January 19, 2016 posted by littlewhitecottage

A practical way to show how muscles works…

Yesterday we continued our Science work on ‘The Human Body’ and the boys spent some time looking at muscles and how they work. This has all come from H asking ‘what does our skeleton look like?’ at breakfast last week and I asked if they wanted to learn about their bodies, which they did.

I’ve been using this fabulous scheme of work from Siemens as a guideline but I’ve heavily adjusted it to fit the boys ages. I like to use published schemes of work where I can as this saves me having to think through the progression of learning. I’ve spent many years writing my own schemes of work as a teacher and I am now happy to use a rough outline and fill in the blanks or adjust where I need to myself. I want to spend my time learning with the boys and not filling in unnecessary paperwork. Having said that I do feel having a record of what the boys are doing is valuable for me to see that we aren’t just sitting on the sofa playing computer games and also to show progress as we are very much focusing on practical learning activities in order to help H’s physical issues as well as helping him to learn.

Back to the Science…

I laid out the resources that they boys would be using and asked them to have a think about how they would use them to make an arm.



Asking children ‘how, why, can you…?’ and other questions is always a good sessions starter to getting their curiosity going. My boys are no exception and were off with their bits of card, elastic and split pins.

We talked about joints and how they are needed. I demonstrated trying to hug them without being able to bend my arms, I tried to pick something off the floor with straight arms and although they found this hilarious (it was, I looked very silly!) and they had a go themselves, it did demonstrate why we need to be able to bend our bones. As human we don’t bend our bones so we have joint in certain places to help us do this.


H is putting is arm together making an elbow ‘joint’ with his split pin.

We them looked this video which demonstrates perfectly how the muscles in the arm work, contracting and relaxing at opposing times.

Here’s T making his arm. He found it a little harder so ‘see’ what to do but the video really helped him and he was off!


They then set about adding the muscles using elastic to represent the muscles.


Now this wasn’t as easy as you might imagine as the elastic stretches and needs knots tying at the ends to stop them from pinging back through the hole. H needed help with this as he found it hard to hold the card, keep the elastic taught and then tie the knot. As I said to him it wasn’t a test and that we would work together so I did the parts he needed help with under his direction.

Hubbie came out from his study to make himself a coffee and did a fabulous impromptu talk about how they muscles contract and relax at opposing times. The boys felt their own muscles and then saw what was happening on the inside of their arms using their models.


This was a great activity that really showed them how their muscles work.

They were very pleased with their ‘arms.’


Tomorrow is a messy practical Science day as they are going to help me make a digestive system and actually put food through it.

Wish us luck!

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