Monthly Archives: October 2013

Blood and Guts – The Bowels of Hell


Let me just start off by stating they do NOT pay me enough for this!  Holy cow this was N-A-S-T-Y.  Do you know when people speak of “The Bowels of Hell?”  This was it.

Our hook-up, Mrs. Ferro, was able to get us a complete GI tract of (we THINK) a pig.  From the back of the throat allllllll the way to the hairy little anus.

For the record, I’m surprised I was able to keep down my breakfast.  I was gagging left and right!  That smell.  THAT SMELL.  I will NEVER forget THAT SMELL.

After our dissection, we had a debriefing.  This gave me a chance to ask the kids what they liked most, and what they liked least about this project.  They all loved the experience (this is something they’d never get to do in regular school, for REALS), and they all pretty much hated the smell.  They all said they’d never forget it!

Next week:  teeth.  Thank you, sweet Jesus.

Blood and Guts: Digestive Juices


If you want to make Mrs. Darby turn green and almost lose her breakfast, THIS is how to do it.  Even just THINKING about this makes me a little light-headed, so this is going to be a short post!

First, I had the kids chew on a saltine cracker.  This part didn’t gross me out.  It’s See-Food!  Didn’t your family ever play this at the table??



Here’s where things turn badly…

I had them put 10 saltine crackers in a Ziploc bag.  Then, we added water, closed the bag, and… churned.


I had to open a window, and breath in that crisp, cold, fall air.  Breath in, breath out, Mrs. Darby, for the worst has not yet come to pass:  the eyeball.

Blood and Guts – Magic Poo


We are now into our 4th lesson:  The Digestive System.  Now, Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology added the renal system in with it, but I’m choosing to wait until we’ve mastered one before we get to another.


What does this have to do with Magic Poo? Well, the way poo is made is pretty darn magical, and if I could fart sparkles to prove my point, I would.  Unfortunately, I’m left with simply helping the kids to visualize and understand, so I made up a fun bulletin board to help.

Schooled in Love:  Magic Poo

Blood and Guts – Lapbook: Lesson 3


As we continue through our body-discovery, our lapbooks continue to grow.  And grow.

We just finished up Lesson 3:  The Muscular System, using Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology.

Lapbook:  Lesson 1 can be found here.

Lapbook:  Lesson 2 can be found here.

Lapbook:  Lesson 4 can be found here.

Lapbook:  Lesson 4B can be found here.

Lapbook:  Lesson 6 can be found here.

Lapbook:  Lessons 7 and 8 can be found here.

Lapbook:  Lesson 9 can be found here.

Lapbook:  Lesson 10 can be found here.

Lapbook:  Lesson 11 can be found here.

Here are the parts I added for Lesson 3:

L3 Lapbook – Illustration of tendons and muscles – This is an illustration of muscles and tendons for the kids to color.

L3 Lapbook – Analyzing Beef Brisket – Draw what is seen when looking closely at beef brisket.

L3 Lapbook – Antagonistic Muscles – This is a supplemental foldable.

L3 Lapbook – Cardiac Muscle – This is a supplemental foldable.

L3 Lapbook – Drawing of a Muscle – Draw and label the parts of a muscle, found in the book.

L3 Lapbook – Masseter Muscle and Tetanus – This is a supplemental foldable.

L3 Lapbook – Muscle Tests – This is a place to record the results of doing different muscle tests.  We chose eating a cracker for the smooth muscle, timing our heartbeat for the cardiac muscle, and opening and closing a clothespin for the skeletal muscle tests.

L3 Lapbook – Muscle Weight – This is a card to record how much the student has in muscle weight.

L3 Lapbook – Muscular Diseases and Disorders – This is a supplemental card.

L3 Lapbook – My Biggest Muscle – This is a supplemental foldable.

L3 Lapbook – Skeletal Muscles – This is a supplemental foldable.

L3 Lapbook – Tendons – Tendonitis – This is a supplemental foldable.

Here are the test and answer key:

L3 – Test

L3 – Test – Answer Key


And here are photos of our lapbook so far:



Art – Sugar Skulls


This was such a great project to do after spending time on our cows (a post yet to come).  I never imagined my kids would make these as colorful as they did!  Usually, when they have a big, blank spot to color in, they use one color, but almost every one of them did something completely challenging to them!  The project reports for these were all positive, as well.

They started with a dark blue piece of construction paper.  We went over the Mexican history and tradition of the sugar skull, and I showed them how to make a basic sugar skull shape.  Almost everyone made it too small, so after a few adjustments, they each had a skull that was nice and big.  The glue was also a challenge.  Some lines were too thin, and if they got the lines too thick, the glue would spread and fill the space.  I worked on getting them to think about nice, even lines, and making large spaces.

Once the glue dried, the getting-your-hands-dirty part started.  They busted out their chalk pastels and got to work coloring, smudging, and blending.

Here are some of the fabulous results!

Art – Notans


This was a project for my high schoolers simply because it required an X-acto knife.  That was a huge challenge for them, because none of them have ever used that as a tool for art.  The overall consensus was that it was tedious, yet interesting once it was finished.

I think they turned out really cool!

Creative Writing – Door, Entry, Gate, Portal


First, I had the kids fold a piece of paper in half, and half again, to create four quadrants.  In each quadrant, they drew what THEY thought a door, entry, gate, and portal looked like, and labeled them.  They were really worried about me judging their drawing skills, but I assured them I wouldn’t.

Once they had the images drawn, the assignment shifted.  I instructed them to tell me (in 3-5 sentences) what was behind each opening – and it didn’t have to be mundane or even realistic.  it is creative writing, after all.

The kids came back with all sorts of interesting locations!

Blood and Guts – Practicing our Facial Muscles


The kids in my class really crack me up.  It was nothing new with this fun project!

Lesson 3 is all about the Muscular System, so we practiced using our facial muscles, and the pictures are hilarious!

Of course, I had to get in on the fun:

Goofing around with Mrs. Darby.

Goofing around with Mrs. Darby.


My class should be dubbed the “Nut House.”

Art – Pipes


If you’ve never done this project with your art students, it’s a great way to teach value.  I think I’ll take it one step further next time, and make them “Impossible Pipes.”

For this project, the kids used a dark piece of construction paper and oil pastels.

They first drew out their pipes with a pencil and a ruler.  Then, using a solid color, they colored the pipes.  Finally, they added the white and black, keeping the light source coming from one location.

Blood and Guts – Moveable Tendon Hand


Kids sure do like things that move!

We’re studying Lesson 3 Anatomy (Blood and Guts), which is the Muscular System, so we made hands with working tendons and moving fingers.

Yes, these will go into our insanely-growing lapbooks.

To make these, you’ll need the following for each student:

1 sheet of construction paper

5 drinking straws


5 pony beads




Before the class, cut the string into 18″-lengths.  I used the unraveling-kind of string, so I had to melt the ends.  Each student will need 5.  Also, cut 2 V-shaped notches in each straw.  Have the students trace their hand, and about 1-inch of arm, past the wrist, onto the construction paper.  Remind them to be careful about keeping the pencil straight up and down, or they’ll end up with super-skinny digits!  Cut out the hands.  Tape the straws to each of the fingers, keeping the notches up.  Clip any excess straw that goes beyond the palm.  Tie a bead to the end of one of a string, and feed it through the straw.  Once all the strings are through, tie all the strings together in a large knot.  Make the fingers move by gently pulling on one string at a time.  To glue this into your lapbook, Put glue on the back of the palm and wrist only.  Do NOT put glue on the fingers, or it won’t work!