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K-5 > Human Body
Grade level: 3-4 Subject: Human Body Duration: Two class periods
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Bodies on the Mend

Students will understand the following:
1. The importance of a survey questionnaire.
2. The basics of data collection and graphing.
3. The concept of relationships between data.

For this lesson, you will need:
markers or dot stickers
large construction paper or bulletin board paper

1. To begin the lesson, ask your students if any of them have ever broken a bone. Lead a short discussion on broken bones and the treatments that students received. Then ask your students the following question: Do you think it takes a large bone longer to heal than it takes a short bone to heal? Accept student responses as guesses for this question. Then tell students that they are going to try to answer that question by gathering information from their schoolmates.
2. Next, ask your students to work as a class to generate a list of questions for a survey on broken bones and healing time. (Questions might include: Name and age? Have you ever broken a bone? Which bone did you break? Did you have a cast? How long was the cast on? How long did it take your bone to heal? Did you require any physical therapy or special exercises afterwards?)
3. When the class has decided on questions, take your students to other classes to conduct the survey. (You will obviously need to get permission from other teachers to visit their classes beforehand.) Try to visit as many classes as possible, because the more data you have, the more information you can organize.
4. When the survey is complete, have your students plot their data on a large graph. The vertical axis should be labeled “Length of Healing Time” and divided into weeks. The horizontal axis should be labeled with the different bones that appeared in the survey. Using markers or dot stickers, have your students plot points for the healing times for each broken bone; there should be several points for each kind of broken bone, and some of the points may overlap. The collection of points above each bone should give a clear sense of the approximate average healing time.
5. Lead a discussion about the graph. Ask the class to note whether there seems to be a relationship between the size of the bone and the length of healing time. You can also ask students to consider why (or why not) a relationship exists.
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For younger students, you might want to utilize a simpler graphing project. The survey could only collect data about which students had ever broken a bone and which bones they broke. You could then have the class create a bar graph for the various bones, indicating how often each had been broken for class members. The graph would then indicate which bones seemed to be the most and least likely to break.
Students in higher grades should be able to develop their own survey questions regarding broken bones: Do girls break more bones than boys break? Do adults break more bones than children break? Are more large bones than small bones broken? Do older students break more bones than do younger students? Are certain places—playgrounds, the home, the school—more likely to lead to broken bones than others? Students can also develop individual graphs depicting the information they have gathered. When they are finished, they can share their graphs with the rest of the school.
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Discussion Questions

1. Discuss how the x-ray machine has changed the treatment of broken bones. What problems could have happened before we had x-rays?
2. Healthy bones are always growing. Our bodies repair them when they age. Discuss how diet, exercise, and age affect the health of our bones.
3. Suppose that a tiny camera could replace a person’s eye. How could having a camera for an eye help you? What problems would you have?
4. Noise pollution (excessive noise) is a problem for today’s hearing health. What sources of noise pollution can affect our hearing? How can we protect our ears from noise damage?
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You can use a five-point rubric to evaluate student work:
Five points: survey questionnaire designed; survey completed with 15 responses; graph designed correctly; data entered correctly on the graph; student participates in discussion.

Three points: survey questionnaire partially complete; survey completed with 10 responses; graph designed correctly, but with minimal labeling; some participation in discussion.

One point: survey questionnaire incomplete; survey completed with five responses; graph partially designed, not labeled; student does not participate in discussion.

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Safety First!
Have your students make a list of ways that people could improve the safety of their work, play, and school environments and reduce the risk of broken bones. Make sure they touch on safety equipment, health factors that influence bone strength, and behavior. You might also invite your school nurse to talk to your class about preventing broken bones.

Look Out!
To help your students understand how human vision compares to camera vision, take the class outside and have each student walk around a proscribed area while looking through a cardboard tube. Then have them repeat the same path using their regular vision. When they are finished, lead a discussion about how the two forms of vision were different.

