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 conducting research on a body part of their choosing, students will use persuasive writing skills to convince their classmates of the supreme importance of their organ to the functioning of the human body. The unit of study will culminate with a special meeting of the Human Body Corporation. Each of our 5th graders are responsible for persuading parents – acting as CEOs of the corporation - that the organ they researched was essential to body functioning and could not be fired!