Unit 5: Inside the Human Body
Students study two important body systems, the digestive and urinary systems, through a variety of informational texts and hands-on projects.
In this unit, students study two important body systems in depth, the digestive and urinary systems. Students will be challenged to think about how the human body is a miraculous machine, in particular how the digestive and urinary systems are crucial for survival, by deeply analyzing and exploring the steps in both systems. After learning about how both systems function, students will learn about nutrition and how what we eat can either positively or negatively impact the way our body functions. Students will explore what it means to eat a well-balanced meal and how added sugars harm their bodies. It is our hope that this unit will help students build a deeper understanding of the human body and how the decisions we make daily, especially with food, can either help or harm us.
This unit builds onto skills learned in Units 1 through 4, and it is assumed that students are inquisitive consumers of text, asking and answering questions about the content they are learning as a way to deepen understanding of new material. The core text for this unit, The First Human Body Encyclopedia, was chosen because of its wide range of text features and content. While reading the encyclopedia, students should be challenged to think about how the different text features help them locate information and also how the images and diagrams help them clarify the information they are learning. Students should also be challenged to think about the connection between scientific ideas, using language that refers to cause and effect and sequence, particularly when explaining how different systems function. Finally, the study of a text or section’s main topic will continue to spiral throughout this unit. Students should constantly be stopping and asking themselves, “What was the main topic of this section and how do I know?”
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Book: First Human Body Encyclopedia (DK Children 2005)
Book: Me and My Amazing Body by Joan Sweeney (Dragonfly Books)
Book: The Digestive System by Jennifer Prior (Teacher Created Materials 2012)
Book: Good Enough to Eat: A Kid's Guide to Food and Nutrition by Lizzy Rockwell (HarperCollins 2009)
Article: “Read the Label Youth Outreach Materials” by U.S. Food & Drug Administration
Article: “An Oasis on Wheels” by Kio Herrera (TIME for Kids)
This assessment accompanies this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.
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Suggestions for how to prepare to teach this unit
To learn more about how to prepare a unit, internalize a lesson, and understand the different components of a Fishtank ELA lesson, visit our Preparing to Teach Fishtank ELA Teacher Tool.
The central thematic questions addressed in the unit or across units
Specific skills to focus on when giving feedback on writing assignments
At this point in the year, students have learned how to determine what makes a sentence; correct run-on sentences; expand sentences using “because,” “but,” or “so”; combine simple sentences; and use subordinating conjunctions to introduce dependent clauses at the beginning of a sentence. Practicing sentence expansion activities allow students to anticipate what a reader needs to know and to provide that information, while also checking comprehension. Sentence expansion also helps students develop the ability to summarize and craft more complex sentences.
Though students have used the Single Paragraph Outline during their writing projects throughout the year, this is the first time students will be working on writing paragraphs to summarize what they have learned. Students will begin that work as a whole class, and then will shift to writing paragraphs independently, with a focus on generating topic sentences from given details.
In Unit 3, students generated evidence and brainstormed strong topic sentences that are supported by this evidence. In this unit, students will continue to practice using strong evidence to support an opinion. This time, their opinion will be informed by a new nonfiction text related to the content knowledge they have accumulated during the unit.
The core texts in this unit include many domain-specific words that students will need to decode (e.g., nutrients, digestion, intestine, enzymes, etc.). At this point, students should be fluid in identifying known spelling-sound correspondences in one-syllable and two-syllable words; however, they may struggle to decode longer multisyllabic words. When prepping for a lesson and internalizing the text complexity of a particular text, we suggest identifying multisyllabic words that may be challenging for students. Look at all of the words to see if there are any patterns. Are most of the words closed syllables? Open syllables? R-controlled? If so, include a quick teaching point to focus on strategies students can use to tackle the multisyllabic words in the text. If there are no patterns, pick a few words to model with students and review how to use syllabication to tackle challenging words. During reading, circulate and provide additional teaching and guidance on syllabication.
Like prior units, the main fluency focus of this unit is on reading an informational text with the right expression and intonation to show interpretation of the passage. This includes knowing how to read different text features to highlight the feature's purpose and rereading and self-correcting in order to figure out the meaning of domain-specific, multisyllabic, or tricky words. This unit includes both Read Aloud and shared reading texts; therefore, students will have a chance to hear multiple examples of fluent reading while also having ample time to practice reading fluently on their own.
Literary terms, text-based vocabulary, idioms and word parts to be taught with the text
To see all the vocabulary for Unit 5, view our 2nd Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
Fishtank ELA units related to the content in this unit.
In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.
Explain what they already know about the human body, and brainstorm what they want to know by asking and answering questions in a class discussion.
Identify and explain the different parts of the human body and why each part is important by identifying the main topic of sections of a text.
Explain what makes an encyclopedia unique and how to use an encyclopedia to answer questions about the human body by knowing and using various text features and illustrations to locate key facts and information.
Describe how digestion happens and the role of teeth in the digestive process by describing the connection between a series of scientific ideas or concepts.
Describe what happens once food enters your mouth by describing the connection between a series of scientific ideas or concepts.
Describe what happens after food leaves the stomach by describing the connection between a series of scientific ideas or concepts.
Construct better and more informative sentences by using question words to add more details.
Explain what things can go wrong during digestion and why by describing the connection between a series of scientific ideas or concepts.
Writing – 3 days
Explain and reteach what happens to a piece of food as it travels through the digestive system by writing a well-structured paragraph that describes the connection between a series of scientific ideas or concepts.
Describe what happens in the urinary system by describing the connection between a series of scientific ideas or concepts.
Describe how the bladder works and why by describing the connection between a series of scientific ideas or concepts.
Writing – 2 days
Write a paragraph and create a poster that describes the urinary system by writing a well-structured paragraph that describes the connection between scientific concepts.
Describe carbohydrates, protein, fat, and vitamins and minerals and why they are important for keeping your body healthy by describing the connection between a series of scientific ideas or concepts.
Explain why the author says, “You need a variety of foods to keep your body in peak working condition” by describing the connection between a series of scientific ideas or concepts.
Explain the different parts of a food label and explain if a food is nutritious by analyzing and explaining specific images in a text.
Project – 2 days
Plan a healthy and well-balanced meal by synthesizing everything learned about digestion and nutrition.
Debate and defend unit essential questions by stating a claim and then supporting the claim with evidence from the entire unit.
Writing – 4 days
Design a way to get more nutritious foods to families and write a letter to your mayor to convince them to adopt your idea.
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The content standards covered in this unit
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
— Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.
— Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy).
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
— Use commas in greetings and closings of letters.
— Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 2 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.
— Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using adjectives and adverbs to describe (e.g., When other kids are happy that makes me happy).
— Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
— Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
— Identify the main topic of a multiparagraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
— Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.
— Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.
— Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
— Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.
— Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
— By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 2—3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
— Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
— Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
— Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to clarify comprehension, gather additional information, or deepen understanding of a topic or issue.
— Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
— Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
— Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.
— Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
— With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
— Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
Standards that are practiced daily but are not priority standards of the unit
— Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known prefix is added to a known word (e.g., happy/unhappy, tell/retell).
— Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., describe foods that are spicy or juicy).
— Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
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