If you’re following our journey on Instagram, then you know we are doing a month long human anatomy unit study under the hashtag #humanbodyhomeschool. If you haven’t been following along, go check it out and feel free to join in! I have saved all of my lesson posts under the Human Anatomy logo in my highlights in case you are planning a human body study for the future and want to save some ideas!
Resources We Are Using
We are following along with the Human Body curriculum from The Good And The Beautiful. So far, I am absolutely loving the way the curriculum is written, the information included, and the prompts to ask children! Included are diagrams, crafts, and vocabulary cards. Each lesson is clear, concise, easy to teach, and easy to understand! This curriculum is aimed for elementary (K-6) and I am using it with my 5 and 7 year old.
Since we are an eclectic homeschool, we use resources from all over. Below is a list of additional materials that we started with:
- Human Body Floor Puzzle (double-sided) from Melissa & Doug
- Human Body: The Big Countdown by Paul Rockett
- See Inside Your Body by Usborne
- Squishy Human Body model by Smart Lab Toys
- Felt Anatomy Guy (template) by Wild and Free Felts
- Body Systems Match Up from Target (Dollar Spot)
- Printables from Colorfullllstudy
- Intro To Human Anatomy from my shop
- Tiny Bop Human Anatomy app (for ipad)
- DK Smithsonian Knowledge Box books
There is no right or wrong way to start a unit study, but because human anatomy is so complex, I chose a specific way and order to do things. Also, this is part review and part deep dive for my son and completely new and fresh for my daughter. So, I tried my best to keep that in mind and cater to both of them.
The Skeletal System
We began with the skeletal system simply because it is the foundation for our body’s systems. We started by reading through the See Inside Your Body skeleton page and built our human body floor puzzle. We used the 3 part montessori cards from Colorfullllstudy and read the facts from the The Big Countdown book. We took turns pointing to the correct bones in our body when I called their names out and got a good feel of bone placement. We also built a replica spine using wooden beads for the vertebrae and a pipe cleaner to represent the spinal cord!
The second day, we used TGATB curriculum to understand joints, ligaments, and cartilage. We reviewed the different types of joints, tested them ourselves, and built a joint model from a popsicle stick, cotton ball, and rubberband. Visuals are important for such a complex study and really help my children understand the actions and functions of their bodies.
The Muscular System
The muscular system was the natural next step since muscles are attached to bones. These lessons go hand in hand and compliment each other well. We used our curriculum to learn how muscles move (they don’t push!) and the main muscle names. We discussed why we should have healthy muscles and how that helps our organs. We built these awesome movable hands to show how muscles pull using cardstock, straws and string. This was a great visual representation of movement! We also dove deeper into advanced vocabulary words like voluntary vs involuntary (which lent itself well as a basis for our organ study).
My kids begged me to learn about the organs because that is what they are most interested in. Now that we had basis for the body structure down, we studied some main organs and their functions. I read facts while the kids colored in each organ card. We matched them to their correct names and took apart our Squishy Human Body model. He completely dissembles for a full view of main bones, muscles and organs. We placed them all on the “Organ-izer” poster that comes with him and then the kids took turns reassembling him to be sure they knew the correct placement!
Then, as a review, we took turns placing the felt organs in the correct places on our anatomy guy! This was such a fun and hands-on lesson that really gave my children a good idea of where everything is inside of us!
The Body Systems: Digestive System
Now that we’ve learned and reviewed the organs, we are moving onto each body system that uses these organs to understand the function and relationship between the systems and their components. We started with the digestive system and for our visual aid, we measured and filled a bottle with the amount of saliva we produce each day: 44 ounces on average!
For the second day of our digestive system, we learned about what we put into our bodies. We used the completely FREE printable packet from Nature Nate’s to make good food choices! This packet is full of fun and playful learning (like we even needed an excuse to bust out the fake food)! We took it a step further, and after my son compiled his healthy food grocery list, he estimated the cost of each item and added it up. Then, I looked up the average price of these foods and calculated the actual cost of his grocery list. He was almost $100 off (who pays $20 for broccoli?) and it was a great way to incorporate math and real life perspective of the cost to feed our family.
I will continue to share our human anatomy lessons throughout the month and hope to inspire you to get creative with your own unit studies at home! Let me know if you have any questions about our approach or resources below.