Recognizing the critical role zooming in on blood and nerves played for us, we agreed to zoom in on skin, muscles, and bones, as these were the inured parts of the boy that launched our "figuring out!"
From here, we've got so many questions!
And we're also trying to figure out our next steps now that we've got all these questions about cells!
Now that we've figured out a bit more about the skin, muscles, and bones, we're seeing something:
1. Skin is connected to muscle pretty securely. It was super hard to remove!
2. Muscles are connected to both the skin (duh, see #1) and the bones.
3. Bones are underneath both the muscle and skin (depending on location).
4. Skin constricts the range of motion of parts of the body. Once it's removed, the muscles can extend farther.
5. Break a bone? Forget about it. The range of motion gets all out of whack. Parts that fluidly moved before hand look wobbly and sloppy. Yikes!
6. There's blood inside the bones. That's weird--we didn't expect that!
So we wanted to know more and decided we should return back to our investigation ideas. Many students wanted to use images like x-rays or other imagine simulators to help us figure out more!
Since we're still in hybrid learning, getting our hands on x-rays was tough, but Mrs. Brinza scored some medical imaging. We looked at both x-rays and MRI images, and discovered the MRIs gave us WAYYYYYYYYY more details, however, we weren't medical experts and couldn't really tell what was what. So we looked at some scientific drawings to see if we could figure out some parts on the MRIs, and we sure could!
With both the MRIs and the scientific images, we saw something that stood out to us. There are blood vessels in not just the bones (remember we saw blood in the busted chicken wing bone), but they're also in our skin, and our muscles. Just what do blood vessels do? What does blood really do? What does it even look like up close?
We had all these questions about blood, so we turned to using a "zoom-in" investigation request, also scientifically known as using a microscope! We saw some pretty incredible things with our virtual microscopes:
But it's not the only important thing, as nerves are found in the skin, muscles, and bones, too! So we looked at nerves under the microscope, too!
So now that we've looked at two parts of the skin, muscles, and bones under a microscope (nerves and blood), what would we see if we looked at the actual skin, muscles, and bones? What would they tell us about the body? How could looking at them up close help with better understanding the healing process? Especially since so many of us have gotten injured and it takes time for things to get better. This process is fairly slow, but how exactly does it happen?
With all our investigation ideas on the table, we agreed that we needed to actually look at real skin, muscle, and bones to help us figure out how they heal. While at the grocery store over the weekend, Mrs. Brinza was thinking about some students' ideas to use real body parts when students were asking for videos or asking a doctor's expertise. The chicken wing idea then came to her...why not use them? Maybe they could help us figure out more about skin, muscle and bones (knowing chicken wings have all these parts). After seeing the dissection, we agreed on the following:
While students were certainly seeing connections between the chicken wing and the boy's foot that started our whole investigation into healing, students unanimously were thinking that the chicken wing needed to be "broken" in order to really know more about the skin, muscles, and bones when they were damaged, as that's what wrong with the boy's foot, too. So we investigated a broken chicken wing and found some similarities and differences to the human foot:
All this discussion got us thinking about how the parts of both the wing and the foot seem to be very much connected, serving a purpose: to help the chicken move around or to help the boy move in whatever ways are necessary for him. And when we think of parts working together to accomplish something, we think of a system.
Looking back at our two years together, sixth graders thought of many systems we've tried to figure out various phenomena with, and boy, we were proud at all these systems we've figured out!
Between water distribution systems, ecosystems, our own public school system, and systems to explain population dynamics, thermal energy and a two-way mirror, we see how systems are at work everywhere. And so when students were asked if our bodies were a system, there was a resounding YES!
All of our healing discussions and questioning have pushed us to document our thinking! Check out all these questions students have regarding healing!
It's one thing to have questions, but we also have to figure out answers to these questions! Check out all the investigations students came up with! There are many great ideas to work with to help us figure out all our questions about healing! Way to go 6th grade!
All this talk of injury got us thinking about our own families, and students were asked to connect with an adult to see what experiences they had with injury. We began sharing out these conversations and documented these related phenomena:
We then began seeing that after some injuries, people don't always return back to their "normal." This got us thinking about what healing really is, and we changed our evolving definition to be:
We also began thinking about how if someone doesn't return to their "normal," they can still function in a similar way, but with an adaptation to help them communicate, move, eat or sense the world around them.
While we have so much we're curious about now, we decided it was time to begin thinking about all our questions that have been surfacing! Next steps, our Driving Question Board!
We launched our last and final unit of 6th grade asking about what everyone loves to do to get their body to move! From dancing to drawing, to soccer, baseball and basketball, we've got some active kids!
We also talked about any injuries we've had that may cause us to not be able to do the activities we love. Some students discussed sprained muscles, broken bones, or twisted body parts, and everyone agreed that over some differing amounts of time, everyone healed and was able to resume what they love to do best!
We then came across a case-study of a kid who's in middle school who sadly dropped a heavy weight on his foot. We recognized through his medical reports from his hospital visit that he had a deep cut, a torn muscle, and fractured bones. He needed immediate surgery and pins were places in his broken bones, and stitches were places in his muscles and skin! While his foot was swollen, it began to go down days after the surgery.
We have so many questions about what's going on, and students were asked to model what was going on!
After sharing our initial models to explain how the foot would heal, we realized there were lots of similarities and differences between them, and when we worked to establish consensus, we realized there was a lot we didn't know!
Mrs. Brinza asked students to connect with someone older than them and ask them about a time when they were injured. Being older, adults have had more "opportunity" to experience injury, and we were looking for a diversity of experiences to share with the class!
We all can connect to injury somehow, whether it's something small like a paper cut or a more serious injury that can be traumatic. Regardless, we can approach how we figure out about healing with sensitivity, understanding and kindness, as some people don't return to their "normal" after the healing process has culminated.