This 6 week unit will use graphing and diagrams to teach the human body and visually demonstrate how our mental and emotional health is tightly connected with our physical well being. Before beginning the unit, the teacher should give students a pre-assessment, to gauge what the students know and what the students need to know. Students will also be expected to create their own “I am Special” book that will outline all that they learn about their magnificent brain and their body systems. It will be divided into subsections (the brain, human body systems, nutrition and exercise, mental and emotional health) where they can write and illustrate through diagrams and graphs what they learn after each lesson. This book will also contain a glossary at the end where they can add any important words and their “child friendly” definitions.
Following this assessment phase, the first two weeks will lay the foundation for the unit. The teacher will begin by using graphical displays of the human body systems and explain their functions in brief. The first two weeks will primarily focus on the brain and how it governs all the body systems and sends messages that keep us mentally and emotionally healthy too! In doing so, a diagram of the brain can be used to explain its parts and their importance. Simultaneously in math, the teacher will teach graphing and its importance. The students will be expected to be able to interpret and create a pictograph, a bar graph and a circle graph. Line graphs can also be introduced.
Weeks three and four will be devoted to an in depth look at the nervous, digestive, respiratory, circulatory and the musculoskeletal systems. The necessity for proper nutrition and regular sleep, water and exercise will also be emphasized and integrated throughout. The teacher can also use diagrams of the digestive or respiratory process, for example, to show the students how the process occurs. Students will be expected to keep nutrition and exercise journals. Students will also be assessed by how well they can label diagrams of the brain and the body systems and by how well the can explain their thinking to the class. As a part of the unit, the teacher can then also show what happens when there is a malfunction between the brain and the systems it controls. So, students will understand that the brain governs the systems and that sometimes their thoughts can affect them physically.
Week five will focus on mental and emotional health. Students will again keep journals on their states of mind and feelings. Students will also continue with their nutrition and exercise journals. By week six the students will compare their data and be able to share visually and orally with the class what patterns they see in their mental and emotional health when compared with how well they take care of their body physically, i.e. on days when they had enough sleep (8hrs) they performed better at school and were in a better mood. By the end of the unit students will be expected to explain and discuss the body systems and their connection with the brain. As a result, students will understand the importance of proper nutrition and its application to their daily lives. At the culmination of the six weeks, students will be given a post assessment where they have to explain in writing and in graphs how they might cope with some hypothetical situations. For example, students will be asked to plan a trip to Florida, and explain what they need to bring and do in order to ensure they have a great time, or answer the following question “You have a big test in two weeks, what can you do to help yourself do well on the exam?” The purpose of these questions is to have students apply their knowledge gained from this unit to daily life and to test whether they have learned enough about themselves to make informed decisions. Students will be graded according to a rubric that has already been reviewed with the class to allow them to take responsibility for their learning. In their assessment they are expected to apply what they know about the brain, the human body systems and its connection with mental and emotional health together with proper nutrition, students will represent their answers both pictorially and in writing.