Monday, April 5, 2010

Homeschool Science - Skin

We're still making our way slowly* through our book about the major organs of the body. Today's subject was skin - not something we normally think of when we consider the primary organs, but in fact, the skin is the largest organ of the body.

After reading about how we are constantly losing dead skin cells, and how our body produces a whole new layer of skin each month, we used the following as an illustration of washing our body to slough off dead skin cells.

Materials needed: sand paper, a bar of soap, and a plastic plate or a piece of colored paper.

Method: Use the sandpaper to scuff the side of the bar of soap while holding it over the plate.

Note the flakes of soap that land on the paper.

Explanation: The soap is the skin on our bodies; the sandpaper acts as a loofah or wash cloth or any other rough surface our skin comes in contact with. Upon rubbing, the soap (skin) is flaked off. But underneath that layer of flaked off soap is more soap - just like there's more skin under the layer that flakes off when we wash.

*Charlotte Mason was a big proponent of slowly and we've adopted her policy after seeing how well it works. Learning small bits at a time, instead of reading whole books or chapters in one sitting, allows the child to really digest the information and consider it before moving on. Many times after reading a small part of a school book, I'll find C playing it out later, or talking about the information with her toys. This is a good example of allowing that material to "settle in" before moving on to more facts. More info on quality over quantity can be found at and


Anonymous said...

Fun stuff :-)

Wendy said...

Great lesson! Yeah, skin is a pretty crazy thing. I mean, you could put a piece of tape on your skin and pull little flakes off (ok, perhaps I need to exfoliate more often). When you were young, did you guys ever do, "hey Julie - your epidermis is showing!"? hardy har har...

Did you ever see Gattaca - the movie with Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman? Futuristic movie - he basically takes someone else's identity. At one point, he's nervous b/c of some sort of inspection, so he carefully dumps the skin flakes from the inside of the computer keyboard, and adds some skin particles from the guy whose identiy he is taking. Interesting.

One more skin example and I'm done (see how engaging and thought-provoking your lessons are?). In this book (for adults) The Gargoyle, the main character suffers horrendous burns after being in a car accident. The author goes into quite graphic detail about the healing process - it's fascinating and puts into perspective that skin really is the largest organ. A serious burn can really be life threatening and cause other organs to fail. OK, I'm done.

Wendy said...

ok, I thought of you the other night as I was pediegging my feet...
You can dump your foot dust when your done. yuck, but fascinating.

Julie said...

LOL Wendy! You're full of fun skin stuff :o) I haven't seen Gattaca, might have to look into it. Thanks for the suggestion!