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5th Grade Science Unit - The Human Body

The students in this class completed a unit of study about the human body systems, including the skeletal, muscular, respiratory, circulatory and digestive systems.  Several assignments and activities are highlighted below along with a lesson sequence for the digestive system.

 

The following assignment required students to research a disease using the internet and complete a worksheet summarizing what they found.  Students worked in pairs for this assignment.  This lesson was successful because there were multiple objectives being met at the same time: learning science content, using technology and working with another person.  Because students had some choice in what they researched, they were motivated and interested in the topics.

   

 

This activity, which was the culminating activity for the digestive system segment, required students to make life sized drawings of their own digestive systems.  They enjoyed the hands on project which reinforced what they had learned during the lecture sessions.

   
   

 

This is the lesson sequence for the digestive system:

THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

Unit Contents

Overview / Rationale

Page 2

Concept Map

Page 2

Preparing the Learning Environment

Page 3

Unit Goals / Essential Questions

Page 3

Lesson Plan Sequence

Page 3

Content

Page 6

Unit Culminating Activity

Page 7

Resources

Page 7

Home/School Connection

Page 7

Appendix

Page 7

 Overview / Rationale

          Fifth grade students are required by New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards to have an understanding of the major systems of the human body, including the digestive system.  This provides them with a basis for studying this process in other living organisms.  It also allows them to understand what’s happening in their own bodies and why things like proper nutrition and exercise are important.  The digestive system is particularly interesting to students because of the connection to the food they eat every day.

            During this unit, students will be able to identify the major organs that function as part of the digestive system.  They will become familiar with the size, shape and location of these organs and will be able to create a life-size representation of their own digestive system on large paper sheets.  They will watch a video of a real life digestive system.  They will conduct an experiment that illustrates how chewing food aids in digestion.

 

Concept Map

 

            The diagram below depicts the concepts that will be included in this unit.

Preparing the Learning Environment      

Students will use their science folders to collect notes and worksheets completed during the unit.  These resources will be used during the final activity.  Several large models of the digestive system will be displayed in the classroom prior to beginning the unit.  Trade books depicting the digestive system will be available in the class library.  The school TV-VCR cart will be reserved for day two of the lesson.

The life-size representations will be done using sheets of paper from the school supply.  Each group will select a representative to accompany the teacher to the supply area to cut paper and bring it back to the classroom.  The gymnasium and/or lunch room will be used as work space if available on the day that this activity is completed.  Other supplies needed are crayons, markers, construction paper, tape and glue sticks.

A student package will be prepared for each student containing worksheets that will reinforce the content covered during the lessons.  Other supplementary materials will be provided for students who may finish activities early.  These include the above mentioned trade books as well as individual activities such as word finds or crossword puzzles and web based games.

The swallowing demonstration will require a tube sock and tennis ball for each group.  The home-school activity will require preparation of a take home activity kit for each student containing a sugar packet, one sugar cube, a stirrer and two plastic cups.

Unit Goals / Essential Questions

At the end of this unit, students will be able to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the primary function of the digestive system?
  2. What are the main organs of the digestive system and what role do they play?

 

Lesson Plan Sequence

1.      Rationale:  Children are naturally curious about their bodies and its functions.  This unit will enable each student to understand what organs make up the digestive system and what each part does.  The students will have the basic background knowledge of the digestive system and its features.

Our rationale for choosing to present the lessons in this format was to first give the students the basic facts and descriptions about the organs that form the digestive system and their individual functions.  Once this information was received by the students during lesson one and reinforced by the use of their digestive system packets that dealt with the organs, we could move forward to the next steps of the unit. 

The second lesson builds upon the previous lesson by showing the students how all of the organs that they have previously learned about function together as one system.  Here, the process of digestion will be discussed and modeled by watching a video.  Now the students will be able to see how each of the organs works together to aid the body in digesting food.  A demonstration of swallowing (peristalsis) will be conducted using a tube sock and a tennis ball to show how food travels through the esophagus.  The students will also do an experiment at home with a parent to model how breaking up food aids in digestion.  The student’s digestive system packets will be utilized during the second lesson as well.

Our last lesson will incorporate what was learned in the previous two lessons to create a life size model of the digestive system.  Students will draw and label the organs that make up the digestive system in an outline of their own bodies.  Once finished, the students will be able to tell us how food is digested and show us by using the diagram that they have just created.  This activity will also serve as a final assessment for each of the students.

2.      New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards:

Standard 5.1 Scientific Processes

            A. Habits of Mind

                        2.  Communicate experimental findings to others.

Standard 5.1 Scientific Processes

            B. Inquiry and Problem Solving

                        1. Identify questions and make predictions that can be addressed by conducting investigations.

Standard 5.5 Characteristics of Life

            A. Matter, Energy and Organization in Living Systems

                        1. Explain how systems of the human body are interrelated and regulate the body’s internal environment.

Objectives/Assessments: 

Objectives

Assessments

Cognitive objectives:  Lesson 1 - SWBAT identify every organ that comprises the digestive system.

Students will complete pages in their digestive system packets relating to organ identification.

Lesson 1 - SWBAT define what the function is for each specific part of the digestive system.

Students will complete pages in their digestive system packets relating to the functions of each specific part.

The teachers will engage the students with questions relating to the functions of the stomach, large intestines, small intestines, liver, esophagus, mouth, gall bladder, pancreas, and saliva.

Lesson 2 - SWBAT discover how the digestive system works.

Students will complete pages in their digestive system packets relating to the process of digestion.

Students will discuss factors that aid in digestion in small groups while the teachers observe.

