Tuesday 8 May 2012

Sweet science

Recently, I've been, occasionally science to a small group. Part of the time, the theme has been the human body. I've used the Apologia Elementary book, Exploring Creation with human anatomy and physiology, as an outline guide, supplementing with some pictures from my old histology book and a few videos which were particularly useful to show how the heart works.

Apologia Elementary has a Christian worldview and uses a Charlotte Mason approach. The Elementary books are recommended for age 6-13. The ground seems to be covered quite thoroughly for this group. We have successfully used the astronomy book and the human anatomy and physiology book when one of our children was 9 and 10. My gut feeling is that the books are more suitable for the older end of the range perhaps 8+.

For group teaching, I didn't use the book in the suggested way. In fact, Apologia suggest that a fortnight is taken over each chapter. Instead, I have used the activities in the book as an introduction and they seem fairly effective and sweet!

The cell
This is a picture from a previous post of when we made this once before at home. The cell model involves jelly (jello) for cytoplasm and various sweets for organelles.
A memorable activity! The downside is that jelly containing numerous sweets doesn't hold together well once taken out of its container. My explanation is that this is a plant cell with a cell wall,

The heart
I didn't really follow the book for this. Their activity is much sweeter than mine! I used cards for the major vessels attached to the heart and its four chambers. These were useful for mapping the flow of blood through the heart and checking understanding.
The mixed set
If I do this again, they could be beautified and laminated!

The blood
This again, involved a sweet demonstration. Part of the learning, for me, is that US sweets don't necessarily exist here so some alteration was necessary.
We used

  • vegetable oil-plasma
  • red skittles-red blood cells. There weren't as many red skittles as I would have liked in the pack.
  • Mint Imperial-white blood cell.
  • Sprinkles-platelets. 
 This is a long way from being a perfect model:
  • the shape of the cells and particularly the red cells are wrong. I don't know of any sweets that are biconcave. 
  • the red cells should vastly outnumber the white. The book suggests using "Candy red hots" which presumably must be all red.
  • We were over generous with the sprinkles.
Still these were discussion points.
Next,we should probably do something about the effect of sweets on teeth.


  1. This is really interesting! What a creative way to teach about these things.

  2. My sweet tooth would have liked these lessons very much and I would have learned everything very well. ;-)Your lessons are so very creative!

  3. I'm sure that my biology lessons at school years ago were nowhere near as interesting as your lessons!

  4. Thank you-I'm sure I like these sweet activities a bit too much!