Recently we brought you a Teacher Feature from one of our three-year-old classes, the Koalas, as they learned about blood. This lesson was part of a mini unit on the circulatory system, which fit into a larger unit on the human body. The web below displays all the directions Koala teachers Katie Heimsath and Laura Muniz took the unit. Following the web are photos highlighting some of their experiences.
5 Senses – Sense of Touch
To explore their sense of touch, the class went to the National Museum of Natural History‘s Gem and Mineral Hall. The children felt the gems and minerals that were labeled with a “Please Touch!” sign, and described what they felt using words such as cold, hard, smooth, and bumpy.
Afterwards, the class sat down and played a game using their sense of touch. Laura brought objects to put in the mystery box and each child took a turn feeling inside the box, describing what they felt, and then guessing what object was inside based on their observations.
While learning about the skeletal system, the class talked about bones, and what happens when they break. Since we know we cannot see our bones from the outside, the class learned about x-rays and how doctors use them to take a look at our bones if we hurt them. To illustrate this, the class looked at bone x-rays on a light table to get a better idea of what doctors look at when seeing if a bone looks normal or injured. Laura explained how broken bones are wrapped in a cast so they can heal. To make this concept more concrete, the children used bandages to cast a baby doll’s leg.
To cap off their week on bones, the class talked about the ways in which we can keep our bones healthy and strong, including drinking milk, which contains calcium. To explore where milk comes from, the class went to the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden to see Joan Miró’s sculpture, Lunar Bird. They used their imaginations to pretend the sculpture was a cow, and “milked an udder”, which was a plastic glove filled with water, and little holes cut into the ends.
The class began their week on the digestive system by focusing on where food enters our bodies – the mouth! After seeing a giant mouth of a dinosaur, the children practiced their fine motor skills by cutting long strips of white paper into teeth and gluing them into a mouth.
Explaining the length of intestines using only words can prove difficult for young children to understand, so Katie made it more concrete by measuring yarn to visualize how long intestines actually are. After they measured the yarn, the class lay on the floor along the yarn to see how many kids it would take to make the length of the intestine, which turns out to be a lot!
As they went through their week on the digestive system, the class added pieces to a paper model. They used a straw to represent the esophagus, a balloon as a stomach and yarn and ribbon as the intestines.