Halloween Body Systems Showcase

  • First-Grade Halloween Scene

    Closes Lessons On FIVE Major Body Systems

    For the Cherry Avenue First-grade students in Mrs. Nicole Baryk’s class, HALLOWEEN was the perfect occasion to showcase their new knowledge about the skeletal, muscular, digestive, circulatory, and nervous systems.

    “Our class began the EngageNY Body Systems domain in early October,” Mrs. Baryk explained, referring to the New York State learning tools and resources, available online, that support the common core curriculum. As the Engage NY website states: “the Listening and Learning Strand consists of a series of read-alouds organized by topics (called domains), many of which are informational in nature.” The goals of the Listening and Learning Strand aim at helping students acquire grade-level language competency through listening. Students specifically build a rich vocabulary, and broad knowledge in history and science through carefully selected, sequenced, and coherent read-alouds.

    Through this curriculum resource that introduced “Dr. Wellbody” and her lessons, Mrs. Baryk’s First-grade students learned about five major body systems, what foods makes a healthy plate, such medical heroes like Louis Pasteur, and all 40 points described by EngageNY (see the list below of learning points). “We even had two real doctors (Drs. Carpentieri) come in and help us listen to our heartbeats through their stethoscopes!” Mrs. Baryk added.

    However, inspiration and creativity occurred when the body-system studies moved into their art classes. Working with Mrs. Baryk, Mrs. Robin Laxton designed costumes for the students that transformed brown shopping bags into “anatomy” vests that displayed two healthy lungs, a beautiful heart, and each student’s head was crowned with a brain head-band.  These artistic costumes were completed just in time for Halloween.

    Mrs. Baryk was excited about the success of the lesson. “I set out on this domain (unit) with the sole hope of teaching my students how to learn to listen. Instead, I realized that they are listening to learn! I never expected this unit to be pre-med, but I actually do believe that it sparked an interest and lit a fire for some of our One-sters.  I think the true Core of teaching is not engaging, but rather, empowering—empowering our students with the confidence that they can reach the bar that has been set for them and still have fun doing it!

    In anticipation of Halloween, Mrs. Baryk’s parent volunteers lent a hand; “To culminate all our incredible work, our amazing parents threw a fabulous Body-Systems party with healthy food choices!” Among some of the snacks offered, each student was delighted to add a peeled clementine,  which resembled a mini pumpkin and a banana-ghost to their paper plates of goodies.

    “The students wore their anatomy costumes designed by our art teacher, Mrs. Laxton, and played games that had to do with some gory science fun,” Mrs. Baryk was thrilled to report. “The students had to identify body systems and body parts hidden under boxes.... We touched ‘skin’ (soft tortilla coated in oil), ‘nerves’ (cooked spaghetti), and even ‘stomachs’ (apricots)!”

    And they loved it!


    From the EngageNY Website: Lessons for body system domain


    1. Explain that the human body is a network of systems;
    2. Identify the skeletal, muscular, digestive, circulatory, and nervous systems;
    3. Recall basic facts about the skeletal, muscular, digestive, circulatory, and nervous systems;
    4. Define the heart as a muscle that never stops working;
    5. Explain the importance of exercise and a balanced diet for bodily health;
    6. Identify the brain as the body’s control center;
    7. Explain that germs can cause disease in the body;
    8. Explain the importance of vaccination in preventing disease;
    9. Identify Edward Jenner as the man who developed the first vaccine;
    10. Identify Louis Pasteur as the man who discovered pasteurization;
    11. Explain the importance of exercise, cleanliness, a balanced diet, and rest for bodily health;
    12. Explain the importance of regular checkups;
    13. Explain the importance of vaccination in preventing disease;
    14. Explain that the food pyramid is one way to depict a balanced diet;
    15. Identify the component food groups in a balanced diet;
    16. Ask and answer questions (e.g., who, what, where, when), orally or in writing, requiring literal recall and understanding of the details and/or facts of a nonfiction/informational read-aloud;
    17. Answer questions that require making interpretations, judgments, or giving opinions about what is heard in a nonfiction/informational read-aloud, including answering why questions that require recognizing cause/effect relationship;
    18.  Describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a nonfiction/informational read-aloud;
    19. Ask and answer questions about unknown words and phrases in nonfiction/informational read-alouds and discussions;
    20. Use illustrations and details in a nonfiction/informational read-aloud to describe its key ideas;
    21. Compare and contrast (orally or in writing) similarities and differences within a single nonfiction/informational read-aloud or between two or more nonfiction/informational read-alouds;
    22. Listen to and demonstrate understanding of nonfiction/informational read-alouds of appropriate complexity for grades 1–3;
    23. With assistance, categorize and organize facts and information within a given domain to answer questions;
    24. Generate questions and gather information from multiple sources to answer questions;
    25. Use agreed-upon rules for group discussion (e.g., look at and listen to the speaker, raise hand to speak, take turns, say “excuse me” or “please,” etc.);
    26. Carry on and participate in a conversation over at least six turns, staying on topic, initiating comments or responding to a partner’s comments, with either an adult or another child of the same age;
    27. Ask questions to clarify information about the topic in a fiction or nonfiction/informational read-aloud;
    28. Ask and answer questions (e.g., who, what, where, when), orally or in writing, requiring literal recall and understanding of the details and/or facts of a fiction or nonfiction/informational read-aloud;
    29. Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly;
    30. Add drawings or other visual displays to oral or written descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings;
    31. Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation;
    32. Sort words into categories (e.g., colors, clothing) to gain a sense of the concepts the categories represent;
    33. Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., note places at home that are cozy);
    34. Learn the meaning of common sayings and phrases;
    35. Identify multiple meanings of words and use them in appropriate contexts;
    36. Share writing with others;
    37. Prior to listening to listening to a read-aloud, orally identify what they know and have learned that may be related to the specific story or topic to be read aloud;
    38. Make predictions prior to and during a read-aloud, based on the title, pictures, and/or text heard thus far, and then compare the actual outcomes to predictions;
    39. Evaluate and select read-alouds, books, or poems on the basis of personal choice for rereading; and
    40. Rehearse and perform poems, stories, and plays for an audience using eye contact, appropriate volume, and clear enunciation.