Psychomotor objectives:  Lesson 2 - SWBAT watch a video dealing with the digestive process.

Students will discuss the digestive process upon completion of the video while the teachers observe.

Lesson 3 - SWBAT create a life size replica of their body, draw all of the components of the digestive system, and label them accurately.

The teachers will evaluate student work on this project and check for accuracy.

Affective objectives:  Lessons 1-3 -SWBAT work cooperatively while discussing the digestive process.

The teachers will monitor the classroom during group assignments.

3.      Motivational beginnings:  The hook for our first lesson will be the use of a KWL chart along with several diagrams and models of the digestive system displayed in the front of the classroom.  To begin our second lesson, we will ask the students, “What happens to a piece of gum once you swallow it?”  We will give students a minute to discuss the question at their tables and then solicit answers from the class.  Prior to the third lesson, a large diagram of the digestive system will be displayed in the front of the class along with all of the materials that we will need to use for our culminating activity.

Questions:

Lesson 1:  What organs make up the digestive system?  What role does the stomach play in digestion?  What role do the small intestines play in digestion?  What role do the large intestines play in digestion?  What affect does saliva have in the digestion of food?  What is the pancreas and what role does it play in digestion?  What is a gall bladder?  What is an esophagus and can you point to yours?

Lesson 2:  What are enzymes and how do they aid in digestion?  What types of digestive juices are there?  How are fats, proteins, and carbohydrates different from each other?  What important part of the food is absorbed by the small intestines that are vital to our body and health?  Which vitamins are retained by our bodies?  Can you describe the process of digestion?  What factors can impact digestion and the rate that your food is digested?  What happens when you swallow gum?

Lesson 3:  Why do you think that it is important for us to digest our food?  Can digestion aid our body to do other things?  How do you think the digestive system interacts with the other major body systems?  What could happen if your body does not understand the signals that your digestive system is sending?

Closure:  To close our first lesson, we will provide a review of each of the organs that comprise the digestive system and their functions.  After our second lesson, we will discuss the video that we just finished watching and answer any questions or misconceptions that the students may have.  We will also summarize how the digestive process works.  Once our third lesson is complete, each child will have the opportunity to show us their life size drawing, point out all of the organs, and briefly explain how their own digestive system works.

Content

 

The digestive system breaks down the food you eat into very small materials.  Then, the food can enter your cells.  The digestive system is made of many organs that help you digest food.

The first step of digestion is chewing.  Chewing makes food smaller so you can swallow it.  Front teeth help you cut food when you bite.  Teeth in the back of the mouth are flatter.  They help you crush food.  The tongue moves food and helps you swallow.  Then the food enters the esophagus.  Food does not move to the stomach because of gravity.  The esophagus pushes food into the stomach by squeezing its rings of muscles in a pattern called peristalsis.  As a lump of food passes each ring of muscle, the muscles behind the food contract.  This pushes the food through the esophagus to the stomach in about two or three seconds.

There is a muscle at the bottom of the esophagus called the sphincter.  This muscle opens when you swallow to let food into the stomach.  Then, the muscle closes so food cannot move back into the esophagus.  The walls of the stomach can stretch to store approximately 8 cups of food.  The stomach produces fluids that help digest food.  Strong muscles in the stomach squeeze to mix these fluids with food.  The stomach secretes mucus to protect itself from the digestive fluids.

Food is ready to leave the stomach when it becomes a wet, soupy paste called chyme.  The stomach squeezes the food into a long, winding tube called the small intestine.  The liver, gall bladder and pancreas are organs that send chemicals to the small intestine.  These chemicals help digest food.  The walls of the small intestine are lined with structures called villi.  They are shaped like tiny fingers and are about one millimeter tall.  The villi help the small intestine collect food.  Villi have very thin walls.  Food moves from the villi into the capillaries.  Then, the blood brings this food to body cells.

Some food cannot be digested.  This food waste moves from the small intestine into the large intestine, also known as the colon.  The large intestine takes water and salts from the waste to make it more solid.  Many helpful bacteria live in the large intestines that help to make vitamins that your body uses.  The helpful bacteria also keep out bad bacteria that cause disease.  Finally, muscles squeeze the waste out of the body.

Unit Culminating Activity

            The final activity in this unit, which will also be used to assess learning, will require each student to make a life size drawing of him or herself.  They will draw and label the parts of the digestive system using their notes and activity worksheets used in the prior lessons.  Each drawing will be evaluated on its accurate depiction of the main organs.  The drawings will be displayed in the school lunchroom.

Resources

Trade and Textbooks:

·         Scott Foresman Science, Grade 5 Teachers Edition, Pearson Education, Inc., 2006

·         The Digestive System, Darlene R. Stille, Children’s Press, 1997

·         Digesting Food, Richard Walker, Franklin Watts, 2004

·         I Have a Weird Brother Who Digested a Fly, Joan Holub, Albert Whitman & Company, 1999

Websites:

http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/yrdd

http://kidshealth.org

Video:

·         Human Body in Action: Digestive & Excretory Systems, Schlessinger Media, 2001

Home/School Connection

            A home/school connection will be achieved by having students complete a hands-on activity at home.  This will allow students to share what they are learning in the classroom with their families.  The activity, titled “How does chewing help digestion?” involves students recording the time it takes for crushed sugar and a sugar cube to dissolve in water.  This illustrates the impact that chewing has on the digestion process.

            The activity worksheets will be accompanied by a set of materials and a letter explaining the purpose of the activity.

Appendix

Attached are copies of the worksheets and other resource materials used during the unit.

 

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