The human body is one of the most captivating lessons for students to learn about because, well, it relates to all of them in a fairly obvious way. It’s also such a fascinating topic. Have you ever truly thought about how complex the human body is? From the circulatory system pumping life into our veins to the lightning fast messages sent through our nervous system to perform even the simplest of tasks. The human body is a testament to biology and all its wonder.
When starting out a human body systems unit, it’s important to break it down for your students. Begin with discussing the levels of organization. You can do this in a few different ways but to keep it simple, you can go with this simple model.
You can also review levels of organization with this activity here. It’s quick and gives the students a quick review before jumping into the individual body systems.
Now that you have reviewed/introduced levels of organization, it’s time to utilize some human body systems lesson plans.
Lesson with Guided Notes
Now, there’s a lot of human body systems to review so you’ll want students to have a place to keep their notes and information about the individual systems so they can refer back to it later.
To introduce this topic, you can have your students think about the body systems they already know about and relate them to being part of a city. Ask them what they think each system would represent in the city. This gets their gears turning a bit and thinking about what they really know about the body.
After this, you can move into a human body systems lesson with guided notes. This lays out all the essential information they need to know about the body systems and more.
- What is the job of each system?
- What major organs can be found in each system?
- How are different body systems connected to work together?
- What is homeostasis and why is it important?
Have Students create a 3D model of a body system.
You can make this a collaborative activity where you create one giant project in which all students each have a component to add to your classroom “human.”
Human Body Systems Task Cards
One of my favorite ways to review concepts in the very beginning of a unit is with task cards. You can include questions that students can easily refer back to their notes to answer. Get students up and moving by using task cards in stations or by taping them around the room for a task card gallery walk. With these human body systems task cards, students will review the systems, levels of organization, major organs, systems working together and homeostasis.
Medical Mystery Case Studies
Now that they have learned the body systems, can they use some real-world application to really show what they know? Present students with fictional patients who have fictional symptoms. Have them try to figure out what is wrong with their patient based on the body system affected.
Sometimes it can be a little difficult for students to understand homeostasis but I have found that this homeostasis video from the Ameoba Sisters explains it really well. It also explains it in a simple way that students can understand while using a cute cartoon format.
Human Body Systems Stations
A little bit of creativity, a little bit of real-world application, a little bit of research and a mini lab all in one class period. That’s the beauty of using stations in middle school science. You can do so many activities and informally assess students in a variety of ways, all in the span of a single class period. With your human body systems unit, you can have each station represent a different body system or you can have all the stations focus on their interactions. Personally, I focused on a little of everything. Understanding the functions of the systems while interacting with one another and maintaining homeostasis within the body. You can find human body stations activities here that are easy to prep and take only 1-2 class periods to go through.
Body Systems Concept Map
As a class, in pairs, or independently, have students create concept maps. These concept maps should illustrate the connections between the body systems and their interactions with one another. One of the concepts students need to understand during this unit is that the body systems have independent jobs but that they all work together to perform various functions in the human body as a whole.
Discuss how each body systems relates to overall human health
Have students create presentations or posters that focus on healthy living and how to emphasize healthy habits for each body system to maintain overall health in the body.