I teach second grade at Vincent E. Mauro Magnet School in New Haven, Connecticut. Vincent Mauro is an interdistrict elementary school with a Science, Mathematics and Technology focus. My second grade classroom is in an urban district and is composed of a diverse, multicultural community of learners that encompass a wide spectrum of achievements, interests, learning and social needs. Students come not only from New Haven but from surrounding suburban communities as well. Since this classroom is a part of a science, mathematics and technology magnet school the students are provided with the means to explore their multiple intelligences and interests and utilize different learning styles to strive to reach their goals.
As mentors and role models for children it is extremely important that we not only teach academics but help students understand who they are and why certain things happen to them. This unit is designed to help students piece together the fundamental elements of the human body and unleash the mysterious aspect of the brain as our body’s navigator. Learning, thought, creativity and intelligence are not the sole process of the mind alone, but of the entire body. Human qualities that we often associate with our mind can not exist separate from our body. Our body plays an integral part in our body’s intellectual processes through our senses which feed our brain information.
This unit will examine the relationship between mind and body using graphical displays to chart elements of daily life such as food intake, sleep, exercise and mood. The mathematics will be integrated with biology. Students will take a close look at our brain and how it guides human body functions as well as the reverse. Students will examine the skeletal, digestive, nervous and respiratory systems. Through a series of inquiry based investigations students will comprehend that everything we do affects our mental, physical and emotional well being. Therefore students will also brainstorm and explore healthy habits including the need for proper nutrition, exercise and sleep. This can help students develop a nutritional awareness as well as help students to be proactive about their health. Students will then see how being proactive can help ward off sickness as well as how making subtle changes to diet and nutrition may help. Students will begin to realize how positive lifestyle changes can lead to strong bodies and emotionally stable minds. We will look at what makes us happy and the cognitive skills to cope with the ups and downs in life in an effort to promote our “inner” well being.