All Resources

Organ Systems Exploration

In this activity, students will work in small groups to become experts on the organ system assigned to them. They will then use creative methods to share their knowledge with the rest of the class.

Organ systems are groups of organs that work together to do a job for the body they live in. They can help with gas exchange, removing waste, obtaining and transporting nutrients, sensing, and protecting the body from disease.

Organ Systems of the human body:

  • Respiratory
  • Circulatory
  • Excretory
  • Nervous
  • Digestive
  • Immune
  • Skeletal
  • Muscular
  • Reproductive

In teams, students become the resident experts on one organ system, and try to convince your classmates that it is the most important in the body. They can prepare a prepare a 5-minute advertisement, debate or election campaign for their organ system.

This lesson can be used effectively to preview organ systems before exploring them in more depth. It also serves as an excellent end-of-unit review tool.

Objectives

  • Describe the purpose and function of several organ systems in the human body.

  • Explain a variety of strategies for keeping each organ system as healthy
    as possible.

Materials

  • Per Class:
    Access to printed and/or online resources for research
    Organ Systems Summary Sheets (1 copy per student for each Organ System being presented by a group)

Key Questions

  • What are the major functions of each organ system in the human body?
  • How do these organ systems carry out their tasks?
  • What can be done to help these systems work as effectively as possible?

What To Do

Preparation:

  • Print the Organ Systems Summary Sheets for your class or have them copy it into their notes.
  • Each student will need 5 summary sheets—one for each organ system.

Activity:

  1. Divide the class into “Expert Groups” for the systems you are studying: Respiratory, Circulatory, Excretory, Digestive and Immune are covered in the online textbook linked in Other Resources.
  2. The Expert Groups have 20 minutes to learn about their organ system and prepare an explanation about what they learned, for the rest of the class.
    1. Using the resources available to them, each Expert Group will fill in their summary sheet.
    2. They will try to convince the rest of the class that their organ system is the most important in the body. They will prepare a 5-minute advertisement, debate or election campaign for their organ system.
    3. After each group has had a chance to present, hold a class vote. Students are not allowed to vote for their own organ system.
  3. Following the presentations, complete the information transfer. Break the Expert Groups into “Sharing Groups,” where each group has at least one member representing each organ system. In the Sharing Groups, students will take turns explaining what they know about their assigned organ system. During sharing, the other students are responsible for taking notes for each organ system. At the end of this time, each student in the class should have a full set of notes for all of the organ systems being studied.

Extensions

  • Use all members of the group to create a “human machine” of their organ system to present to the class and explain how their organ system works. Each member will act as a part of the organ system while explaining that organ function. Student presentations should be brief, no more than 2–3 minutes long. The use of props is encouraged, if they are readily available in the classroom and can be safely used.
  • Have groups research a disease of their organ system and explain how that interferes with proper functioning of the system. Have them include examples of treatments that will help ease or eliminate the symptoms of the disease. Ask them to prepare a 5-minute presentation for the class. Examples: Immune System; allergies, HIV/AIDS, juvenile arthritis: Respiratory System; asthma, emphysema, cystic fibrosis: Circulatory System; hemophilia, anemia, hypertension: Digestive System; diabetes, diarrhea/constipation, ulcer: Excretory System; kidney stones, cirrhosis, gout

Other Resources

CK-12 Online Textbook | Chapter 35: The Body Systems