This week in Wonderful Wednesday we focused on the amazing Immune System! The kids dressed up as Vikings (a timeline event for this week) - which also fit with our end of the day activity of "fighting" germs! The kids loved the immune system attack activity of the day, it was a ton of fun!
We started with a quick review of the body's skin and how that acts as a barrier to germs and is our first line of defense. The kids were surprised to learn that the skin excretes a substance that helps kill germs on our skins' surface, and that they might all wake up covered in mold if it didn't!
We took an apple and each child got two slices - one covered with saran wrap and one that was not. Then a drop of food dye was placed on each apple slice. The kids compared how the plastic wrap acted as a barrier for the apple, allowing no food dye to touch it and what the similarities and differences were to our skin.
In keeping with the idea of germs and our skin, we did a visual demonstration of why we should wash our hands. Using a bowl, pepper and a drop of dish detergent - the kids saw how quickly the pepper moved away from the drop of dish detergent. We made the comparison of how germs run away from washed hands and help keep us healthy.
Another line of defense we talked about was our body's mucus. We made some green "snot" with gelatin, boiling water, green food dye and corn syrup. The kids explored the feel and we talked about the necessity of mucus for trapping airborne germs that might make their way into our bodies, if it weren't for our mucus trapping them.
Then we took a fun break by making some "germ art". This required some thinned out paint, straws and some google eyes. The kids had fun designing their germs and giving them character.
We then talked about the role our lymphatic system plays in our body's immunity. The kids made a model with some pompom yarn (lymph vessels/nodes), red pipe cleaner (circulatory system), white model magic (thymus), foam (spleen), foam disc (red blood cell) and a brown piece of paper. They labeled their parts when they were finished.
We did an experiment demonstrating how antibodies mark the foreign germs that come into the body for the various cells to do their job in attacking the germs. This was using a jar of salt, some magnets, steel wool and plastic wrap. The kids mixed their germs (steel wool shavings from rubbing two steel pads together) into the salt (healthy cells) and then they added in their magnets (antibodies) a few at a time, shaking each time between and seeing how many pieces of the steel they collected.
The last experiment moved us right into the topic of the various cells and the jobs they perform to make up our immune systems response to a bacteria or virus. The kids were each assigned a "prop" to play their cell function. I got the list of cells and their functions from kidshealth.org. We had: cotton balls in a giant jar marked toxic chemical to be our killer cells, a military jacket with a toy gun to be the macrophage and lead the charge of the immune system attack, G and V sticky notes (for germs and virus) that they had to stick on the "germ" acting as the B cell, a walkie-talkie for the helper T cell to recruit and activate other immune cells, a clipboard to write down the immune system responses-acting as the memory cell so they could remember how to respond the next time, and a duck tape made halberd axe from previous medieval studies, that was used as the cytotoxic T cell to destroy the infected body cells! The kids were each given a part to play (we also had two green t-shirts to be the germs). Then the kids were told that the castle was the body and the two children who were chosen to wear the green t-shirt and be the invading germs, were not allowed to come off the blue square mat during the immune system attack. We then took turns launching various attacks until all the kids were able to play the germs and most of the parts. We reviewed each time what the various rolls represented and by the end, the kids could tell me what each of the cells did. They loved this game and didn't want to stop!
Last but not least, we had one of our fun, talented Moms create a very cute viking hat out of bananas, waffles, blueberries and whip cream! It was a definite Pinterest success! The kids ended their fun day with a review game of rock, paper, scissors!
All in all, it was a Wonderful Wednesday! I hope yours was too!