Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Joy School - Muscles

Our theme for this month is our bodies, and each week we focus on a different aspect of them. I had the first week to teach, and my unit was muscles.

Lesson: We learned that there are two types of muscles: Voluntary muscles that we move whenever we want, and and involuntary muscles that move all the time without us even thinking about it.

I recycled a game that we played on our numbers Joy School day. We put dice into a cup and rolled them, then did the action on the chart using our voluntary muscles. This was a fun game and the kids all took a couple of turns before we moved on.

Then we learned how to keep our muscles healthy and strong by exercising. I passed out my lightest weights and we all took turns using our muscles lifting them up.

The next type of muscles we learned were the involuntary ones in our bellies, (the intestines). We talked about how they squish the food all the way through us so we can get the nutrients out.

The last kind of muscle we discussed was the heart, another involuntary muscle. Did you know your heart will beat about 1 billion times in your lifetime? Amazing! The kids thought it was very interesting that your heart starts beating before you are even born. I dug out my stethoscope and we all had a turn listening to our heartbeats.

Art Time:

I really didn't come up with anything fabulous for Art or Craft time for this lesson. I just printed out a picture I found of a circus Strong Man and the kids coloured it.

Science Time: If my Art time wasn't too hot, my science time was awesome. But I can't really even take credit for it. I phoned my good friend, who is a nurse and also happens to be a super creative lady, and she came up with ways for the kids to get in touch with the different types of muscles.

To demonstrate the heart muscle, I filled a balloon with water until it was about the size of my fist. Then I poked a small hole in it with a pin, and we passed it around with each child taking a turn to squeeze it, and watch the water rush out when the balloon was contracting. Then we talked about how this was like the heart. When the heart squeezes, it pushes the blood all around our bodies.

Next was the intestines. I put a ball down in the toe of a long sock and by squeezing behind the ball, moved it all the way through the tube until it popped out. Then we talked about how this is how the food gets squeezed through our bodies.

Our last one was using a rubber band to illustrate a skeletal muscle and how it contracts when we work them. All the visuals went over very well, and really helped the kids connect with what I was trying to describe.

Snack Time:

We ate foods that are rich in protein and calcium and learned how these types of foods keep our muscles strong and working well. We had bread with peanut butter, cheddar cheese, a slice of ham, and a frozen yogurt tube. The cool thing about the yogurt tube was that the kids had to squeeze behind the yogurt to get it out, just like we had learned about in our science time.

Video Clip: I love the program The Magic School Bus, and my kids do too. We discovered it two summers ago at our local library, and I'm sure we've borrowed them all at some point since then. So I knew there was a great one about muscles that I wanted to share.

Story Time:

I had a little trouble finding a story about muscles, but this was a great book about muscles and staying active told from a child's perspective.

Singing Time: W
e sang a few favourite songs about bodies that the kids were already familiar with: Hinges, Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes, and I Wiggle.

Wiggle Time:

I brought out my aerobics DVD and put it onto the easiest, slowest workout available and we marched in place, moved forwards and backwards, and jumped around to exercise our muscles.
We had a bit of extra time at the end and we pulled out the game from lesson time and had a few more rounds of that, and then it was time to sing our goodbye song and head off. Another great week of learning and fun.

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