Activities at the Understand Level
Learners explain, summarize, discuss, give examples, review, compare, paraphrase, predict, outline, infer, and make sense out of information
Our bodies need food to give us fuel to grow, learn, work, and play. Our digestive system helps turn the food we eat into energy that we need to live and grow and function. The food that we eat is full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that our body needs. The digestive system breaks down the food so that it can pass into our bloodstream and then be used by our body.
When we eat a carrot, there are many different parts of our body that work to break that carrot down into fuel for our body to use. Explain the part that saliva plays in the digestive process.
Explain how our teeth help us begin to digest our food.
What role does our tongue play in digestion?
The back of our throat is near the top of two different tubes. One tube is about 10 inches long and is called the esophagus. The esophagus connects our mouth to our stomach. The other tube is called the trachea, and this tube leads to our lungs. The epiglottis is a little flap of skin at the top of our trachea. Explain how our epiglottis protects us.
If someone is choking on food, it means that the food is stuck and the person cannot breathe. Where is the food stuck? What can be done for a choking person? Give examples of a few things we can do to help prevent choking.
What does our esophagus to do help our food glide down into our stomachs?
We have a small ring of muscles at the very bottom of our esophagus. It is closed most of the time. However, when food comes down the esophagus, the ring opens up and allows the food to enter the stomach. Why does the ring of muscle stay closed when food is not present in the esophagus?
What are some of the functions of the acid that is produced by our stomachs?
The hydrochloric acid in our stomachs is so strong that it could burn a hole in a piece of metal. Wow! Explain why the acid doesn’t burn a hole in our stomachs. What does our stomach do to protect itself from the acid?
Describe what happens to food in the small intestine.
From which part of our digestive system does most of our food enter our bloodstream?
Once nutrients leave our small intestine and enter our bloodstream, they go to our livers. What do our livers do with the nutrients?
Explain how is farting part of the digestive system.
Our small intestines are very long (about 20 feet long)! Once our food gets to the end of the small intestine, most of the good nutrients have been absorbed so that our bodies can use them. The residue that is left enters our large intestines. Our large intestine is much shorter---only about 5 feet long and is also called the colon. The large intestine absorbs water from the residue so that it becomes a little more solid. Explain what the large intestine does with the residue that is left.
Explain what constipation is how to keep from becoming constipated.
If you don’t eat breakfast, your stomach may “growl” later in the morning. Explain what causes this growling sound.
Fiber is good for our bodies. Foods like whole grains and fruits and vegetables contain lots of helpful fiber. How does fiber help our digestive system?
Why do we burp?
Sometimes the food that we eat stays in our stomachs for awhile, and then it comes right back up in the form of vomiting. Why do people throw up?
How does drinking plenty of water help our digestive system?
The end of the digestive process is the poop or feces or urine that ends up in the toilet. Why should we wash our hands after we go to the bathroom?
Our muscular system is made up of muscles that help our bodies move. Our muscles help us do just about everything. Our heart is a muscle, and it sends blood throughout our body. We have muscles to help us swallow our food, and our stomach has muscles that help break up our food. Our muscles help us walk, throw a ball, and turn the pages of a book.
Summarize the main purpose of our muscles.
Some muscles are called voluntary muscles. We have control over these muscles. We can move them just by thinking about it. What are some voluntary muscles?
Our bodies have 3 different kinds of muscles: skeletal muscles, smooth muscles, and cardiac muscles. Gather information about the types of muscle, give an example of where they are found, and include an example of what they do.
|Type of Muscle||
Give an example of where some are found
Give an example of what this type of muscle does
|Skeletal muscles are voluntary muscles, and so we can control what they do. Many skeletal muscles are attached to bones, and some are attached to other muscles or to skin.|
|Smooth muscles are involuntary muscles, and so we cannot control what they do.|
|Cardiac muscles are involuntary muscles, and so we cannot control what they do. They are found in only one place in our bodies.|
Explain the difference between ligaments and tendons.
Describe the process that makes muscles move.
Describe some examples of kinds of exercise that build strong and healthy muscles.
How can we build strong muscles?
Why are our muscles sometimes sore after we do a lot of exercise?
If we sprain or strain our ankle muscle, what does that mean? What are some ways the people strain or sprain their muscles?
Our skeletal system is made up of the bones that hold our body together. We often think of dead, spooky skeletons when we think about bones. But the skeletal bones in our bodies are very much alive. They form the framework of our body. In conjunction with our muscles, our bones give us movement and motion.
