A thorough lesson plan for teaching students about the human muscular system should cover the types of muscles, as well as major muscles and muscle groups. Beyond a good textbook, online resources are available to help students investigate the muscular system. Kinetic or hands-on activities assist teachers in showing students how muscles work and how they interact with the skeletal system.
KidsHealth.Org's website includes a section on the muscular system that provides basic information in a format designed for middle school students. The site contains basic information, such as descriptions of the three main muscle types, and also includes detailed information about major muscles. An audio option allows students with aural learning styles to listen to the text as well.
Think Quest and Gateway
On the portion of Think Quest's website devoted to the muscular system, students can gain a general overview of muscles and muscle types, and click on their choice of muscle groups and individual muscles. Informative text, along with detailed diagrams, provides thorough coverage of the subject for grades 8-12. Gateway Community College provides another source of information on muscles and muscle groups. Students click on images of the desired muscle group and are directed to detailed tutorials.
Quia, a website where both students and teachers may design their own educational games, contains an online game based on the muscular system called "Hangman." ABC Teach offers teachers a muscular system word search game that they can print out and distribute to students.
Hands-on activities are helpful for kinetic learners, or for teachers who prefer an interactive approach. Celestine Miller Jeffreys of Chicago's Beethoven Academic Center designed a curriculum that requires students to construct bones and muscle groups in teams. This curriculum teaches middle school students about the basic muscle types and their functions, and includes an experiment that demonstrates how the biceps and triceps work in relation to the bones. An activity developed by Lenore Kop of Farrington High School in Honolulu is intended for use at the end of a muscular system unit. In this activity, students construct a jointed figure operated by a string. Kop refers to this figure as "a model of muscle/bone movement."
Faye Gottlieb Cascio of South Lakes High School in Reston, Virginia, has her anatomy students work in teams to create a "travel brochure" on the various systems of the human body. In the section covering the muscular system, Cascio requires her students to include all basic muscle facts, as well as details about the relationship and interaction between muscles, bones and tendons.