Thursday, February 21, 2013

Worm Anatomy Investigation

How many hearts does a worm have?
Does it have a spine?
Does it have a heart?
Does it have a brain?

How can we know these things by simply observing a worm?

The anatomy of a worm group quickly set to work, building upon what they knew about their own bodies and those of other living creatures (using the known to explain the unknown).  Their two dimensional drawings became plans for more collaborative three dimensional work, and they began to develop a common vocabulary around the worm's anatomy.  Encouraging the children to think expansively by utilizing process skills - observation, representation, communication, and questioning - helped them move fluidly between the scientific and the imaginative to co-construct their understanding of the relationship of the living systems within a living system:  the nervous, circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems. 

Front part of the worm:  from the brain and mouth to the middle (with "tissues," muscles, and many hearts)
Back part of the worm:  esophagus, stomach, intestines, anus
Click above to see the anatomy group working on their individual pieces

Later, the group tried acting out the parts of the worms body to show how they worked together:

The children then laid their individual works on a sheet of paper on the floor. 
They had to work together to determine where each of the parts should be placed
and figure out how the parts worked together.

First, there's the brain, the nervous system, and the gizzard
Putting in a "spine," "lungs," the intestines and anus
The mind probe, between the brain and the spine...and the "rib cage" with the hearts
To watch our collaborative worm anatomy video, please click below: 


  1. Those videos made my day! It is so wonderful to see the children happily working together. Thank you so much for sharing these with us.

  2. It's incredible to see and hear their thoughts on how the body works. I'm especially excited about their concept of "thoughts" and their evolving ideas about how the brain works.