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Suggested Readings

How the Body Works
Steve Parker. Dorling Kindersley Limited, 1994.
This book invites youngsters and teachers to discover our amazing human body with hands-on fun. It is chock-full with experiments that teach everything from why our bones are so strong to how nature and technology help us exceed our limits. The clear, colorful photographs make the experiments easy to understand.

Human Body
Mary J. Wright. Time-Life Education, Inc., 1999.
This vibrant, in-depth book pulls you into to the story of how our bodies work and mend. With timelines, diagrams, sidebars, and humorous graphics, you can’t help but turn the page! It also contains interesting “how and why” trivia as well as a glossary and an index.

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Children and Crime Prevention
This site, which is sponsored by the National Crime Prevention Council, includes games and projects for students on safety, many of which can be downloaded for student use.

No Bones About it—Drink Milk for Calcium
This site was created for students age 9 to 14 to encourage good nutrition for strong bones and good health. Find fascinating facts, games, and information for parents and teachers!

Seeing, Hearing and Smelling the World
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has created this site for science and health information on how the senses work.

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Click on any of the vocabulary words below to hear them pronounced and used in a sentence.

speaker    bionics
Definition:A science concerned with the application of data about the functioning of biological systems to the solution of engineering problems.
Context:Bionics is about trying to use technology to match or even improve the abilities of the human body.

speaker    collagen
Definition:An insoluble fibrous protein that occurs in the bones of vertebrates.
Context:The arches in a bone are built out of a mixture of strong minerals like calcium and phosphate and a flexible protein called collagen.

speaker    decipher
Definition:To interpret the meaning of.
Context:As nerve cells are stimulated, the brain will decipher the image.

speaker    intricate
Definition:Having many complexly interrelating parts or elements.
Context:Inside Lisa’s bone, the intricate arches have been snapped to pieces.

speaker    massive
Definition:Impressively large.
Context:Lisa’s body is faced with a massive repair job.

speaker    microchip
Definition:A tiny complex of electronic components and their connections that is produced on a small slice of material.
Context:This microchip contains 100 electrodes, which can register as 100 dots of light.

speaker    transformation
Definition:Change from one state to another.
Context:The transformation from blood to bone is under way as Lisa’s bone begins to mend.

speaker    vibrate
Definition:To swing or move to and fro.
Context:Sounds travel in waves that make the air vibrate.

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This lesson plan may be used to address the academic standards listed below. These standards are drawn from Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education: 2nd Edition and have been provided courtesy of theMid-continent Research for Education and Learningin Aurora, Colorado.
Grade level:3-5
Subject area:health
Knows environmental and external factors that affect individual and community health.
Knows how the physical environment can impact personal health (e.g., the effects of exposure to pollutants).

Grade level:3-5
Subject area:health
Knows essential concepts and practices concerning injury prevention and safety.
Knows safety rules and practices to be used in home, school, and community settings (e.g., using a seat belt or helmet, protecting ears from exposure to excessive noise, wearing appropriate clothing and protective equipment for sports, using sunscreen or a hat in bright sunlight).

Grade level:K-2, 3-5
Subject area:mathematics
Understands and applies basic and advanced concepts of statistics and data analysis.
Understands that observations about objects or events can be organized and displayed in simple graphs.
Organizes and displays data in simple bar graphs, pie charts, and line graphs.
Reads and interprets simple bar graphs, pie charts, and line graphs.

Grade level:3-5
Subject area:technology
Understands the relationships among science, technology, society, and the individual.
Knows areas in which technology has improved human lives (e.g., transportation, communication, nutrition, sanitation, health care, entertainment).

Grade level:6-8
Subject area:science
Knows the general structure and functions of cells in organisms.
Knows that multicellular organisms have a variety of specialized cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems that perform specialized functions (e.g., digestion, respiration, reproduction, circulation, excretion, movement, control and coordination, protection from disease).

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Diane Hoffman, second grade teacher, teacher trainer, and education consultant.
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