We began, of course, by reviewing the previous lesson, The Circulatory System. Students completed their summaries and illustrations for their main lesson books.
Day One Story & Exploration
I took my story for The Nervous System from Linda Allison's book, Blood and Guts: A Working Guide to Your Own Insides.
The chapter is called "Brain and Nervous System: Mission Control." I required that the older students take notes during the lesson.
We started out by reading pages 111-114 (Getting Ahead, Nerve Highway, Funny Bone, Bone Dome, Up the Control Tower, Brain Watching [or, Thinking About Thinking]).
We read page 116 (Reflexes) and did the Knee Jerker activity on page 116 as well as the Limb Levitation and Dollar Drop activities on page 117. It helps to have a dollar bill per child.
At the end of the day, we also started a new read-aloud story which happens to be a great tie-in to the Nervous System! I chose The Book of Think (Or How to Solve a Problem Twice Your Size) by Marilyn Burns.
Day Two Review
We reviewed the parts of the nervous system we learned about yesterday and we looked at the Wall Chart of Human Anatomy pages for the Brain and the Nervous System. We talked about the vertebrae as a protective fortress around the spinal column, and how people tend to call it the "backbone" but it is made up of many different bones that fit together. I told them that I would get a turkey neck from the grocery store and we could boil all of the meat off of it and see the vertebrae and how they stack up so beautifully. Often the spinal cord can still be seen and can be taken out of the turkey vertebrae and touched. We talked about spinal cord injuries which can cause paralysis, and I explained about an epidural and how it works during childbirth.
Day Two Story & Exploration
We read Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille. This is a wonderful book! It also tied in really well with our Virtue of the Week, which is Determination. We talked about how my students have seen Braille signage on elevator keys, and how the Braille signs which say "elevator" or "stairs" are placed at a consistent height on the wall by law so that they can be found by the people who need them.
I also requested books in Braille from the public library for the children to explore and enjoy, including Braille versions of The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, The Kissing Hand, Moo, Baa, La La La!, The Napping House, Goodnight, Moon, and The Dot, as well as DK Braille's Animals and Shapes.
We finished up with a few more activities for the Nervous System.
We looked at pieces of cut oxtail from the grocery store and found the tough nearly-invisible cord, the nerve, in the center of the softer bone marrow and wiggled it with the tip of a paring knife. (A nice recipe to make after the Science lesson is Slow Cooker Oxtail Soup.)
We read page 118 (Smarts) from Blood and Guts: A Working Guide to Your Own Insides and did activity 5.3 (Your Reaction Speed) from Easy Genius Science Projects with the Human Body: Great Experiments and Ideas. This is a simple activity which only takes a desk, a partner, a 12 inch ruler, and pencil and paper.
We did the Force of Habit activity from Blood and Guts on page 119. This works best if you have prepared the sheets of paper numbered from 1 - 50 in advance. Next we did the "Seeing is Believing" activity on page 82 of THE HUMAN BODY: 25 FANTASTIC PROJECTS Illuminate How the Body Works. This is easy to do with a frozen TV dinner (chicken, mashed potatoes, corn) and some green, blue, and purple food coloring.
Finally, we read pages 120 and 121 (Remember?, Forgetting, Dominance, Taking Sides) and page 122 (Mind-Body, Amazing Facts) of Blood and Guts. A few children also tried their hand at matching the nomenclature three-part cards from ETC Montessori.
Main Lesson Book
Students began to draft their summaries and illustrations for The Nervous Sytem.
I liked the DK Braille book Animals so much that I decided to buy it for my two year old son, Zac. It has great facts and illustrations! I also bought him On the Move and It Can't Be True.
This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!