March 2022 SOLC–Day 29
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One of my fourth grade teaching joys is teaching 9 and 10 year olds about the human digestive system. It’s a pretty simplified unit plan, but quite engaging. We learn all about systems, living and nonliving, and we trace the journey of solid food through the body, considering each organ and its structure and function. We also get to say anus once in a while. So, that’s pretty cool.
Today we hadn’t even gotten to the good stuff. Teams had shared their experiences with the great “Poofie Ball Challenge” from Friday. (That’s Poofie, not Poopie, thank you very much. And yes, it’s hard to distinguish those two sounds, especially through a mask, and especially when you’re 9 or 10 and predisposed to hear “poop” not “poof” because you’re already horrifascinated by the fact that you’re learning about a system in your body (and potentially poop)…with your peers and a teacher! Ack!). Then we reviewed common parts and talked about how those had functioned in their designed system, considering the relationship between structure and function.
Finally, I wrapped things up and added, “Ok, now tomorrow, we’re going to start talking about the digestive system and focus on the first organ in the digestive system: the mouth.”
“What’s an organ?” someone piped up.
“That’s what we’ll be talking about tomorrow,” I said. “We’re out of time. Clean up and get ready for Specials.”
As the kids bustled around, putting away folders, pushing in chairs, and gathering coats, I circulated. I noticed one of my students frozen in her chair, tapping her mouth over and over.
“What’s up, M?” I asked.
“Oh my God! I’m feeling an organ. My mouth is an organ!”
“Yup,” I said, nonchalantly, for once thankful for the mask that hid my smile.
“But,” she looked up at me, “that means I have a visible organ!”
I opened my mouth, then closed it without speaking.
I just didn’t have the heart to inform her that her skin is an organ, too.