New School Montessori 6th grade students have been learning all about the human body since they began at The New School as 3-year-olds. Each year, more detail is added and students gain a more complete understanding of how the organs, bones and soft tissue work together to make this amazing “vehicle” we live in.
This year, art and science teacher, Emily Olexsey, made study of the cell an art project. That mass of white yarn you see there simulates the endoplasmic reticulum, providing a platform for protein synthesis and lipid production. The piece that looks like Chex cereal is a centrosome that’s involved in cell division. A vacuole (represented here by a brown button) stores water and nutrients for later. And that fuzzy orange pom pom in the center of the cell is the nucleolus where ribosomes are made.
Students have taken their study of the body from the micro level (the cell) to the macro level (the human body). They began by tracing the outline of their bodies and labeling and gluing their body’s organs into the correct locations. Lungs, liver, heart, spleen, pancreas, small and large intestines, bladder, ureter – it’s all there! And they know what each part does too.
Now the 6th graders are studying the bones of the body and will entertain their parents and classmates with a song “D’em Bones,” where they name many of the bones of the body. Students will wear black shirts and pants pinned from head to toe (occipital to metatarsals) with cut-out images of femur, radius, ulna, scapula, phalanges and more.