Body Systems

Central Idea:

  • The effective interdependence between body systems and how they contribute to peoples' health

Learner Outcomes:

  • Active Living:

    • Identify way to live a healthier lifestyle​

    • Understand that there are substances that can cause harm to health

    • Understand the interdependence of factors that can affect health and well-being

    • Reflect and act upon their preferences for physical activities in leisure time

  • Identity:

    • Embrace a strong sense of self-efficacy that enhances their accomplishments, attitudes and personal well-being​

Lesson 1: Pre-Assessment

  • This unit is quite unique for us since it is a full collaborative unit with the homerooms. We have the same central idea and lines of inquiry with both parties understanding what needs to be covered.


  • I opened the unit with a Kahoot Quiz. These are always great fun and is an ideal tool for a formative assessment since it will help discover their prior knowledge. Each year the students have a Body Systems therefore the quiz was quite straightforward for them.


  • Afterwards, we went out for a team run to get the blood pumping. We then sat down and I introduced the unit along with the Central Idea. We did not go into too much detail with the Central Idea but I did ask them what they think this unit will focus on. The primary response was “how to be healthy”. I then told them that we would be focusing on three body systems: the circulatory, respiratory and digestive. We started off with the heart.


  • I asked the students to take their heart rate while seated. Some students needed some reminding on how to take their heart rate manually – two fingers on the carotid artery, count for 6 seconds and add a zero. We then went to their very intensive activity – Footy Drops.


  • I learned this activity from my time interning with a Rugby League team in Sydney. You can see the video here. The students have 30s to complete one course, they have 30s rest and then repeat 5 times. After each rest, they take their heart rate and record on their iPads.


  • Afterwards, we discussed our findings and started investigating why our body reacts in such a way to exercise.

Lesson 2:

  • The night before this lesson I uploaded a short fitness program onto Seesaw. You can see it here. I call this their 10-minute challenge, but they got it done in less time than this. I did not tell them how to read it or their exercises but rather they worked in pairs to help each other complete the challenge. Most had some trouble working out what ‘sets’ and ‘reps’ mean but some remembered from previous Body Systems units and/or they have a fitness program already.


  • Afterwards, we reviewed the Central Idea. First thing we did with the Central Idea was to determine the unfamiliar words:

    • Effective / Successful, Good

    • Interdependence / Relying, helping

    • Contribute / add, help


  • With these words made easier to understand the students had a bit more of a grasp of what we are trying to achieve.


  • We then went outside to begin our cardiovascular endurance testing – the 1000m and 200m run. I did not tell them why we were testing this, they will find out later on. But all I wanted them to do was to finish the test at the best of their abilities. Using SprintTimer, I timed the girls first and then the boys. While one group was being tested, the other was working on how they could organize their data into a table using Pages on their iPads.


  • Once all the testing was complete, I told the students that today’s testing was to set a baseline for the unit. I described what a baseline means and how we can use it to set a goal for the unit.

  • Their homework was to complete their data table and include into it their goal times when we run the test again in 6 weeks. They can hand it in on Seesaw.

Lesson 3:

  • Today’s lesson was dedicated to learning a bit more about the circulatory system. We broke down this system into 4 sections: the heart, capillaries, arteries and veins. To help them remember the three different blood vessels, we used the acronym, “CAV”.


  • We then went outside and I told the class to pretend the field was a human body and the center of the field is the heart, the bottom left and right are the legs, and the arms are the top left and right.

  • With their current knowledge of the heart I let the kids go and pretend they’re blood cells travelling around the circulatory system and their “human body / field” is doing a slow jog. I wanted to see if they knew the movement patterns of blood cells in the body.


  • It was a mess, if the field was a real person, there would have been major cardiovascular complications. I helped the kids work out that once the blood relieves oxygen to where it is needed, it needs to go back to the heart to get pushed back around the body. With that bit of information, the students went back out to try and find a more orderly method of blood movement patterns.


