so hard at decoding the labels on the sorting mat and really enjoyed reading the activity book that came with the set. This was such an authentic way for my students to practice their reading and comprehension skills!
Through specific mini lessons, books, and videos, paired with intentional play-based activities, my students learned so much about how our bones work, what they are, why we have them, and our bodies.
If you are looking for some of the hands-on materials that I used during this unit, here are some helpful links.
Please note that these are Amazon Affiliate links. If you purchase something through that link, at no extra cost to you, Amazon sends me a small compensation that helps keep my blog running and helps fund giveaways!
SmartLab Toys Squishy Human Body: http://amzn.to/2D59li7
3-D Magnetic Demonstration Skeleton: http://amzn.to/2BUJ1rB
True To Life, Human X-rays: http://amzn.to/2D3pnJi