Friday, July 26, 2013

Straw-Blown Painted Neuron Diagram

My son discovered graphic novels this past year.

I'm not going to lie, I was less than thrilled.

But then his teacher reminded me that whenever kids are excited to read, it's a good thing. As time passed, our public library devoted a whole section to these kind of books and I was excited to see graphic novels with characters from history. I slowly warmed to the idea that graphic novels were good choices for kids.

When I found Molly Kolpin's First Graphics series on the body's systems, I was thrilled. Let's face it, understanding how the body works is confusing. Kolpin's books simplify the science of our anatomy in terms kids can understand and the graphic novel format makes it visually exciting to read.

Thanks to Kolpin and illustrator Chris B. Jones, we took a tour of the nervous system. As we read, I gave my son a worksheet I'd made. (Download a free PDF on Google Drive here.) 

He needed to complete the worksheet by filling in the blanks (the book contained the answers) and then make a diagram of a neuron.

For our diagram, I grabbed watercolor paints, dot sticker, a paint brush, some construction paper, and a plastic drinking straw. He colored a big watery blue dot and using the straw blew air near the excess paint out spraying it out from the edges in every direction. (These are the dendrites.)

Then, he used the brush to draw a line down from the dot (in hindsight, a skinnier brush would have been better) and once again blew through the straw to extend the drops of paint at the bottom of his line, which was the axon. These fine outreaching lines at the bottom were the nerve endings.

He added some small rectangular pieces of construction paper to the axon and a small dot sticker as the neuron's nucleus. He added a smiley face, just like Nelly Neuron in the book we read.

Lastly, he labeled the parts of his diagram.

I plan to check out more of Kolpin's books. We'll combine his worksheets into one book on all of the body's systems when we've gotten through each of them.

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a great book for ME and the kids to learn about the body! I just love your activity of straw blown neuron - inspired!