Saturday, February 9, 2013

Endocrine System

We started the unit off with the Endocrine System, since hormones are such an important part of pregnancy and the menstrual cycle. I drew this picture the first day and then we had these horrible Endocrine people leering at us from the window for the whole unit. (The boys made me draw a balloon above the boy's head to explain why his hair was sticking up so much.) I accidentally left this picture up even when the babysitter came over one day. I hope she wasn't too traumatized by it.

From this lesson plan, I got the idea of explaining how hormones work using acid and base reactions (It's on pages 7-8 of this .pdf file). You just use purple cabbage juice as an indicator and drip different acids and bases into it. You explain that squeezing the cotton ball is like releasing a hormone into the bloodstream. As the hormone reaches different organs, it causes them to secrete other hormones or to perform in specific ways, just as each acid or base causes the cabbage juice to change to a different color. It seemed like a nice simple way to teach that somewhat abstract concept.
Plain cabbage juice
With various solutions added (baking soda, bleach, lemon juice, vinegar, etc)

This site is a good one for looking at different body systems---you can view the body in 3D and rotate it all different directions, as well as limit your view by system or body area. Very interesting and useful.

We also filled in this worksheet I found online---it has a copyright on it but it's only through 2001, so hopefully it's okay to use. Although I could certainly have used my own scary endocrine people above to make my own worksheet! :)

This video on ovulation and the menstrual cycle was good, and the boys found the animations very interesting.

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