Life Science

Anatomy-Human Body

What are the most successful experiments and activities you do with your kids when covering the human body? I am a student teacher and just looking for ideas on what works best. Any and all grades welcome as I am looking for ideas for any grade. 

Kaylee Nungaray
Kaylee Nungaray
3394 Activity Points

Hello Kaylee!

Here are a few of my favourite demonstrations and activities which the students also enjoyed and learned from.  

Digestive System:

  • Peristalsis demonstrations:

Have a volunteer student stand on their head and drinking juice/water through a straw.  (Bring a pillow, have someone hold their ankles and provide a few choices for your volunteer to pick from.  Give them more as a reward!)   Do this yourself if you are uncomfortable with students doing this. 

Borborygmus (aka stomach gurgling, peristaltic sounds).  Get about 1.5-2 metres of garden hose and hold it by both ends to form a "U".  Pour in a SMALL AMOUNT of water to create a trap in the bottom of the "U" and blow into one end.  You should hear a familiar (but lower pitched) gurgling like when you're hungry.  This simulates how peristalsis pushes air through your digestive system when the loops in your small intestine have small amounts of chyme.  

  • Soda cracker pie:

Either I or student volunteers would make these pies that taste exactly like apple pie, but are made with starchy crackers. You don't taste the starchy crackers because cooking breaks them down into sugars, just like the amylase enzymes in your saliva and small intestine. 

  • The Great Digestive System Time Trials:

I cooked up a big pot of frozen corn kernels and had students voluntarily eat a bowl of them on a Friday.  Over the weekend they anonymously posted to my wiki how long it took for the corn to...uh...reappear in a bowel movement! This answered the popular question of "how long does it take your body to digest food?"  A great discussion ensued about how we are all different and it is more important to be aware and in tune with your body so you could notice if there is any major changes. 

Nervous System:

  • optical illusions: 

Discuss how these happen and how our brain tries to make sense of the world and will override our senses at times. 

  • onion/apple tasting:  

Discover the link between smell and taste - our two senses for chemicals - and how we taste is affected by how we smell...uh...smell things. Many links online on how to do this. Students can design an experiment to check this out. 

  • Ishihara test for colour blindness:

There are several apps and online colour blindness tests.  Here's one: .  Students are riveted and cannot believe the range of colour vision evident in just one classroom.  I have had three students discover that they are colour blind during this test! 

  • 2-point discrimination of nerve endings

make several cards with two toothpicks glued at different distances apart to map the sensitivity of hands, feet, arms, etc.  I attached Eric Chudler's "Neuroscience for Kids" activity found here: Our Sense of Touch

Circulatory System:

  • Blood pressure and pulse experiments.  

I had pairs of students design experiments on factors affecting BP and/or pulse.  Their classmates became the subject pool.  This took a few weeks in order to design, approve, select 5-10 subjects and conduct the experiments.  (keep away from 'fit' vs 'couch potato' experiments - we know the results) Interesting ones:  do boys or girls react differently to scary, funny, etc videos?  How do tests or quizzes affect heart rate? (I actually had students take baseline pulses and bp for a couple of weeks, and when we wrote the test we did a before, middle and end of the test pulses as a class and recorded them on the test!)  Cold immersion (I live in a cold part of Canada - so easy to just walk outside). 


This is a component of our province's curriculum and may not apply - but I loved it.   

  • wellness inventory/journal

Attached is a survey that students would take (and keep private!) but it was to help them identify areas of their wellness that they can work on or that they are doing well on.  They would set one goal to improve their wellness during the term and talk about it in their journals.  We also used the journals to relate what they learned about the human body to themselves.&#

Gabe Kraljevic
Gabe Kraljevic
4174 Activity Points

For older students, I like to use Case studies.  This is an excellent site with lots of case studies.


Amy Swiderski
Amy Swiderski
215 Activity Points

Hi Kaylee,

I found an article within the Learning Center that discusses teaching anatomy with preschoolers. I wonder if you may find it helpful - let me know!

The article can be found here: 


Megan Doty
Megan Doty
11847 Activity Points

The Health and Science Pipeline Initiative (HASPI) has many excellent resources for teaching about human anatomy and physiology. It is K-16 so should be useful. If we ever get our Human Anatomy course running again, I plan on using their materials.

Cris DeWolf
Cris DeWolf
11925 Activity Points

Thanks for this resource.  It looks awesome


Amy Swiderski
Amy Swiderski
215 Activity Points

Post Reply

Forum content is subject to the same rules as NSTA List Serves. Rules and disclaimers