What is the purpose of the skeletal system? According to this site, what would we be like without our bones?
What are our bones mostly made of?
How many bones did you have as a baby? How many bones does an adult have? Why do adults have fewer bones than babies?
Describe the 4 layers of our bones and provide characteristics of each one.
|Layer||Characteristics of the layer|
We have 4 different kinds of bones in our bodies. Give an example of each kind of bone and indicate where it is located.
|Type of Bone||Example of the Bone and Its Location|
|Long bones||example: femur bone in the leg|
There are 2 main groups of bones in our skeletons. The axial skeleton supports our body and has 80 bones. Identify some of the bones that make up the axial skeleton. The appendicular skeleton kind of hangs off of the axial part and consists of 126 bones. Identify some of the bones that make up the appendicular skeleton.
What is the longest bone in the skeletal system and where is it located?
Where is our smallest bone located? This bone is about as big as a sesame seed.
Types of Joints
We have different kinds of joints in our bones. Most joints allow our bones to move and also absorb shock. Give an example of each kind of joint and indicate where it is located. If possible, also note what kind of movement the joint allows.
|Type of Joint||Example of the Joint and Its Location and What Kind of Movement It Allows|
|Ball and socket joint|
|Gliding or plane joint|
There are types of joints called suture joints that allow no movement of its bones. They are sometimes called fixed joints. Where in our bodies do we have most of our fixed joints?
Explain why the vertebrae that make up our backbones have a hole in the middle of each one.
Our backbone or spine surrounds and protects an important part of our body. What is this part called? Explain some of its functions.
Inside our bones is a spongy substance called marrow. Explain the function of marrow.
Describe what a funny bone is. Is it really a bone? Where is it located? Why does it feel so funny when we bump it?
In order to grow and stay healthy, our bones need a good supply of a mineral that is found in milk, green leafy vegetables, beans, and nuts. What is this important mineral? According to this site, what are the 3 most important things that our bones need to be healthy and strong?
Humans have an endoskeleton. Some animals and insects have an exoskeleton. What is the difference between an endoskeleton and an exoskeleton? Identify some animals and insects that have an exoskeleton.
Describe some things that we can do when we are biking, skateboarding, skiing, and playing sports to keep our bones safe.
How can we keep our bones healthy? Our bones need vitamins and minerals to be strong and healthy. What are some foods that are especially good for our bones?
Explain what doctors do for bones that are broken. How does a bone mend if we break our arm?
Our brain, spinal cord, and all the nerves that run throughout the body make up our nervous system. The brain is at the key element of our nervous system. It is like the control center of our bodies! It is involved with all of our 5 senses—seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, and touching. It is involved with our muscles. It controls how our various organs work. It is absolutely involved with thinking! It learns, remembers compares, understands, sorts, and solves. A long and complex system of nerves connects our brain to our muscles and skin and every other part of our body.
Explain the job of our nervous system.
Our hard, bony skull protects our brain. Between our skull and our brain are 3 more layers of tissue. What are these layers called and what are their function?
Our brain has 3 main parts. Describe the cerebrum and what it does. Describe the cerebellum and its functions. Describe the brain stem and its importance.
Our cerebrum is divided in half, and each half is called a hemisphere. The hemispheres are divided into lobes. What are some of the functions that take place in the frontal lobe? What are some of the functions that take place in the temporal lobe? What are some of the functions that take place in the occipital lobe? What are some of the functions that take place in the parietal lobe?
The cerebrum is the largest portion of our brain. It makes up 85% of our brain. Because of our cerebrum, we can think, learn, read, imagine, see, feel, hear, talk, remember, and move. What does the cerebrum look like?
Nerve cells are called neurons. Our body has billions of neurons. How do our neurons send messages throughout our body?
How is energy delivered to our brain?
The spinal cord is as important to our nervous system as our brain. Explain its purpose.
What is a concussion? What happens to someone’s brain when they have a concussion? What are some ways to prevent concussions?
What is the effect of alcohol on our brains at low, medium, and high doses?
How does exercise affect our brain?
What are some things that we can do to protect our brains?
Why do we sometimes get a “brain freeze” or a headache when we drink or eat something that is really cold too fast?
Our respiratory system is made up of our lungs, the air passages from our nose that are connected to our lungs, the muscles in our chest that help us breathe, and our diaphragm. This intricate system delivers oxygen to our blood when we breathe in and also removes carbon dioxide from our blood when we breathe out.
