Fifth graders recently continued their study of the human body with an experimental, messy, socks-on, gloves-on, Body Day. Students had the opportunity to take the abstract information they learned in the classroom and apply it to themselves. They visited three stations operated by enthusiastic volunteers, hypothesizing and learning how our bodies are designed to help us perform our daily functions. They used iodine to determine that digestion begins in the mouth, and that our saliva is not the same as water. They tested their taste buds, identifying places on the tongue that respond to salty, sweet, bitter, and sour tastes. They manipulated models of lungs to explore how its muscles work. They listened to each other breath, measuring heart rates. They tested reflexes, grabbing a ruler as it fell, and feeling pricks on the insides of their arms. They got their bodies moving at the muscles and bones station, squeezing a scale to establish which muscles are stronger, those in the arm or the leg. Examining their hands, they measured the length of each bone, and examined their fingerprints. Students concluded their experiments with a prayer from our tradition known as Asher Yatzar, giving thanks for our good health.
After learning about the six body systems (respiratory, circulatory, GI, nervous, endocrine and immune system), students chose one, conducted research and wrote a paper about its function. Working collaboratively in our Landau Family Makerspace, students created 3-dimensional models and stop-motion animation videos about each system. Click here to view the video about the digestive system.
To culminate the body unit, a panel of doctor experts visited the classroom to listen to the students’ persuasive essays, addressing the supreme importance of their organ to the functioning of the human body. The doctors listened, questioned and were even tasked with “choosing” the most important organs.
Studying Torah and Talmud teaches our students to look at issues from multiple perspectives. Powered by Perelman, our students have the ability to synthesize and find meaning in general studies with inimitable sophistication and perception.