We are working through basic anatomy (and a small amount of physiology) this semester. Our main text is Great Science Adventures. Discovering the Human Body and Senses. It is strong in crafting and has good basic knowledge with lots of projects. I would classify this as upper elementary/early middle school. We had kids ranging from K-6th. The first units are on the skeletal system and bone tissues. This post contains affiliate link for your convenience. You can read my full disclosure here.
Skeletal Systems Overview
This book discusses the basic functions of the skeletal system as (paraphrasing here):
- Formation of blood cells
- Movements (along with muscles)
It also talks about two types of joints:
- Ball and socket
We also talked about the “parts” of a bone
- Outer Layer
- Compact bone
- Spongy bone
- Cartilage creates a model that is replaced by bone.
Skeletal System Diseases
We completed several extension activities. Some were from the book and some weren’t.
- Soaked bone: You can soak a bone for several day in vinegar and it will lose its minerals (calcium salts). As a result, the bone becomes flexible because the collagen protein (a predominant protein in cartilage) is remains. You can also bake a bone and it will destroy the protein and leave behind the calcium salts, which results in brittle bones that break easily. The point is that we need both to have bones that are flexible enough to handle our movements, yet rigid enough to support our structure.
- Build bodies out of modeling clay with bones and without: Without first and try to have them stand up. You could even time them and see how long they stand without drooping. Then make a similar man with a toothpick skeleton. Time how long he stands up. This is an illustration of the support/shape function of bones.
- Examined knee joints and hip joints: I had access to some bone models and we examined them. You could use pictures or their own bodies to talk about the differences between these two joints.
- Examined a bone slide and talked about the structure of compact bone.
- Create a synovial membrane: I took a Ziploc bag and put it between the femur and hip bones. Creating a lubricating membrane. If you don’t have bone models, you could use a bat and glove or mortar and pestle.
- Create a hinge joint: Using paper and brads you can create a hinge joint.
I would definitely recommend this series. It is especially useful for kids and parents that might not be well versed in the topic, but if a parent does have some background there is plenty of information to be a jumping off point. I can sometimes struggle with how much information to give and this provides a nice outline where details can be added as needed/wanted. Overall the book is good and has simple explanations, but you would definitely need to supplement if you have an older kiddo (or a kid that is science oriented). My kids are not crafty by nature, but they have enjoyed the interactive notebook component (for the most part).