Why I Love Using Human Body Systems Exhibition Stations in the Classroom
If you’re asking: what the heck are exhibition stations? That’s perfectly normal, seeing as though I kind of made up the term “exhibition stations”. Please allow me to introduce you to what exhibition stations are and how you can use them in your classroom (and why they’re called that).
I once brought my anatomy and physiology class to a field trip to see the Bodies Exhibit. It was totally worth it. The kids could actually see the organs at a different, more specific level. There were also exhibits with damaged lungs from smoking and other diseases, fetal development, etc. To be honest, I was kind of freaked out at first, but we were there and we were learning far more than a text book could ever teach (and reach) us.
The trip inspired me to create the body systems exhibition labs. They will never be the real-life, 3D experience that the field trip brought us, but it was a way for me to break down each organ system throughout the classroom as stations. When I could incorporate some hands-on elements, I would. These include microscope slides, bone marrow from the supermarket butcher shop, some
torturing educational activities involving lactic acid for the muscular system, eating crackers to experience chemical digestion, etc. Essentially, these are stations that teach students about the body systems in depth with little set up and few materials.
However, most of the stations are informational text that is presented in such a way that students can comprehend and answer questions on their answer sheet. Dissections are the best way to familiarize students with the body systems, but dissections aren’t for every classroom: some science teachers don’t have access to the funds, the lab space, or the materials. I wasn’t able to show students the real thing, but the text book was so limiting and online activities varied far and wide. What I found was that these make a great addition to dissections or other models.
One unintentional perk was the stations are completely student facilitated. I could spend some time organizing or grading while the students soaked up each station. And the students were engaged and on task! Though I didn’t quite plan on it giving me some down time while students were working, it made me love them even more!
Here are 5 reasons I LOVE using exhibition stations:
You only need a few materials to get big results.
Exhibition stations are a student facilitated lesson.
You can use these for just about any topic! Though it was the bodies exhibit that gave me the idea, I also offer these for organic compounds, cells, and microbiology.
Feedback I’ve received tells me that students beg for more of these!
You can edit these to add your own stations if you have extra materials that you can incorporate (example: plastic skeleton for skeletal system stations or ANY model for ANY system; electronic muscle stimulator for muscular system, microscope slides you have available, preserved specimens, etc.) The fun can go on!
Examples of how I use the exhibition labs
I. Nervous System
The exhibition stations are designed so that students are given an answer sheet and fill it out as they go along from station to station gathering the information. This picture contains some samples of what the stations might look like and how the information is organized. The student answer sheet is the paper on the left.
II. Circulatory System
The circulatory system also has a student answer sheet (not pictured here), as well as a microscope station and station with directions to properly measure heart rate.
The mini-labs included in the circulatory system include measuring heart rate, examining slides of cardiac muscle.
III. Muscular System
Here is an example of the muscular system (student answer sheet and station #13). Students experiment with clothespins to get a feel for lactic acid 😉
The mini-labs included in the digestive system include lactic acid labs and examining the different types of muscles under the microscope.
IV. Digestive System
For the most part the digestive system contains informational stations and diagrams with the occasional snack 😉
The mini-labs included in the digestive system include saltine crackers without chewing to model chemical digestion.
You can snag a discounted BUNDLE of human body systems! which includes all ELEVEN body system stations. These are completely editable and include a student answer sheet. Here are the body systems broken down individually:
- Nervous System Exhibition Stations
- Circulatory System Exhibition Stations
- Muscular System Exhibition Stations
- Digestive System Exhibition Stations
- Skeletal System Exhibition Stations
- Respiratory Exhibition Stations
- Endocrine System Exhibition Stations
- Reproductive System Exhibition Stations
- Excretory System Exhibition Stations
- Integumentary System Exhibition Stations
- Immune System Exhibition Stations
Do you want try out a sample of body exhibition stations? Get access to a FREE sample of Respiratory Stations 1-9 (along with some other freebies) by signing up for my newsletter: