The Human Body Cross Curriculum Project
As we already know, an interest in science needs to be nurtured during the primary years and science lessons should be more than just painfully slow experiments or lists of formula. Science lessons can be truly awe-inspiring and one topic that is guaranteed to wow and wonder is the human body – with its gory pictures of muscles, blood, veins and skeletons. Pupils cannot fail to enjoy this area of the curriculum. To help you get creative with the class, this section offers a series of cross-curricular project plans (all linked to the theme of the human body). This page offers some background information on the human body. This information is by no means exhaustive – just a few bullet points to help you get going.
- The brain is the human body’s computer. It contains billions of nerve cells called neurons that carry signals to and from different parts of the body through the central nervous system.
- The brain is actually larger than you think – it triples in size from birth through to adulthood and crinkles up so as to fit inside the human skull. If it were all stretched out it would cover quite a large surface area.
- The human brain has two halves called hemispheres. The dominant half of the brain (the left) usually governs speech, writing, numbers and problem solving.
- The heart is the body’s pumping system and it pushes blood around the body.
- The heart has four cavities (open spaces) inside that fill with blood. Two of these cavities are called atria. The other two are called ventricles.
- The left side of the heart houses one atrium and one ventricle. The right side of the heart houses the others. A wall, called the septum, separates the right and left sides of the heart. A valve connects each atrium to the ventricle below it.
- The top of the heart connects to a few large bloods vessels. The largest of these is the aorta, or main artery, which carries blood away from the heart. Another important vessel is the pulmonary artery, which connects the heart with the lungs as part of the pulmonary circulation system.
- The largest veins that carry blood into the heart are the superior vena cava and the inferior vena cava. The superior is located near the top of the heart. The inferior is located beneath the superior.
- The heart is surprisingly small. The average adult heart is about the size of a clenched fist and weighs about 310 grams (11 ounces).
- If the heart is the pump, the lungs are the body’s bellows.The lungs are like two bags in our chest that fill with air and give our bodies the oxygen that we need to live.
- On average we take 23,000 breaths a day.
- The lungs transfer the oxygen into the blood stream. Blood is moving all around our body. So when the oxygen gets into the blood it can reach all our organs and cells.
- The blood also carries waste gas (carbon dioxide) back to the lungs – which is then breathed out.
- The human body is full of muscles and without them we would not be able to move. There are about 650 muscles in the body.
- Muscles are made of fibres, which consist of thickly packed long thin cells. The fibres are arranged in bundles that are wrapped in tissue.
- Muscles always work in pairs. They are attached to your bones by tendons. The muscle pulls the tendon and the tendon pulls the bone.
- Muscle movements are either voluntary or involuntary.
- All humans have two sets of teeth. The first set comes when we are babies and are called milk teeth. Human teeth start to fall out from the age of six or seven and are replaced by 32 permanent teeth.
- Humans have four types of permanent teeth. They are incisors, canines, premolars and molars.
- All teeth have two parts. The crown is the part we can see. The root is the part that holds the tooth securely.
- If you cut a tooth in half you would see three layers. The outside layer is called the enamel and is the strongest part of the body. It is made from calcium and salt. The dentine is the next layer and is the largest part of the tooth. The middle layer is the pulp and contains vessels and nerves. It is in this layer that we feel pain and temperature.
- There are 206 bones in the human body and most are found in the hands and feet.
- Our bones protect the soft internal organs of the body.
- Every bone is connected to another one. Each connection point is called a joint.
- The largest bone in the body is called the femur, which is in the leg. The smallest are in out ears.
The liver is the largest gland, and solid organ in the body, weighing some 1.8 kgs in a man and 1.3 kgs in women. It holds approximately 13 per cent of the total blood supply at any given moment and it has over 500 estimated functions.
About 60 per cent of the liver is made up of live cells (hepatocytes) and each of these have an average lifespan of 150 days. In every milligram of liver tissue there are approximately 202,000 cells. A brief summary of the liver’s function follows, but remember there are more than 500 functions processing digested food from the intestine.
- Combating infections in the body
- Clearing the blood particles and infections including bacteria
- Neutralising and destroying drugs and toxins
- Storing iron, vitamins and other essential chemicals and
- Breaking down food and turning it into energy
Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist. They are located in the middle of your back, just below your rib cage, on either side of your spine. Your kidneys weigh about 0.5 per cent of your total body weight. Although the kidneys are small organs by weight, they receive a huge amount – 20 per cent – of the blood pumped by the heart. The large blood supply to our kidneys enables them to do the following tasks:
- Keep the volume of water in your body constant
- Remove wastes from your body
- Help regulate your blood pressure
- Stimulate the making of red blood cells
- Your brain tissue is 85 per cent water.
- The human body is comprised of around 75 per cent water at birth.
- The weight of an average human brain is less than one bag of sugar.
- The human brain is smaller than an elephants but bigger than a monkeys.
- Your skin weighs twice as much as your brain.
Existing subscribers to Project-Based Learning Resources, download all Project Plans and activities from the links below.
- Literacy Project 1: Dictionary skills (Key Stage 2)
- Literacy Project 2: A body of poetry (Key Stages 1 and 2)
- Literacy Project 3: Picture books (Key Stage 2)
- Literact Project 4: Visual literacy (Key Stage 2)
- Numeracy Project 1: Perfect pairs (Foundation and Key Stage 1)
- Numeracy Project 2: Watch the brain learn (Key Stage 2)
- Numeracy Project 3: Measures and ratio (Key Stages 1 and 2)
- Numeracy Project 4: Recording respiration (Key Stage 2+)
- Science Project 1: Scintillating senses (Key Stages 1 and 2)
- Science Project 2: Terrific teeth (Key Stages 1 and 2)
- Science Project 3: Parts of the body (Key Stages 1 and 2)
- Science Project 4: Healthy Eating (Key Stage 2)
- History Project 1: The terrible tudors (Key Stage 2)
- History Project 2: Marvellous mummies (Key Stage 2)
- Music Project 1: Body sounds (Key Stages 1 and 2)
- Music Project 2: Pulse and Rhythm (Key Stages 1 and 2)
- Art and Design Project 1: Fingerprints (Key Stage 2+)
- Art and Design Project 2: Bone transformations (Key Stage 2+)
Click here to subscribe to the Creative Teaching and Learning service and gain access to these resource packs.
Purchase the above project plans by subject for £10.00 each (incl. VAT - simply follow the links above), or alternatively, purchase the entire pack for a one-off fee of £48.00 - saving you a total of £12.00.
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