The Mad Scientist: Shrinky Dinks and the Human Body

For the past several weeks, our journey into the microscopic world has been focused on the botanical realm. We have looked at all different types of plants and explored the internal workings of each part. This week, we decided to focus on the workings of the human body!

Shrinky DinkWe talked about the importance of bone marrow and looked at some slides of marrow smears. We also talked about bones themselves and looked at those cross sections. Moving on, we got into a few of our internal organs; our liver and lungs, looking at cross sections of those as well.

The kids seemed to really prefer taking a look into the human body and rightly so. It is one thing to admire the beauty around us, but fascinating and awe-inspiring when we take a look within.

Each portion of our bodies is wonderfully and specially made. There are no two cells exactly alike and each part has a unique function. Being able to take a look at the inner working of ourselves has been a real blessing to my children.

Sticking with our human bodies “theme” for the day, we decided to do another smaller science/art project real quick. Drawing

We grabbed a stack of Shrinky Dink I had left over from another day and made rings for our fingers! This project was so simple and fun to create. (For ideas on how to teach science using Shrinky Dink, try out some of these neat websites: BJ Pinchbeck’s, Smithsonian, and PKWY.)

To make the Shrinky Dink rings, cut your paper to fit your child’s finger (my children’s rings were cut to 14cm X 2cm). I rounded the corners of the paper as well, to ensure my kids’ fingers were hurt by sharp corners. Then we drew on our designs and colored them. We followed the instructions on how to bake the Shrinky Dink and watched them “do their thing”. Quickly (and carefully) removing them from our oven, I wrapped the pieces of Shrinky Dink around a stick of chapstick to make them into rings, then let them cool.

To make this project yourself, I highly recommend not using water based markers, they will come off on your kids’ fingers (even after baking); try using Sharpies or some other type.

Finished RIngsThe rings turned out so cute and we had a blast making them! It was an enjoyable day learning about the internal workings of the awesome bodies God has given us, with the added bonus of making something to decorate ourselves with. (Not to mention the added science lesson of Shrinky Dink.)

Now… off for more fun at the library!

Have you used Shrinky Dink before? What neat project would you create?

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:14

Playing With Our Food

Nothing says, “it’s back to school time” like a biology dissection. After our week of Easter break, it was time to get back into the swing of things. Starting off the week with a little fun didn’t hurt either.

My father-in-law has been keeping chickens for a few months now. It started out as a fun project to keep himself busy and quickly developed into something a bit bigger than he anticipated.

It seems he thought the chickens would grow a bit faster than they have been. They also seem to be eating quite a bit more than previously thought; they are picky about what they eat and are a great deal of work.

Because of these factors (and possibly a few more) my father-in-law has decided to call it quits and simply use the chickens he already has.

This past weekend, he thoughtfully asked if the kids would like a quick biology lesson. He thought he would cut open one of the chickens and teach them all about the inner workings of birds!

Dissection #1

Dissection #2

Yayo cutting up the bird.

Dissection #3

The stomach of the bird. Here we were able to see undigested food and the lining.

Dissection #4

The heart of the chicken.

Dissection #5

The liver and kidneys of the chicken.

Dissection #6

The backbone, ribs, and wings of the chicken.

The lesson was a lot of fun! Dad was very thorough in explaining all the different parts of the bird’s digestive system and bone structure. He answered their questions and teased them about eating the giblets as a snack.

The kids were a little squeamish at first, but they quickly got into the lesson and learned quite a bit.

Now we are back on track with our lessons, with five more weeks of school to go! It seems like the year just started and here we are, already preparing for summer.

Can anyone guess what we had for lunch? Delicious!