Looking Good, Feeling Good: From the Inside Out
sponsoring Institutes
Main Getting Started Teacher's Guide Student Activities About NIH and NIAMS
glossary | map | contact 
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disorders (NIAMS) website National Institutes of Health website


National Institutes of Health
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disorders

Looking Good, Feeling Good: From the Inside Out

Main    Getting Started    Teacher's Guide    Student Activities    About NIH and NIAMS

Glossary    Map    Contact

Teacher's Guide hand using a mouse

Teacher's Guide

Implementing the Module

The seven lessons in this module are designed to be taught in sequence over seven to nine days (as a supplement to the standard curriculum) or as individual lessons that support or enhance your treatment of specific concepts in middle school science. The following pages offer general suggestions about using these materials in the classroom. You will find specific suggestions in the procedures provided for each lesson.

What Are the Goals of the Module?

Looking Good, Feeling Good: From the Inside Out is designed to help students achieve the following major goals associated with scientific literacy:

What Are the Science Concepts and How Are They Connected?

The lessons are organized into a conceptual framework that allows students to move from what they already know about the musculoskeletal and skin systems, some of which may be incorrect, to gaining a more complete and accurate perspective on these body systems. Students are engaged in the topic by considering the characteristics of living systems and how cells contribute to each type of body system (It’s Alive! Or Is It?). Students then explore how the structure of bone relates to its function (What Makes Bones Strong?). The interaction of body systems, as between muscle and bone, is explored in a computer-based activity in Lesson 3 (Anatomy of a Kick). The next three lessons give students an opportunity to investigate how behaviors (such as exercise) and the environment (such as exposure to sunlight) influence body systems (Use It or Lose it, Helping the Body Build Strong Bones, and Shining the Light on Skin). Finally, in Lesson 7, Decisions Today for a Healthy Tomorrow, students reflect on what they have learned about each body system. They develop lifestyle recommendations for maintaining healthy body systems. The table Science Content and Conceptual Flow of the Lessons illustrates the scientific content and conceptual flow of the seven lessons.

How Does the Module Correlate with the National Science Education Standards?

National Science Education Standards (NSES) iconLooking Good, Feeling Good: From the Inside Out supports teachers in their efforts to reform science education in the spirit of the National Research Council’s 1996 National Science Education Standards (NSES). The content is explicitly standards based. Each time a standard is addressed in a lesson, an icon appears in the margin and the applicable standard is identified. The table Content Standards: Grades 5–8 lists the specific content standards that this module addresses.

Science Content and Conceptual Flow of the Lessons
Lesson and Learning Focus* Topics Covered and Major Concepts

1: It’s Alive! Or Is It?

Engage: Students become engaged in the study of the bone, muscle, and skin systems.

Bone, muscle, and skin are living systems.

  • They are composed of one or more cells.
  • They function according to a genetic blueprint.
  • They obtain and use energy.
  • They interact with their environment.

2: What Makes Bones Strong?

Explore/Explain: Students consider the structure-function relationships of the body systems with an emphasis on bone.

The components of bone include cells, minerals, and the protein collagen.

The structure of a bone depends, in part, on minerals and collagen.

The structure of a bone affects its strength.

3: Anatomy of a Kick

Explore/Explain: Students investigate how a series of muscle contractions produce the movements needed to kick a ball.

Muscle and bone interact to produce movement.

  • Muscles attach to bone on both sides of the joint.
  • Muscles produce movement by contracting.
  • Opposing muscles are required to produce movement in opposite directions.

4: Use It or Lose It

Explain/Elaborate: Students deepen their understanding of muscles by considering the impact of resistance training on muscle mass.

Animals can be used as a model system to study muscles.

Muscle mass increases with resistance training.

Muscle mass decreases after resistance training ends.

5: Helping the Body Build Strong Bones

Explain/Elaborate: Students deepen their understanding of bone by considering the effects of diet and exercise on bone-mineral content.

Diet and weight-bearing exercise are major influences on bone health.

Increased bone-mineral content is associated with stronger, healthier bones.

Different sports produce weight loading on different bones, leading to bone-specific changes in bone-mineral density.

6: Shining the Light on Skin

Explain/Elaborate: Students deepen their understanding of skin by using inexpensive UV monitors to determine levels of sun exposure. The effects of sun-blocking products also are investigated.

The intensity of sunlight is influenced by the weather, location, and time at which measurements are made.

Items designed to protect us from sun exposure vary in the amount of protection they provide.

To protect their skin from damage, people should follow the shadow rule and seek shade if their shadows are shorter than their heights.

7: Decisions Today for a Healthy Tomorrow

Evaluate: Students reflect on what they learned during the module and use their knowledge to develop lifestyle recommendations for maintaining healthy body systems.

Bone, muscle, and skin contain living cells.

The structures of bone, muscle, and skin relate to their functions.

Bone, muscle, and skin do not work in isolation but interact with other body systems.

The health of the bone, muscle, and skin systems is influenced by many factors, including behaviors over which we have control.

*See How Does the 5E Instructional Model Promote Active, Collaborative, Inquiry-Based Learning?.

