October 19, 2010

Guts and Germs Activities!

We wrapped up first grade science with a lesson on some of our body systems and how to keep 'em healthy!  We cut out and colored different parts of our insides and then put it all together on the rug to get a better picture of what's going on in there.  If you want to do this at home, just go to google images and find clip art of the different internal parts and copy/paste them to a document and enlarge them so that they are roughly to scale with regards to one another.

First we talked about the digestive system and colored a jaw to chew the food, and esophagus, a stomach, and a set of intestine.  The way Haven, 3, say esophagus is just off the hook funny!  I could wet my pant every time he says, "And den da popcorn goes down my apotogus!"  The kids all LOVED the end of the digestive system.  When they asked, "and what after the large intestine?" I got to tell them that when the food get's past there, they need to make a trip to the bathroom.  Why is it that potty talk always gets kids so excited?

Then we did some bones and talked specifically about the ribs and skull and how most bones are for structure, but those bones are as much for protecting out most vital organs as the are for keeping us from being a lump in the floor.

Haven watches silently as Hannah Jane puts the finishing touches on the heart.

Then it was our respiratory system.  We watched an animation of how the heart sucks the blood through the lungs to pick up oxygen and then we colored a heart and some lungs and tucked them safely under the ribs where they belong.

Finally our neuro response system.  We made a brain and a spinal column and watched a clip on how none of your organs can do a darn thing to keep you alive without your brain sending them signals and keeping them on task.
 Since we talked about all the cool things our bodies do without us having to put a lot of thought into it, I decided it was a fine time to talk about the few things we can consciously do to help them out where we can!  Like good hygiene and germs fighting techniques!

We watched a video on the first female Doctor, who was seemingly the first person to ever reach out to the ignorant masses and teach that things like keeping a clean house and actually washing your hands once in a while would help keep you out of the hospitals.  Can you even imagine a time where people didn't get that hand washing was important? 

So I decided to do a little activity with the kids to show how easily germs are transmitted without our ever realizing.  It was VERY effective and the pre-meal hand washing rates have sky rocketed since we did it!

For this activity we used glitter, vapor rub (but only because we didn't have any Vaseline, so go with the Vaseline if you have some handy!), and an apple.

I had Hannah Jane rub a little goop on her hands and then I sprinkled some glitter on her hands. Once she lived with it for a while, I had her go wash the goo off her hands.

I noticed good, point-making glob of goo on the silverware drawer knob.  So a little later I asked Hunter if he wanted yogurt and to please go get a spoon for himself out of the drawer.

Do me a favor and pretend like you can't see the mess that lives at the front of my silverware drawer.  K?
 He was on to me and tried to open the drawer without getting his hands all gross.


I decided I'd have to use Haven to make my point and asked him to grab a spoon too.  He grabbed that knob without hesitation.  He's rarely put off by a mess!  haha!  I asked if he'd get an apple for us to cut up and eat with our yogurt.  Aha!  Finally!  My point!

Haven grabbed the apple and said, "I don't want this one because it got Hannah's germs all over it.  See?"  He pointed to the glitter on the apple.  I told him that he had gotten those "germs" on the apple because he picked them up from the knob and moved them around.  He didn't even have to touch the "germ girl" to get her germs and spread them around!

We talked about how many things we touch that other people touch and how we have no idea if the person who used the shopping cart before us had a virus or not.  Hannah Jane mentioned to Hunter that this might be why mom is always asking him not to lick the grocery cart.  I cringed at the thought and confirmed her suspicion. 

I have to tell you that I got this idea from a college class for science teachers, but it didn't go down so well when it was given there.  The students who were sharing the activity with the group came early and greased the hand rail in the building's stairwell with Vaseline and glitter.  This meant that EVERYONE with a class in that building touched that grossness and flipped out not knowing what in the world was on their hands!  To make it worse, they didn't go clean it off when class was over.  For weeks I was hearing ed students still wondering what they had touched that day in Patten Wiser Hall!  Everyone in class felt relieved when they asked us to look at our hands and see all the "germs" we picked up on the way up the stairs!  It was way better than thinking we had touched someone's snot, science project, or glitter lip gloss that had been squirted on the handrail by an immature frat boy! 

I think this  is a pretty effective germ activity.  And kids generally love getting a little goopy in the name of science!

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