Can we just talk about God’s sense of humor for a moment? As previously mentioned, I’m a fainter. It’s true. I’m fine. Those who have watched me faint might not be, but I’m fine. Medical related words are my triggers that send some kind of flight or fight or fall signal to my brain, and I’m done.
I had a terrible science teacher in high school. She was a pathological liar. Truly. She was. She was “color blind” but she heard rubies were beautiful gems. One time she was having an operation and a tornado came through the town where the hospital was, so she had to go out into the hall holding her insides. She cured her vertigo by rolling down a hill in a refrigerator box.
I’m not kidding when I tell you that those were legitimate stories she told her students. If you, too, were a student of Lluana Brown, please comment a story. Is it any wonder that I hate science? To her credit though, whenever we had to dissect anything, she’d let me go sit in the hall, and I’d write up the report while my lab partner did the dissection. Ergo, I know very little science. When I began working at my current school, the teacher I was teaching alongside said, “I teach history to both sections, and you can teach science. We study the human body in third grade.” Oy vey. God is funny, right? I had to learn a lot, and I’ve had to adapt a lot to introduce grade level appropriate information and activities to eight and nine year olds.
The first activity teaches about blood flow through the chambers of the heart. I got the idea here. It is a great representation of the movement, and I think truly helps them grasp the concepts. Warning: you do have to do some construction beforehand. I assembled the bottles and straws ahead of time and let the students add the water.
The first bottle represents the atria. The middle bottle is the ventricle and the third bottle is the rest of the body.
Students squeeze the “atria” and pinch the “valves” aka straws. Then repeat the process in the “ventricle” aka middle bottle. The water will begin to fill up the “body” aka final bottle. You can repeat the process back and forth to watch the movement.
The second activity is a blood parfait. I know. The girl who can’t sit through diabetes training is making blood parfaits. As the great Taylor Swift once said, “I promise that you’ll never find another like me.”
This activity was super simple but was a big hit. We talked about the components of blood the day before, and I had a worksheet for them to fill out as we completed this activity naming the components and their functions.
I dyed vanilla yogurt yellow with food coloring to make “plasma”. We added berry Cheerios for red blood cells, marshmallows for white blood cells, and shredded wheat for platelets. And then I rolled down a hill in a refrigerator box. Kidding. Maybe.
I’ve learned in my seven years of teaching that it doesn’t take much to excite kids. That’s why I love them. They still think I’m cool despite the large basket of yarn in my bedroom that says otherwise.