Science, Human Anatomy 3-6, 6-12
Upper Elementary is a perfect age for children to deepen knowledge on the world within themselves. As we have embarked on this journey, we are ready to learn about the nervous system. My children have an aversion for internal parts of living things, and have a reverence for life. To learn about internal parts of the human body is a delicate topic where the adult needs to find suitable materials that will inspire children to pursue this journey.
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What has worked for us is using neutral images, as seen on Montessori Research and Development materials on The Nervous System, with red outlines. The children are able to focus on the learning. It leaves room for imagination later…
Our prerequisites for this presentation are mostly cellular studies (prokaryotic cells, eukaryotic cells), and the human skeleton.
Montessori Research and Development “The Nervous System” set, which consists of:
- 3 wall charts
- 2 booklets
- 23 three parts cards sets
The set presented here is suitable for elementary learners. Montessori RD also offers a set for primary level. The primary level is similar to the elementary level, but includes extra cards with labeled pictures to match with loose pictures and labels (as three part cards are presented in primary).
In addition to Montessori RD materials, we read a simple introductory book that the children loved, and we made playdough to create a model of a neuron cell.
As a teacher, noticing reading strategies is part of my job. I see consistency in the way the content is written. The vocabulary is age-appropriate, which doesn’t mean easy. It means the texts respect the amount of knowledge a child should be expected to know. The texts also embed new vocabulary in context, which can be guessed through cues, and using pictures. I also like the way the key words are being repeated several times within the descriptions.
Booklet #1 introduces the parts of the nervous system, from the brain to the spinal cord.
Booklet #2 tells about the parts of a neuron cell. That’s the children’s favorite.
The materials feel smooth and glossy, and extremely pleasant to touch. They come ready to use, laminated and cut; bundled with rubber bands, and packaged in a transparent plastic bag. The images are simple and clean. The size of the material fits in small hands, and on the working mat. There’s something appeasing about Montessori RD materials. You quickly get familiarized with the materials, and the learning just flows.
How to use
We tend to have a hook to our presentations. I like to use puzzles, models, books to get the children neurons excited:
- We read a funny book.
- We gave ourselves commands to do, from brain to hands, from brain to legs. Children like to feel in control of their bodies.
- We then knew the parts of a neuron. and practiced on Google saying them. We went to Visiblebody.com to virtually manipulate a neuron (see picture at the end of the post).
- We made playdough (4 colors: body, dendrites/terminals, nucleus, axon/myelin sheath).
- We constructed and labeled our neuron cell.
- We worked on reading booklet #1 and worked with the three part cards of booklet #2.
- The next day, we colored neurons in our Dover Coloring book, gazed at our project, and went back to working with the three part cards from Booklet #1.
We will certainly continue learning about the nervous system more in depth by exploring a small model of the spinal cord and its nerves, and about neurotransmitters. I hope this post has given you inspiration to introduce this topic. The Nervous System from Montessori Research and Development also exists for age 3-6 for an expository experience.
Ready for a lesson?