Summarize the main purpose of our respiratory system.
Our nose and our mouth are the two entrances from which air enters into our respiratory system. Why do we have mucus (snot) in our noses? How does it help our respiratory system? Our noses also have tiny hairs in them which are called cilia. What is the purpose of the cilia?
We have 2 lungs. Each lung is made up of smaller sections called lobes. The right lung has 3 lobes. The left lobe has 2 lobes. Why does the left lung have fewer lobes?
The epiglottis is a small flap that is at the top of our air passage called the pharynx. What is the role of the epiglottis in the respiratory system? What would happen to us if we didn’t have an epiglottis?
The trachea is a long tube that runs down the back of our throats. It branches off into two sections called bronchi that go into our lungs. What do we often call the trachea?
Identify the part of our body that protects our lungs from being bumped or damaged.
Our lungs are full of passages called bronchioles. The bronchioles end in tiny air sacs which are called alveoli. Explain the function of the alveoli.
The larynx is located below the epiglottis. It’s part of the respiratory system. But it also enables us to do something else very important. Explain what our larynx does.
How does our diaphragm help us breathe?
Describe the cycle of breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide.
How does smoking affect our lungs and our ability to breathe?
Hiccups are associated with our respiratory system. What causes hiccups?
What does yawning have to do with our respiratory system? Why do we yawn?
Our circulatory system is made up of our heart which pumps our blood, our blood, and the blood vessels that the blood flows through. Our circulatory system is constantly moving blood throughout our body to keep us alive.
Summarize the purpose of the circulatory system.
Our hearts have two sides, and the two sides are separated in the middle by a thick muscle called the septum. Each side of the heart has 2 chambers. Each chamber has a top portion called the atrium and a bottom portion called a ventricle. Explain the purpose of the atria. Explain the purpose of the ventricles.
Where do the chambers on the right side of our hearts pump blood? Where do the chambers on the left side pump blood?
We have 4 valves in our heart. How do the valves help our circulatory system?
Our blood vessels all have different jobs to do. Arteries carry blood away from the heart. What do veins do? What do capillaries do?
About how wide is the aorta of an adult? About how wide are capillaries?
Blood is made up of 4 main parts. What do red blood cells do? What do white blood cells do? What do platelets do? What does plasma do?
Describe the function of bone marrow.
Why is blood red?
Blood comes in different types. The types of human blood are based on the presence or absence of certain proteins that are attached to red blood cells. These proteins are called A and B. Type A blood has the A protein. Type B blood has the B protein. Type AB blood has both the A and B protein. Type O blood has neither protein. A transfusion is when blood from someone else is put into your veins. Transfusions are sometimes necessary for different medical reasons. If you have type A blood, you can only have a transfusion of someone else’s Type A blood. If you have Type B blood, you can only receive Type B blood. But there is one type of blood that can be transfused into anyone. Which blood type is the called the universal donor?
Our body is made up of cells. We all have about 100 trillion cells in our bodies. These cells all need nourishment to stay alive. We eat food, and our blood delivers nourishment from the food to all of our cells. Our cells need oxygen to say alive, and our blood also delivers oxygen to them. Our cells also need a way to get rid of waste materials, and so our blood picks up the waste and carries it away. Our blood is hardworking! What are some other things that our blood does for us?
When a doctor listens to our heart with a stethoscope, he or she hears our heart make a sound like lub-dub, lub-dub. Explain what makes the lub-dub sound in our hearts.
Aerobic exercise is exercise that requires our body to use a lot of oxygen. It makes our heart and lungs work hard and pumps our blood faster through our body. It makes us breathe hard and take in more oxygen. Explain the value of aerobic exercise to our hearts?
Describe what cholesterol has to do with our veins, arteries, and circulatory system. How can cholesterol hurt our veins and arteries? How can we avoid having the bad kind of cholesterol in our bloodstream?
Caffeine is a chemical found in coffee, tea, some sodas, and some energy drinks. What can too much caffeine do to our hearts?
How can being overweight affect our heart?
Summarize what a heart attack does to our heart.
When we fall down or cut ourselves or get an injury, the wound often bleeds. Describe what a scab is and how it helps a cut to heal.
How is a bruise connected to our circulatory system? What causes a bruise?
How does exercise benefit our heart?
How does smoking affect our heart and blood vessels?