Building a Body - Preschool Anatomy

This has been an ongoing project for a Month or so, after reading an interesting post by An Everyday Story on Reggio inspired learning. I asked Dimples what he would like to learn about, his answer was his body. We talked and defined exactly what he wanted to know about his body, Dimples decided he wanted to know about bones and what was inside his body. Then we discussed exactly how we could learn about this. "Make a body" was his top suggestion & his tag body book.
I was so inspired by his suggestion and I went researching, I set up a self inquiry table where he could explore things about the Human body.

On the table we put his tag reader along with a height chart, some posters on Human Anatomy, he chose some books from his large collection of book that represented the human body. There were some early words human books, some activity books and the cat in the Hat body book. I found a copy of the Magic school Bus goes inside a Body DVD and a little Human replica with removable organs. We had a sponge stress ball of a brain and a liver, we had some body magazines and a rib cage, we had a large Body Puzzle.

Then it was time for Dimples to explore and guide his learning with these materials. He was very interested in digestion, and in particular how food turn into poop. We did this fun experiment on Digestion in a bag, to show how stomach acid and muscles work to digest food, then we made a Body with lungs, a stomach, intestines, a heart, liver and bones.

First we traced Dimples silhouette onto cardboard. Then as he used his Human Anatomy Tag reader to explore the path our food goes on, he compared his activity books and his human replica model and discovered the intestines. Using crepe streamers we cut one along the middle to make it the "small intestines" and then used a darker colour of full width to do the "large intestine" on the outside and glued them into place on our body. Being a typical boy, Dimples found it funny that the poo comes out the bottom and had to keep mention "and then it gets pooped out there!"

Using two cardboard shoe soles from a pair of slippers I had bought (you know your a Mummy blogger when you keep everything that could possibly be used for craft purposes) Dimples next explored the lungs. Again cross checking with what his tag reader said, reading through his books and looking at a reference text book I had he learnt what the lungs do.  We got a paper bag and did a little experiment breathing in and out, watching it inflate and deflate as he breathed then he painted a couple of nice red lungs for his Human. Using a hot glue gun we put them into place.

The inside of an Avocado tray proved to be a good shape for our stomach, Dimples used ribbon around the inside of the stomach to represent the stomach muscles and put in some crepe paper to represent the stomach contents then we closed it up in some bubble wrap, stapling the outside and trying to shape it as a stomach. The liver was a piece of maroon felt. both were glued into place on the body and it was starting to look very interesting.

Next was the heart - I racked my brain, how on earth could I make a heart. I was pretty pleased with what I came up with. A pink Balloon filled with flour. I then cut a blue balloon so that there was only really think veins left and then it was put around the flour filled pink balloon, then the next layer was a thicker red balloon with pieces missing. It turned out pretty cool looking.
Dimples was impressed. We did a experiment on the heart; listening to it through a stethoscope, running around & doing star jumps for a while then listening to it again. Our heart ended up being a little high once we stuck it on.

Then of course we had to give our body a brain. Dimples has a couple of brain stress balls and knows the basics of what the brain does, he used his tag reader and asked many questions then made a brain from a pink piece of felt cut out in a brain kind of shape. He used pink fabric paint to represent the parts inside the brain and the wriggly form of it, and glue to represent the grey matter. It took a day to dry but it really looked the part when it was complete.
I glued it on with a hot glue gun and he added some big craft eyes, an oesophagus and a trachea straws, then he had to draw a smiley face.

The body sat there for a week or so, Dimples wanted to do bones on it. Another tricky task.
In the mean time we explored fish bones washed up on the beach.
Eventually I got the idea to use flat bamboo from some fencing we had, we painted it white and glued them on as bones. We used white bottle caps to represent the knee caps.
We did some experiments; We put a chicken bone in vinegar for a week and made it go bendy and we did some bone drawing on black paper body shapes with chalk as well as reading and looking through reference books. We searched the Internet and looked at Xrays and Dimples got interested in what animal bones looked like, so we looked at different shapes animals and how their skeleton and spin is positioned differently.

All pretty interesting stuff.
The entire experience was a fun hands on learning one for Dimples and he enjoyed himself making sure he asked lots of questions that we searched to answer, he showed me just how curious he is about our world and how things work.

Learning Concepts:
Human Anatomy Basics
Linking facts, visual learning, craft and our physical self together
Hands on learning using a wide array of skills
Self guided inquiry

Ideas for Extension:
Science experiments; how our lungs work, listening to our heart after exercise, exploring bone structure.
Trace body parts
Digestion experiment
Cut out human figures and draw the different body systems on it
Cut out black body figures and draw Bones with white out or chalk

Happy Adventures

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  1. This is a very timely post for me! Cameron is anatomy obsessed and I was trying to think about new engaging ideas :)

  2. What a great way to teach about the human body. I bet my kindergartener would love this project!

  3. Wow this is so detailed. I'm impressed!

  4. What a fantastic project, very impressive. Thanks for linking up.

  5. What a great project, I'm completely inspired. I love that this was what he really wanted to learn about, he looks so fascinated by the whole activity. Sharing :-)

  6. All I can say is wow, this is amazing! Bubble would love this so much, she reads her 'Human Body' book obsessively. Some of those organs look like the real thing!

  7. So cool!
    All my kids have been through a stage of being so interested in how the body works and wanting to all know all the names of the muscles and much fun!

  8. Those organs look really cool Nae. The colour is fantastic! Such a great project.

  9. That is a really impressive home made model Nae! Grade 6's would be loving making that same model too (in fact, even high school kids). Thanks for showing us how you did it and all the great ideas for the different organs.

  10. I really enjoyed learning about the resourceful and creative ideas you used to replicate different parts of the human body (the heart is my favourite). This is such an impressive hands on learning experience. Elise @ Creative play Central.

  11. What great ideas! Thank you for sharing.



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