We started out our day lapbooking and signing through the timeline song together.
We then stepped right into discussion about the lungs and the respiratory system. After explaining this system to the kids, I gave them all some grapes on their vines. We compared the grape vines with the anatomy of our lungs. Grapes have a stem (trachea), branches off from that (bronchi), smaller branching off from that (bronchioles) and then the grapes (alveoli - air sacs). So the kids examined their grape "lungs" and then - ate them! We also discussed the fact that our respiratory system has both voluntary and involuntary muscles. The kids explored their voluntary muscle control, by blowing into a straw to race cotton balls across the table!
Next we made a 3D working lung model. This was made using a 2 liter bottle, playdoh, irrigation T, plastic tubing, pink balloons and a larger punch ball balloon. The kids started out by putting their balloons on either side of the T. (My husband had put the plastic tubing on, because it required some strength and heating up the tubing to make a snug fit, so it would be airtight.) Then they stuck their tubing through the spout of the bottle and packed play dough in the mouth, to make it airtight around the top. The bottle was cut at the bottom (before class) to accommodate the larger punch balloon, that was cut in half, and stretched to fit over the large opening. This model worked - when you pulled or pushed up or down on the punch balloon (simulating the diaphragm), the lungs would inflate and deflate. The kids also liked blowing into the tubing to make the lungs inflate - which made them really big!
The next system we explored was the urinary tract. I had made an easy working model for the kids, using water bottles cut, then glued to a board and two small tubes with a funnel. I stuffed coffee filters in the cut bottles to simulate the filtering ability of the kidneys. This helped the kids visually explore the job our kidneys do, and better understand how our bodies worked in this regard. I took red food dye colored water and poured it into the model on either side and we watched to see how the simulated "kidneys" would filter it. The red dye water did become lighter in color but for a more dramatic effect, we put some spices into the water and then poured it through a second time. This time the kids watched as the spices were clearly filtered out by our "kidneys" and didn't make it out the other end. We discussed how important our kidneys were to our bodies ability to function and what happens when they fail to work properly. We also discussed God's great wisdom in building redundancy into our bodies and how we replicate that redundancy in many fields, such as engineering (an airplane for example has two engines, was an example we used).
Then I had the kids make their own visual models of the urinary tract system. We used nursing gloves for the "bladder" (I cut them to shape), rubber bands for the "ureters", and sponges cut to the shape of "kidneys" for our kidneys. Lastly, we used red and blue straws to represent the "aorta" and "vena cava". The kids glued and labeled their system.
The next aspect of the excretory system to explore was the skin. We had previously explored skin in another Wonderful Wednesday, earlier in the year. We built upon what they had learned and honed in specifically on the excretory aspect of the skin. We talked about the body cooling itself and detoxifying via sweat. The first demonstration was to use two jars filled with water. One had ice added to it and the other did not. The jar with ice "sweat". We discussed why.
The last aspect of the excretory system to discuss was, well....a crappy conversation to have. (pun intended!) In keeping with our sometimes crazy way of learning creatively, I couldn't leave the excretory system without surprising the kids with some homemade "poop" cookies! I brought out a tray of "poop cookies" but we didn't tell them they were cookies - they thought it was really poop at first. They were suspicious but they did recognize that Mrs. Leonard takes things to extremes -so the possibility existed. LOL. They were told to pick it up to see what the weight was, feel it to see the texture and then smell it. The smelling gave the cookies away and the kids knew right away, that they were really peanut butter and chocolate (with oatmeal). I think for a moment they may have thought I was taking this learning experience a little far! Especially when I didn't give them any gloves to explore with (perhaps they assumed I received my CNA training from the CDC) haha!
To end our fun day, one of our spectacularly creative Moms, came up with a "campfire" cookout for the kids, made from rice krispie treats shaped into "frying pans", pretzels as the "logs" and red and yellow peppers as the "fire". It was very clever. These cowboys and cowgirls stayed for a homemade chili lunch after our day was finished. Yeehaw!
It was a Wonderful Wednesday filled with cow-folk and lots of fun hands on learning! So glad that it didn't end on a crappy note! haha
I hope you had a Wonderful Wednesday too!