Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Body Systems in Action

Carolyn Garner
Bay District Schools


This is the last lesson, days 13-16, of the Unit Plan, What Makes Me Who I Am? Students research the body systems. Cooperative groups create and present a short skit demonstrating how systems work together.


The student creates ample development of supporting ideas by presenting facts and information that clearly relate to the focus.

The student presents facts, examples, and definitions objectively.

The student understands how body systems interact (for example, how bones and muscles work together for movement).


-Student Handouts: (See Associated File)
Student Produced Skits
Body System Research Note Cards
Expectations During Skits

-VCR, Nintendo, or a big screen TV with computer hook-up
-Applicable Computer software
-Videos of body systems interacting
-Books on body systems interacting
-Models of different organs in the various body systems
-Student Notebooks
-Student handouts:
Student Produced Skits
Body System Research Note Cards
Expectations During Skits

Pictures of girl exercising, girl eating, and man lying on couch
Situation Skit (OPTIONAL)
Expectations During Skits (OPTIONAL)


1. Gather all the materials listed.
The following videos may be helpful.
*Video from the American Heart Association (1 800 AHA USA)
*Video from Magic School Bus
*Disney collection of educational videos. Shows Body Systems talking to each other.
*Videos from the county media center which illustrate body systems talking together.

This information may be helpful: My Amazing Human Body by DK Interactive Learning

As you are gathering the resources, also think about examples of systems working together that may not be in a video and how you might illustrate using student volunteers. For example: Two students talking together illustrates what body systems interacting? Someone mowing the lawn? Student doing a jumping jack? Student chewing gum? Student eating a piece of candy?

2. Read through the lesson and decide how to handle each activity.

3. Update the Table of Contents each day.

4. Note that the example skits DO NOT have all seven systems interacting. They are samples only and are incomplete. POINT OUT TO STUDENTS!!

5. Duplicate student handouts.

6. Create sample cards/keys that go along with the Research Note Cards. These could be used to make formative assessing easier as well an active way to see how the activity can be done in the classroom.

7. Optional: Obtain a camcorder, tripod, and tape. Tape student skits. This would be a good way to allow students to focus on the skits while they are being performed and allow time for them to fill in the Expectations sheet.

8. Optional: Obtain popsicle sticks and notecards. During the skits, students could take a note card which has been glued to a popsicle stick and label their particular body system. This would aid students when filling in the Expectations sheet.

9. Time indicated may vary due to uniqueness of each class.


Background: This is the final lesson in the unit plan, What Makes Me Who I Am? If you are interested in working through all of the lessons in the unit, begin with the first lesson plan: Decidedly Different. This lesson spans four class sessions of forty-five minutes each.

NOTE: It may be necessary to do a review of body systems and organs before beginning this section. Students should have learned this information in the fourth grade classrooms, but may require a review. Utilize your own materials. Gather as needed.

1. Review the guiding question: What makes me who I am? (Inherited and environmental characteristics, cells, tissues, organs, etc.)

2. Now, use the following demonstration to help students understand that the body systems are interdependent on each other. Have students respond to this demo in their science journals.

1. Show the students a disconnected VCR or a Nintendo.

2. Press the power button. Ask this question: Why doesn't it work?

3. Give the students a few minutes to explain in their journals what needs to happen before it will work.

4. Let the students share some of their responses. You want the students to recognize that the VCR or a Nintendo is dependent on many other components in order for it to work. It becomes part of a system.

5. Generate a class discussion about the body systems with questions, such as these:
-How does your heart know to beat?
-Does the heart carry the blood to the other organs?
-Does your brain need blood to work?
-How do you know when you touch something hot?

Tell the students they will research the body systems during the next session. Their main objective is to find out how the body systems work together.

At this time share the videos of body systems interacting. Take opportunities to pause and discuss the body system that is interacting.

Once finished, begin a discussion/journal activity of higher order thinking questions to get students thinking. For example: To what body system do the eyes and ears belong? (Sensory). What other body sytems interact with the eyes and ears?

Formatively assess student journals using the rubric, Assessing Student Journals.

(If time permits, you may want to have students begin the next day's research. Show them the books and computer programs you have gathered that will assist them in doing their research.)

