Tips for Teachers and Classroom Resources

Elementary Science Lesson Plans on the Muscular System

By The Editorial Team

Lesson plans that focus on the human muscular system and are used by elementary teachers do not have to be boring or focus only on scientific terms and details. Exploring the amazing muscular structures in the body can be fun and engaging for both students and teachers.

To make lesson plans more interesting, teachers can add fun facts and trivia that students want to share with family and friends away from class. The quick facts below provide some inspiration for developing engaging muscular system lesson plans that elementary students will enjoy.

Quick facts

  • Scientists still do not know exactly how many muscles humans have. At least 650 have been identified, but there are indications the human body has at more than 800 muscles.
  • The smallest muscle is in the inner ear. This muscle is 1/20th of an inch long and activates the stirrup that sends vibrations between the inner ear and the eardrum. The scientific name is stapedius.
  • The tongue is comprised of a group of muscles that continually work together—even while sleeping.
  • Not everyone has the same amount or type of facial muscles.
  • Only two-thirds of the population has a special muscle that allows people to create an expression of extreme fear.
  • A small muscle controls the ability to lift an eyebrow.
  • Some muscles twitch fast and some muscle twitch slow.

There are numerous interactive science games online for students to explore the intricate connections in the human body. Incorporating computerized games and manipulative items help tactile learners retain what they have learned.

Another excellent resource for gathering additional information to add to lesson plans is found on the Inner Body website. The website describes the types of muscle structures — visceral, cardiac, and skeletal — and provides details about individual muscle function and location in the body.

Lesson plan examples

Comparing large motor skills and fine motor skills

An excellent muscular system lesson plan elementary students in third through fifth grade will enjoy involves exploring the hand. This lesson plan explores the 43 hand muscles and explains how fine motor skills develop and improve with practice. Students will see the differences in fine motor skills and large motor skills as they bounce a ball and record information about that activity.

Television newscaster: Keeping heart muscles healthy

The heart is a vital organ. A fun activity using muscular system lesson plans that elementary students are sure to love combines learning with role playing. Students can create a short one-minute video that explains how to keep the heart healthy. After instructing students about the function and importance of the heart, this activity gives them a chance to show what they learned while assuming the role of a television celebrity or newscaster.

Getting goosebumps over science

This experiment is designed to show third and fourth graders how tiny muscles react to external stimuli. Although most people associate goose bumps with frigid temperatures, fear, excitement and other sensory stimuli also produce this curious epidermal phenomenon.

This classroom experiment demonstrates how temperature and touch provoke involuntary muscle reactions. After the experiment discuss the differences between involuntary and voluntary muscle functions.

Educators who make science fun for students inspire curiosity that leads to a thirst for more knowledge. With engaging and entertaining muscular system lesson plans, elementary teachers have opportunities to propel an inquisitive mind forward.

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