We're taking our exploration of the human body system by system and up next was the circulatory system. We were fortunate to take our learning outdoors and do a couple really wonderful activities to get the children engaged and interested to learn more.
In researching activities for us to do, I read a comment about science being an incredibly difficult subject for children to learn traditionally because it requires learning both a new vocabulary as well as the actual scientific concepts being introduced. I even watched a Ted Talk about this very same thing a few months ago. Sadly, I also witnessed it first-hand when we went through some of the finer details of the digestive system. I'm finding many library books too detailed for my little ones to discern the main points. I was thankful to find Hear Your Heart, as it introduces the main points in simple terms and straightforward language. We kicked off our circulatory system adventure with this book.
We went on to do several experiments and activities, these coming from How the Body Works. We felt around for our pulses and learned that the feeling is the blood being pushed through our arteries. We made a stethoscope out of plastic tubing and a funnel so that we could hear our heart sounds. Then we discovered that our heart beats faster after exercise...and the more intense the exercise, the harder and faster it beats. We learned this by comparing our resting heart rates to our heart rates after one minute of exercise (jumping jacks) and two minutes of exercise (running around the block). We also learned a bit about blood, including some of the substances in our blood, how a scab is formed, and foods that can help our blood stay healthy.
There are several pretty neat concoctions in Hands-on Grossology - one for fake wounds and the other for making fake blood. I'm reluctant because of the mess they will make, but I know the kids would get a kick out of it and would likely make them again as they continue their battle scenes. We'll see if my reluctance lifts as the week progresses.