Body System Amusement Parks

Grade 7, 180-240min

In the Body System Amusement Parks project, students team up to create amusement parks based on the various systems and organs within the human body. With the power of abstraction, each attraction represents the cardiovascular system, the muscular system, the digestive system, etc. Teams create both 3D scale models and presentations to an unnamed wealthy investment firm looking to build a new park in the students’ very own town. This activity was heavily inspired by a post from Danielle Dace.

Body System Amusement Parks

Topics addressed:

  • Body systems – cardiovascular, muscular, digestive, skeletal, nervous, respiratory
  • Primary CT concept: abstraction. After spending some time learning about the nitty-gritty details of the heart, the lungs, the stomach, etc, this is a great opportunity for students to take a step back and think about these body systems at a higher level, representing their key concepts with simple craft materials.

Students will be able to:

  • Understand the key components and functions of body systems
  • Describe how various body systems relate to and work with one another
  • Explain their design and scientific reasoning in a professional presentation

Materials:

  • PowerPoint presentation: powerpoint pdf
  • Student handout: word pdf
  • Cardboard
  • Craft supplies, such as pipe cleaners, felt, ribbon, string, aluminum foil, cotton balls, popsicle sticks, construction paper, pom poms, tape, washable glue, hot glue guns…

Prep:

  • Ensure you have enough cardboard bases for each team – cutting up large boxes works great!
  • Come up with an organization system for your supplies, or make kits for each team
  • Create teams, and (recommended) select one student on each team to be the sole material retriever
  • Consider personalizing the PowerPoint presentation and student handout – create a fake investment firm with school staff, add your town name, etc.

Suggested lesson breakdown:

This project easily scales to however much time you have available. It works great towards the end of the unit, either just before or just after your unit exam. You’ll want to devote the bulk of at least two class periods to students creating their models, and another period for creating their presentations.

  • 10min – introduce project, go over requirements and grading rubric
  • 5-10min – full-class brainstorm and discussion on what you typically find in an amusement park
  • 5min – students independently brainstorm attractions based on body systems
  • 15min – students break into their teams and come up with a plan before you allow access to the materials
  • 60-120min – teams work on their 3D models
  • 45-60min – teams work on their presentations
  • 20-30min – teams present their work to the class

Next Generation science standards:

  • NGSS.MS-LS1-3
    Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.

Common Core standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.7
    Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).

Read about how this lesson went at Excel Public Charter School here.