  • We then went back inside to the projector to learn more about the heart. I pulled out a great app called, “Anatomy 4D”. This app produces a 4D image of a heart when a device scans a piece of paper specific for the app. I like to milk the excitement for all it is worth – we are teachers, we are on show – so I ask the class, “Who wants to see their heart?” The majority of kids raise the hands. When you have a whole bunch of students raising their hands, it is a great opportunity to ask a question related to the class. Whoever raises their hand or jumps up first gets to the answer the question. If they are correct, they get to be ‘patient’ (I use this technique a great deal when choosing ‘catchers’ for our activities). E.G.:

    • What is our Central Idea?

    • What is our current unit?

    • Where is the heart located?

    • What does the heart push? Etc.


  • So we have our patient, I then get them to lie down in front of me with the piece of paper downloaded and printed from the app. With my iPad/iPhone connected to a projector I announce that I am Dr. David and I am about to look inside this student’s heart. The class is generally very wrapped and cannot believe they are seeing what they are seeing. 

  • After the intial disbelief of what they were seeing, I asked the kids some questions:

    • “What is the heart doing?”

    • “Why is it making that sound?”

    • “Can we describe what the heart is?” (Concept: Form) 

  • I wanted the kids to make their own conclusions on this. Eventually one student mentioned blood. Then I asked further questions, “

    • “What is blood?”

    • “Where is it going?”

    • “Can we describe what blood is?” (Concept: Form)


  • We then went to the field and played a game of modified Pac-Man since this class already knows the original game. The original game is as follows:

    • 2 catchers (in this game, the catchers are ‘bad food’ and ‘pollution’

    • Everybody can only run on the lines on the field

    • If a person is caught by the catcher, that person sits on the line

    • That caught person is now blocking the line and no one can pass, except for the 2 catchers

    • Modified: I designated the center circle of the field as the heart. If someone gets caught in the heart, the game is immediately over. You can deduce this yourself to what this means medically wise.


Lesson 4:

  • We reviewed the heart lesson with a quick Kahoot quiz – always great fun and helps me determine who needs some extra attention. They then had 10 minutes to complete their fitness program that was uploaded onto Seesaw.


  • Once they completed that, we started looking at the respiratory system in a bit more detail. We opened up a new app that they had been using in the homeroom – TinyBop Human Body. We explored the respiratory system together and looked at it from the outside, then looked at the internal structure of it and finally into the alveoli. It is a brilliant app.


  • We went to the field and discussed the path of the oxygen molecules from the air and around the body. Using the field as a human body again I designated the goalie boxes of the field into lungs. I told the class we were all air molecules.

    • “Where do we start?”

    • “Where do we go first?”

    • “Once the body uses the air molecules, where do we go?”


  • Their next task was to break into groups and discuss the following question:

    • “How are the circulatory and respiratory system connected?” (Concept: Connection)


  • This is quite a difficult question to ask but they had access to their iPads, so they could use TinyBop or research online for answers.


  • Upon discovering that the lungs pass oxygen to the blood for the circulatory system to transport to the muscles we went practical with this process. I created signs around the field designating certain parts of the body. They needed to determine the process the body undertakes to make living possible in respect to the circulatory and respiratory system.

  • I gave each group 3 different colored bibs:

    • Yellow = air

    • Red = oxygenated blood

    • Blue = deoxygenated blood

  • They started at the top middle of the field as air, and got breathed in through the nose/mouth. 

  • They ran down mid-field, past the heart and into either one of the lungs on either side of the field. 

  • They then should change from a yellow bib into a red bib to indicate they are now oxygenated and in the circulatory system

  • They go to one of the body parts and perform an exercise

  • When they complete the exercise, they should change into a blue bib to indicate they are deoxygenated

  • They then transport themselves back to the lungs via the blood vessels (lines on the field) back to the lungs

  • Once in the lungs, they change back to a yellow bib and are breathed out at where they started.


You can see this activity and the previous lesson on this video.


  • This took a few goes but the students learned liked the chance to apply their learning in a practical setting. It was even better that they got to work in groups and could refer to the iPads to help them with the task.

To continue with this lesson plan, please click here.

 

©2020 by David Cooney