SciGen Teacher Dashboard
Unit L6
Interactive: Organ Systems at Work
Duration: Approximately 55 minutes
Use this interactive, online activity to explore how tissues and organs function together in related groups called systems. Different organs perform specific roles within a system. All those roles add up to a more general service the system performs for the organism.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Students examine how different systems of the human body interact. They understand the complexity of the human body and how all its systems must function together to perform properly. In multicellular organisms, the body is a system of multiple interacting subsystems; these subsystems are groups of cells that work together to form tissues and organs that are specialized for particular body functions. (NGSS MS-LS1.A) Developing and Using Models: Modeling tools are used to develop questions, predictions and explanations; analyze and identify flaws in systems; and communicate ideas. Models are used to build and revise scientific explanations and proposed engineered systems. Measurements and observations are used to revise models and designs. (NGSS SEP)
Teacher Tips
Materials (one per student or group)
Teacher Tune-ups
Teaching Notes
ACTIVITY OVERVIEW
Introduce mapping complex systems (10 minutes)
Map of New York City
Accessing different map views
Explore the interactive body (20 minutes)
In this part of the activity, students will begin to consider how complex the human body is and how its complexity is often taken for granted. Things just seem to function day after day, year after year, until something disrupts one or more of the systems – just as in a city the subway moves or traffic flows, until it doesn't.
Connect the mapping introduction to the human body interactive. Ask students to discuss:
Have the students open the Interactive Human Body activity. Paraphrase:
Scientists classify the systems of the human body in various ways. Eleven organ systems of the human body are pictured on your screens. You can blend different systems together. Add each system by moving its slider to the right. Read about what makes each system unique, and take notes.
If your students need more guidance in how to get started, have them select either a female or male integumentary system. Next add the muscular system. What happens when you add another system? What happens when you remove a system? Have students play with the available options before reading about function and parts.
The interactive activity was designed for students working as individuals, pairs, or triads to explore on an electronic device. However, you may not be able to use electronic devices in your classroom, so a printable version is included below. Of course, it does not have the same variable opacity of the interactive activity.
You might consider printing the layers on clear printer paper, sold as "computer-printable transparent plastic sheets" or "transparency film." If using this method, consider backing the explanatory text with opaque paper to aid legibility.
Alternatively, if you have an overhead projector or light table at your school, you can use that for students to lay the different systems on top of one another and see how systems co-locate. Finally, a last option is to let students lay the sheets on a large window on a non-gloomy day. Using standard paper, up to 5 sheets of paper might be somewhat translucent when backlit, but you'll get the best results when you overlay just 2 or 3 sheets at a time.
Some teachers opt to have the physical layers available to all groups regardless of whether the students also use electronic devices. If you make these tangible layers part of the activity, extend the time by five minutes. And have an overhead projector or light table on hand.
Make maps of two interacting organ systems (10 minutes)
In this part of the activity, students figure out what two systems function together in a given riddle. With the ability to explore with the interactive, they will find the answer and then they can illustrate it using the sliders in the interactive.
Show the slide with the six brain teasers of two systems working together.
Create groups of two to three students each. Assign numbers 1–6 to your student groups. It's perfectly fine to have two different groups tackle the same puzzle, so you can have more than six groups.
If you would like to use slips of paper rather than assigning numbers from the slide, divide by 6 the number of students or student groups who will be making the maps of interacting organ systems and round up. Print out that many copies of this sheet, then cut each sheet into 6 slips. Then distribute one slip to each group. For example, if you have 28 students who will work in pairs and groups of 3, you can print two copies of interacting systems sheet for 12 groups. The slips can be drawn at random by the students or assigned.
Each group will tackle one of these six descriptions of how two unnamed organ systems interact.
Paraphrase:
First, figure out which two of five organ systems (see green box) are described.
Then, use the sliders on the interactive human body to create a diagram that shows both of the systems. Take a screenshot of your diagram to print out and label before adding to our board.
Hint: you may not want the sliders all the way to one side or another.
If your students are not familiar with taking a screenshot, demonstrate how to do so with your particular devices before having them solve the riddles. If it is not possible to take a screenshot or to print out the screenshot, you may have to skip the human-map-making!
As in the last section, the interactive diagram was designed to be used on an electronic device. However, you may not be able to use electronic devices in your classroom, so your students can skip the instruction to make diagrams.
cardiovascularnervousrespiratorydigestivemuscular
Share maps of two interacting organ systems (10 minutes)
As the students finish the activity, ask them to share their two-system diagrams mapping the two systems. Consider having them print out and then post their diagrams and blurb directly onto the projected chart. Or you can make the chart a shared Google doc that they can add their images and text to.
When students solve the riddle and then share with the class, ask them to explain why they chose the two systems they did. What was their thought process?
As the table is completed, whether or not the students have made diagrams, use the sliders to show what each pair of organ systems look like together.
Solution:
Or, to fill in the chart:
Cardiovascular | Nervous | |
---|---|---|
Respiratory | 3 | 2 |
Digestive | 4 | 6 |
Muscular | 1 | 5 |
Wrap-up: Our bodies react (10 minutes)
In this part of the activity, students expand what they just learned about how different systems in our body must work together so that we can function the way we do as a whole system. This activity can be done as a writing exercise or a class discussion.
Pose situations to your students as a class, or distribute different scenarios to different students to give them a chance to consider their answers in greater depth.
Encourage the students to use the interactive slider to review the body systems and consider what role each one might play in the interaction. Some of these scenarios may involve two or three body systems, and a case can be made that others may involve nearly all of the systems of the body! Whatever answers they come up with, have students explain their thinking and use the opportunity for a rich discussion about how students see similar scenarios differently.
If the students work in pairs or small groups rather than as a class, save some time to review the students' responses as a class.
If time remains, ask the students to generate other situations and consider how their bodies would react. They can challenge other groups to find out the answer to their riddles! Some students will rise to the occasion to engage in this game.
If you'd like for student groups to come up with scenarios and challenge the other groups to decipher which systems are involved, more time may be needed for this activity.
Ask the students to reflect on how the different systems interact in different ways in the riddles and these reaction scenarios. Ask:
How do all these functions add up to a more general service performed for the human body organism?
What happens in our bodies when.....
Imagine you are in the following situations. Turn and talk with a neighbor about how your body's systems work together in each example.
I need to get to my shoes, left behind on the other side of a sizzling, black parking lot on a hot, summer day.
I am on the diving board above the deep end of a swimming pool. I know the water is cold. I jump in.
I bite into
a wedge
of lemon.
I am slicing a potato for dinner when my hand slips,
and the knife goes into my skin.
BETA Version - Please send comments and corrections to designcenter@serpinstitute.org