Friday, April 17, 2015

March Blog (A little late)

As we began out new unit of study in science I tried to approach my intended learnings for the students through the concept of inquiry.  The third and final unit for 5th grade is the Human Body.  On the introduction day of the unit I told the students that we would be starting a unit on our bodies and all of the systems that work together to keep us alive.  I was confronted with lots and lots of groans.  Apparently when you mention the human body to 5th graders they automatically think there is only one system and it's called the reproductive system.  After moving past the initial grumblings, the students were able to open their minds and prepare themselves to learn about the other systems.

I used to think the in order for the students to learn the science curriculum I would have to follow the tracks units.  However, after allowing the students to explore the musculoskeletal system and circulatory system through other avenues I have found the students much more engaged and accountable for their own learning.
I now think that students can really get passionate about their own learning if you get them the tools to use at their discretion but not as many guidelines.  Each day more and more kids will come in a tell me various facts about things they have researched at home.  I feel like for some of the kids they have been sparked to continue to explore how amazing our bodies are and how important it is for us to keep each system healthy.

At this point, we are wrapping up the heart and circulatory system.  Because the students have been so interested in the heart and keeping it healthy. I plan to give them some common heart problems to research so they perhaps take an active part now, while they are young, in working towards a healthy heart!


  1. Hi Tracy,
    Your post reminded me of some learning several years ago...
    I remember when my daughter learned about the human body systems in 5th grade. She would read the text and answer questions. It felt like she was learning and it was very comfortable and organized. There were physical activities and experiments to deepen understanding. Recently, she learned about human systems/cells in the 7th grade at a whole new level. She had homework each night, there were interesting videos to watch, and she had to build a cell with her new knowledge. Again, it was very organized, detail oriented and knowledge building.
    As I read your post today, I began to wonder about the possibilities of inquiry with this learning. What if she had a question to answer that pulled all of the information together? "How does cancer affect human systems?" or "How does healthy eating create healthy body systems?"
    Thank you for all the work you do, and the wonderful learning that occurs in your classroom. Thank you for getting me thinking about all the possibilities of learning once the background knowledge/ immersion phase is done in my own classroom.

  2. I don't miss my days in Aurora where we were mandated to teach sex ed. It's a shame that teacher's hands are tied by pacing guides, science interims, and the 8th grade science CMAS tests. It's a shame, too, that so much importance is placed on this data that it takes time away from inquiry. I would love for students to take week to inquire deeply about their own interest, but it is a week that takes away from something else. If this testing madness would end, we would all be better off.