Body systems are inherently gross. This is evidenced by the sheer volume of “eww!”s and “turn it off!”s radiating through the walls of Ms. Fernandez’s seventh grade science class in the days leading up to this project. Muscular system? Gross, because you’re looking under your skin. Circulatory system? Gross, because there’s blood everywhere. Digestive system? Poop. Everything leads to poop.
In order to abstract away some of the gorier details of the human body, we tasked students with designing and building amusement parks based on the body systems they had been learning about. The goal was to pitch their park to the Fernandez and Sheldon LLC investment firm using a physical model and a PowerPoint presentation explaining what made their park unique and how each attraction related to a body system.
Students spent just two class periods creating their 3D masterpieces, quickly learning how best to divide the work and how to resolve differences of opinion. There were some truly creative ideas all around – bumper cars representing blood cells, a zip line mimicking how neurons quickly pass information, a free-fall ride emulating the esophagus… the list goes on.
With a small budget covering simple materials like Popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners and cotton balls, this project was a great way for students to think about body systems in a new way. Their Shark Tank style sales pitches to the investment firm committee proved that they had mastered the science standards, and their laughter and rowdy discussions proved that they could have a ton of fun at the same time.
Check out our slideshow below with all of the final scale models!