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Build Your Own BodyWorks

In this activity, students design a series of challenges to test their body’s performance in a variety of ways. 

The human body is an incredible machine. Every day we test it by running, jumping, stretching, and reacting. For the body to respond and do what we ask of it, we use a complex system of different muscle groups, as well as nerves running throughout the body and connecting to the brain. 

This is a recommended post-visit activity after a field trip to Science World. It’s related to the BodyWorks human performance exhibits.

Objectives

  • Make predictions, describe the steps of an experiment, and record their observations.

  • Relate the function of their muscular and nervous systems to their performance.

Materials

  • Per Group of 2-4 students:
    stopwatch
    metre stick
    reaction timer (template)
    broom
    balance board
    sticky notes
    large cardboard box (0.5m by 0.5m)
    simple maze on paper templates
    paper and drawing materials

Key Questions

  • How (far, much, etc.) do you think you will do?
  • How could you improve this?

What To Do

  1. Brainstorm ways in which you can make versions of the BodyWorks exhibit challenges using simple equipment. Challenges may include:
     Reaction time: How fast is your reaction time?
    Balance: How long can you balance an upside-down broom on the palm of your hand? How long can you stay upright on a balance board?
    Endurance: How long can you hold a ball over your head?
    Leg strength: Hold a sticky note in your hand and jump to stick it to the wall. How high can you place the note?
    Flexibility: Can you fit into a cardboard box?
    Steadiness of hand: Draw a simple maze and make many copies. How long does it take to draw your way through a maze with a fat marker? Deduct points if you hit lines.
  2. Set up the challenges in a gym or playing field and invite other classes to participate.
  3. Keep records of people’s scores.

Extensions

  • Ask students to design a simple experiment that will test their classmates’ reaction time, flexibility, strength, or balance.
  • Use the statistics from collecting scores to answer questions like: Can someone in grade 5 jump higher than someone in grade 4? Do students have steadier hands than teachers?
  • Collect data over a month or a few months. Is there any improvement?