Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Body bits

One of the projects the children are doing is all about anatomy. Ben's doing human anatomy, Katie is doing horse anatomy.

For Ben, we started with the skeleton where we looked at all the different bones, where they belong, what they do, how many there are and all their names. He was fabulous at remembering the names - I sent him away with a labelled skeleton and a few days later he was able to re-label a new one, getting most of the names correct and the bones in the correct place.

Katie started with the most well known innards of the horse (although the literature we were following didn't include the heart as one of these!). She studied the diagram and learnt all the names and then I drew all the different organs for her to label and stick on to one of her model horses. She then had to re-draw each organ and find out what that organ did inside the body.
Ben then looked at human muscles and the heart - how it works etc. We both tried to find our pulses which were non-existent until we did some running on the spot for a few minutes! This week, Ben discovered how our lungs and diaphragm work. He tried an experiment which we found in an encyclopedia - using a tube to blow water out of a bottle. It wasn't that brilliant but it was a start. However, once we'd picked up some balloons, we were able to follow this experiment (with this one giving a little more detail) to make our very own pair of working lungs. This one was a hit and was worth the wait.
As you breathe in the rib cage expands and the diaphragm (the red balloon) flattens, lungs (yellow balloons) fill with air.

The diaphragm rises when you breathe out, pushing air out of your lungs.
Ben blew through the tubes to show this better for the photo, but the experiment worked by pulling down the red balloon diaphragm to sees the yellow balloon lungs fill with air (sucked in through the top tubes), and releasing the balloon diaphragm to see the yellow balloon lungs flatten as the air was pushed out.

Katie looked at horses' sight which was really interesting. Some colours are viewed differently by horses, like red, which is seen as more greeny to them. They have a field of vision which spans around their bodies, but have blind spots directly in front of them, which must make it a bit tricky when tackling jumps! There's lots of other interesting facts here and here.

Ben has also been using some CD-Roms to help with his body bits. His favourite is "Become a Human Body Explorer" which is part of a bundle of CD-Roms by Dorling Kindersley which my mum got for us through the Daily Mail a year or so ago.

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