|THEM BONES THEM BONES THEM DRY BONES!|
By Debby Venable
Oklahoma STEM Ambassador
What a more perfect time to study the human body than during the Halloween season! It is a great way to “hook” your kiddos on the functions of the amazing human body, the greatest example of a perfect functioning machine.
Not only are the stores full of body parts and gruesome props, but they get me to thinking about functions of the human body that are pretty gross. Unfortunately, some of our body functions are pretty nasty, but they have to be to “clean out the ole pipes “of this fine-tuned machine.
I set up this whole body unit in my afterschool program by telling my kids that some things that keep our bodies healthy are really part of the whole grossology experience. We do several hands-on experiments that mimic functions of the different body systems. One of the first things that we do is make fake “snot” or “mucus”, See why I do all this during the month of October, when everyone is thinking Halloween?
Snot or mucus is very easy to make and there are several “recipes” out there for everything from glow in the dark snot to snot with “lumps” in it. I have included one of my favorite sites http://library.thinkquest.org/J0112390/Boogers.htm
I always give my students insight into the functions of the body as we do the experiments, such as, our noses are really like mini vacuums. They suck out all the foreign material we breathe in, and we blow it out in the form of “snot”.
In this whole body unit, we work our way through each body system. Another great use for your fake snot or mucus recipe is to demonstrate how mucus makes the food you eat take a quiet exit from the body. I usually get a knee high hose and cut the end out of the toe. I give each child a small piece of banana and some fake mucus. We discuss the function of the intestines and the actions that aid the body in getting rid of its waste. Then we get back to the experiment at hand, or should I say, at intestines. Each student puts their banana in the knee high hose and adds the mucus. Then I instruct them to squeeze the banana slowly through the hose until it comes out the other end. Gross, huh? But there is no better way to demonstrate the functions of the intestines.
How about making a fake bone to study the skeletal system? I love to talk about the “leg bones connected to the foot bone…..” Sorry, just want to keep everyone in the mood. I have the kids bring 2 paper towel tubes, newspaper, masking tape, white paint, flour and water to make their skeletal bone.
Take one of the tubes and “pinch” the ends until you can slide one inside the other. You can adjust the length of the “bone” by how far you slide one tube inside the other. Wad a couple of sheets of newspaper into small balls and place on the end of the tubes, tape it. Now do the same to the other end. Now you are ready to make the flour/water mixture to wrap the rest of the newspaper around your bone. Let dry. When dry, paint your “bone”. Now you have the opportunity to talk about the skeletal system and the how we cannot function without it.
“Them bones, them bones, them dry bones…..”
See how taking gross recipes, and everyday throw away items, can make the study of the human body so much fun? We may certainly be grossed out, but you students will think you have the coolest program ever. Now, go forth an grossify your kids!