(Also, you may wish considering doing the research section in SCIENCE and in LANGUAGE ARTS. Since these two are both very closely related to research, it would be beneficial, not only in time, but in student learning to utilize both time frames.)

NOTE: Prior to beginning this day's activities, it may be helpful to have already created teacher note cards that have sample answers. This will aid students in that the teacher has already done the assignment and can guide them appropriately.

1. Remind students about the research materials that are available for their use.

2. Pass out the seven note cards to each student.

3. Review the research note cards with the students; these note cards help guide the student's research. (See Associated File)

4. Explain to students that they will use the information from these note cards for an activity in this lesson and in their Summative Assessment #2. They need to keep them in their science journals.

5. Decide what information you want them to record in the source section of the note cards. This section could be used as a language arts lesson on note-taking skills. The information could be used to write a bibliography.

6. Allow students time to complete the note cards. You may choose to have students do their own work, work in groups, jigsaw, etc. (Formatively assess while students are doing their work. Check for understanding and help students who seem to struggle. It is more important that they research and get help when needed, rather than struggling for hours with answers they can't find.)

1. Students conclude researching the body system.

2. Review the guiding question: What makes me who I am?

3. Review with the class how body systems interact and are dependent on each other by doing the following:
*Show the students brief video clip(s) or pictures depicting physical exertion (biking, soccer, ballgames, etc.).
*Discuss how the body systems are interacting in these activities.
*Review the note cards. (As students were being formatively assessed as they did the note cards, the information should be correct.)
*Use this discussion as a springboard for the upcoming activity--the skits.

4. Before dividing students into groups, review the handout, Cooperative Group Expectations (Available in the lesson, Decidedly Different). Then, divide the students into groups. The groups will work together to write a short skit that depicts how body systems work together. Have them each take their notes to their group's working space.

5. Pass out the handouts which show examples of the skit and the directions.

6. Select a few students to perform the example skit.

7. Deliver the assignment: students write and practice their skits.

8. As students are writing their scripts, walk around and formatively assess their work. Make sure they are correctly depicting how the body system s interact.

(Again, since this is a writing activity, utilize your language arts section of the day to work on this activity. It will save time and illustrate to students that the science and language arts can be connected.)

(OPTION: Videotape the students' speeches. Then, they can fill in their handouts after the speeches and have time during the speech to enjoy.)

1. Give students the expectations during skits handout. Review all the information and make sure that students understand the expectations.

2. Students use five minutes to practice, and then they deliver their skits. After each skit, use the handout to allow students to review their answers and clarify any misconceptions.

3. Now, as a review, use the three large pictures in the associated file and have students explain how the body systems are interacting. For the first one, the teacher explains. For the second, the class explains. For the third, they should write in their journals.

4. Formatively assess the writing using the student journal rubric. Formatively assess content by looking for correct understanding of how the body systems are interacting in the picture that you used.

5. At the conclusion of this section, you have finished the lessons associated with the unit, What Makes Me Who I Am? Students are now ready for Summative Assessment #2 and to continue on with the unit summative.


Formatively assess students as they are writing their note cards. Utilize the sample note cards that may have been created. If samples were not created, consider the criteria PRIOR to assessing. Check for comprehension of the body system's job, major organs, and their functions, how the body system reacts with others, and the source. Redirect students as necessary.

Formatively assess skits as students are writing them. Students should mention all seven body systems, their roles in the situation, and include a setting.

Formatively assess each journal entry. Remember to use the Assessing Student Journals providing students with an S or N. Those students receiving S should receive positive praise and feedback. Those receiving N should be retaught as necessary.


1. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link listed in Weblinks.

2. [The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body], by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degan, can be used in three formats: book, video, and CD-ROM. It is published by Scholastic. [The Mailbox Magazine], Intermediate issue for Dec/Jan 1994-95: "From Head to Toe" has some activities to reinforce the skills in this lesson.

3. Utilize the language arts section of the day to teach research skills. Then, allow students an opportunity to do the research during this time.

4. has an interesting puzzle maker that could be utilized to create word searches and puzzles. The teacher could create, or the students could create them for each other.

Web Links

Web supplement for Body Systems in Action

This is the link to the unit plan. Scroll to the associated files to find the Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, Unit Plan Overview, and other files.
What Makes Me Who I Am?

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