Bush First-Graders Learn More About The Human Body

Bush Elementary School first grader, Josue Sanchez, labeled the parts of the skeletal system as part of his Human Body English Language Arts unit.

“What do you call the bone system in our body?” asked Bush Elementary School first-grade teacher Bonnie Walsh, to her students.

“Skeletal system,” said a student.

“That’s correct, very good. I’m going to read you a poem about the skeletal system. Did you know that we have 206 bones in our body?”

Mrs. Walsh and her fellow Bush Elementary School first-grade teachers, April Shoup, Nichole Mason and Jennifer Stendahl, are working on a Human Body English Language Arts unit. Teachers are helping students develop vocabulary to increase their usable vocabulary in daily language learning and building knowledge about why the human body is important by using hands-on activities and literacy. The unit builds on kindergarten experiences revolving around the five senses. The Human Body unit is geared toward giving every child an opportunity to learn subject-specific vocabulary and use it in speech and writing.

“The main reason for the study of the human body is to level the playing field in the terminology. This section of the unit increases vocabulary and exposes all children to worthwhile, universal concepts,” Walsh said. “Students are introduced to a network of body systems, comprised of organs that work together to perform a variety of vitally important jobs. They learn the fundamental parts and functions of five body systems: skeletal, muscular, digestive, circulatory, and nervous. Additionally, students learn how germs can cause disease, as well as how to help stop the spread of germs.”

Students discover more about the human body through an interactive approach of read-alouds as a group and learning stations for more individual work. Some of the Human Body Station activities include: labeling a skeleton, sorting the five senses, reading a book about the human body, exploring bones and building a body, sorting body “parts” onto a labeling chart and examining x-rays, to name just a few.

“The children really enjoy learning,” Walsh said. “Children who have had experiences with families taking trips or exploring a variety of topics through books have an opportunity to expand their knowledge base but children who have not had those same opportunities now have the chance for exposure and exploration in selected topics, like the human body. It gives a common ground and helps “level the playing field.”