This month we’re peeling back the layers to take a look inside the human body! In the body, trillions of unique cells work together to form the tissues, organs, and body systems that allow you to run and jump, laugh and cry, and feel pain and joy.
The books we’re highlighting this month dive into how the body works to sustain life. They are a great starting point for different sciences activities and discussions in the classroom. Here are a few to try:
Science Comic: The Brain – The Ultimate Thinking Machine by Tory Woollcott and Alex Graudins
Another title in this popular graphic novel series that focuses on science topics. Readers will explore the ultimate thinking machine – our own brain! How our brains evolved, how our brain controls our senses, how we remember things, and more.
- Discuss why it is important to know how your brain works. What modern technologies do scientists use to study the brain? How did scientists study the brain before modern technology? How did this limit their knowledge?
- Have students build a model neuron. Have students study a picture of the neuron and experiment with different ways and materials to create the neuron model. Use several neurons to model a neural network.
Human Cloning by Kristi Lew
This title for older readers explores the use of cloning and the depiction of human cloning in science fiction.
- Have students debate the pros and cons of human cloning. Assign groups of students to each side of the issue and have them research points that support their position.
- Discuss the concerns over the way genetic advances and technology are being used now and in the future. When does human intervention into the basic genetic code of life go too far?
Random Body Parts: Gross Anatomy Riddles in Verse by Leslie Bulion and Mike Lowery
With puzzles and fun verse, Leslie Bulion introduces human anatomy to middle-grade readers.
- Have students choose a body part to research. With the information they learn, students can then create their own human body poetry and puzzles.
- Have students swap the puzzles they created with classmates to see if they can solve each other’s riddles with the clues provided.
Human Movement: How the Body Walks, Runs, Jumps, and Kicks by Carla Mooney and Samuel Carbaugh
This book delves into how our bodies work when we play sports, dance, and walk. There are plenty of STEM projects, informative sidebars, and fun facts throughout the chapters.
- Have students pick a type of movement – running, jumping, dancing, etc. Then have them prepare a flow chart that shows how the body creates this movement. What body systems are involved? How does the body know what to do? What actions and reactions occur to create the movement? What forces are involved?
- What happens when an injury occurs to the body? How does this affect movement? Have students research a common injury such as a broken bone, sprained ankle, pulled muscle, torn ACL, etc. Then have them prepare a presentation on the injury’s affect on the body and movement.
- Try one of the many STEM activities in the book!
Carla Mooney loves to explore the world around us and discover the details about how it works. An award-winning author of numerous nonfiction science books for kids and teens, she hopes to spark a healthy curiosity and love of science in today’s young people. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, three kids, and dog. When not writing, she can often be spotted at a hockey rink for one of her kids’ games. Find her at http://www.carlamooney.com, on Facebook @carlamooneyauthor, or on Twitter @carlawrites.