Students study two important body systems, the digestive and urinary systems, through a variety of informational texts and hands-on projects.
As part of the upgrade to Fishtank Plus, this unit was revised in March 2021. See which texts and materials have changed as part of the revision in this guide to our 2nd Grade text adjustments. If you are looking for the previous version of this unit, you can find it in our archives here.
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)
See Text Selection Rationale
This assessment accompanies this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing 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.
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.
absorb automatically chemical contract digestive energy enzymes encyclopedia excess label nutritious nutrients physical saliva shallow thirst urine villi vomit waste
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.
Me and My Amazing Body
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.
First Human Body pp. 10 – 11
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.
First Human Body pp. 82 – 85
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.
First Human Body pp. 86 – 87
Describe what happens once food enters your mouth by describing the connection between a series of scientific ideas or concepts.
First Human Body pp. 88 – 89
Describe what happens after food leaves the stomach by describing the connection between a series of scientific ideas or concepts.
First Human Body
Construct better and more informative sentences by using question words to add more details.
The Digestive System pp. 22 – 29
Explain what things can go wrong during digestion and why by describing the connection between a series of scientific ideas or concepts.
The Digestive System
First Human Body
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.
First Human Body pp. 90 – 91
Describe what happens in the urinary system by describing the connection between a series of scientific ideas or concepts.
First Human Body pp. 92 – 93
Describe how the bladder works and why by describing the connection between a series of scientific ideas or concepts.
First Human Body
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.
Good Enough to Eat
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.
First Human Body pp. 106 – 107
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.
“Read the Label Youth Outreach Materials”
Explain the different parts of a food label and explain if a food is nutritious by analyzing and explaining specific images in a text.
Grocery store circulars, magazines, pictures of food (for collaging)
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.
“An Oasis on Wheels”
Design a way to get more nutritious foods to families and write a letter to your mayor to convince them to adopt your idea.