Teaching Systems of the Body: A Hands-on Science Activity

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After completing this science activity about body systems, your students will be able to identify the basic role of each one.


Science textbook section about body systems

Human Body (DK Visual Dictionaries) by DK Publishing (optional)

Butcher paper


Markers or Crayons

Prior Knowledge

Ask students to name things found inside their bodies. Make a list on chart paper or the chalkboard. Ask students if they know what role the body parts listed on the chalkboard play inside of the body.

Teaching the Topic

Read the section from the science textbook or Human Body about body systems. Review that a cell is the smallest unit of living matter. Talk about how every living plant, animal, and human is made up of cells. You can even talk about how bacteria and amoebas are made up of cells. Explain that cells make up tissue. Tell students that tissue is a group of cells working together to complete a specific purpose. A wonderful example of tissue is muscle tissue. Then, teach that two types of tissue working together are organs, like a heart. Explain that organs work together to create organ or body systems, like the skeletal system. Tell students that there are ten major body systems. Review what each body system is and what role it plays in the body.


Divide students into pairs or groups of three. Assign each group a body system. Some choices are the skeletal system, muscular system, circulatory system, nervous system, respiratory system, digestive system, and the excretory system. You can have more than one group doing the same body system if needed.

Give each group a large sheet of butcher paper. Have the group trace one member’s body outline onto the butcher paper. Students will then draw the system they have been assigned into the body outline. For example, if a group has been assigned the muscular system, they will draw the muscular system into their body outline. Allow students to use illustrations found in their textbooks or in other reference materials to help them illustrate their assigned body system. Circulate and help as necessary.

After students have finished drawing and coloring the body system, have students label each organ within the body system. Then, have students write a brief description of the role of each organ within the body system. Also, have them write a brief definition of the organ system’s role within the body.


Have students present their body system to the class. Have them present the role of the body system they were assigned. Have them also talk about the organs within the system.

Give students a basic quiz about the function of each body system.


These drawings make a great hallway display. Hang them outside of your classroom or in various areas of the school.

Have students write about what would happen if the body was missing one system. You could have them write about what would happen without a circulatory system or a digestive system, for example.

Hold a question and answer session. Let students ask questions about body systems for further investigation.

Have students keep an activity journal. Then, have students record what organ systems were used in the activities they completed.

After teaching about systems of the body, your students will have a greater understanding of how their own bodies work.