Content Standards: Grades 5–8
NSES Content Standard Correlation to Looking Good, Feeling Good: From the Inside Out
Standard A: As a result of their activities in grades 5–8, all students should develop
Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry  
  • Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data.
Lessons 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  • Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence.
All lessons
  • Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations.
Lessons 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions.
Lessons 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  • Communicate scientific procedures and explanations.
Lessons 2, 6, 7
  • Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry.
Lessons 4, 5, 6
Understandings about scientific inquiry  
  • Different kinds of questions suggest different kinds of scientific investigations. Some investigations involve observing and describing objects, organisms, or events; some involve collecting specimens; some involve experiments; some involve seeking more information; some involve discovery of new objects and phenomena; and some involve making models.
All lessons
  • Mathematics is important in all aspects of scientific inquiry.
Lessons 4, 5, 6
Standard C: As a result of their activities in grades 5–8, all students should develop an understanding of
Structure and function in living systems  
  • Living systems at all levels of organization demonstrate the complementary nature of structure and function. Important levels of organization for structure and function include cells, organs, tissues, organ systems, whole organisms, and ecosystems.
All lessons
  • Specialized cells perform specialized functions in multicellular organisms. Groups of specialized cells cooperate to form a tissue, such as a muscle. Different tissues are in turn grouped together to form larger functional units that serve the organism as a whole.
Lessons 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  • The human organism has systems for digestion, respiration, reproduction, circulation, excretion, movement, control and coordination, and for protection from disease.
All lessons
Reproduction and heredity  
  • Some traits are inherited and others result from interactions with the environment.
Lessons 1, 4, 5, 6
Regulation and behavior  
  • Behavior is one kind of response an organism can make to an internal or environmental stimulus.
Lessons 4, 5, 6
Standard E: As a result of their activities in grades 5–8, all students should develop
Understandings about science and technology  
  • Science and technology are reciprocal. Science helps drive technology. Technology is essential to science, because it provides instruments and techniques that enable observations of objects and phenomena that are otherwise unobservable.
Lessons 1, 2, 3, 6
Standard F: As a result of their activities in grades 5–8, all students should develop an understanding of
Personal health  
  • Regular exercise is important to the maintenance of and improvement of health. The benefits of physical fitness include maintaining healthy weight, having energy and strength for routine activities, good muscle tone, bone strength, strong heart-lung systems, and improved mental health. Personal exercise, especially developing cardiovascular endurance, is the foundation of physical fitness.
Lessons 3, 4, 5, 7
  • The potential for accidents and the existence of hazards impose the need for injury prevention. Safe living involves the development and use of safety precautions and the recognition of risk in personal decisions.
Lessons 4, 5, 6, 7
Standard G: As a result of their activities in grades 5–8, all students should develop an understanding of
Nature of science  
  • Scientists formulate and test their explanations of nature using observation, experiments, and theoretical and mathematical models.
Lessons 4, 5, 6
  • It is part of scientific inquiry to evaluate the results of scientific investigations, experiments, observations, theoretical models, and the explanations proposed by other scientists.
Lesson 6

Teaching Standards

The suggested teaching strategies in all the lessons support teachers as they work to meet the teaching standards outlined in the National Science Education Standards. This module helps teachers of science plan an inquiry-based science program by providing short-term objectives for students. It also includes planning tools such as the Science Content and Conceptual Flow of the Lessons table and the Suggested Timeline table for teaching the module. Teachers can use this module to update their curriculum in response to their students’ interest in this topic. The focus on active, collaborative, and inquiry-based learning in the lessons helps teachers support the development of student understanding and nurture a community of science learners.

The structure of the lessons in this module enables teachers to guide and facilitate learning. All of the activities encourage and support student inquiry, promote discourse among students, and challenge students to accept and share responsibility for their learning. The use of the 5E Instructional Model, combined with active, collaborative learning, allows teachers to respond effectively to the diversity of student backgrounds and learning styles. The module is fully annotated, with suggestions for how teachers can encourage and model the skills of scientific inquiry, as well as foster the curiosity, skepticism, and openness to new ideas and data that characterize the study of science.

Assessment Standards

Teachers can engage in ongoing assessment of their teaching and of student learning using the variety of assessment components embedded within the module’s structure. The assessment tasks are authentic; they are similar to tasks that students will engage in outside the classroom or to practices in which scientists participate. Annotations guide teachers to these opportunities for assessment and provide answers to questions that can help teachers analyze student feedback.

How Does the 5E Instructional Model Promote Active, Collaborative, Inquiry-Based Learning?

Because learning does not occur by way of passive absorption, the lessons in this module promote active learning. Students are involved in more than listening and reading. They are developing skills, analyzing and evaluating evidence, experiencing and discussing, and talking to their peers about their own understanding. Students work collaboratively with others to solve problems and plan investigations. Many students find that they learn better when they work with others in a collaborative environment than when they work alone in a competitive environment. When active, collaborative learning is directed toward scientific inquiry, students succeed in making their own discoveries. They ask questions, observe, analyze, explain, draw conclusions, and ask new questions. These inquiry-based experiences include both those that involve students in direct experimentation and those in which students develop explanations through critical and logical thinking.

The viewpoint that students are active thinkers who construct their own understanding from interactions with phenomena, the environment, and other individuals is based on the theory of constructivism. A constructivist view of learning recognizes that students need time to

This module provides a built-in structure for creating a constructivist classroom: the BSCS 5E Instructional Model. The model sequences the learning experiences so that students have the opportunity to construct their understanding of a concept over time. The model leads students through five phases of learning that are easily described using words that begin with the letter E: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. The following paragraphs illustrate how the five Es are implemented across the lessons in this module.


Students come to learning situations with prior knowledge. This knowledge may or may not be congruent with the concepts presented in this module. The Engage lesson provides the opportunity for teachers to find out what students already know or think they know about the topic and concepts to be covered.

The Engage lesson in this module, Lesson 1: It’s Alive! Or Is It?, is designed to


In the Explore phase of the module, Lesson 2: What Makes Bones Strong?, students investigate which characteristics of bone contribute to its strength. Students model bones of different compositions and analyze data about their strengths. This lesson provides a common set of experiences within which students can begin to construct their understanding. Students


The Explain phase, Lessons 3 through 6, provides opportunities for students to connect their previous experiences and to begin to make conceptual sense of the main ideas of the module. This stage also allows for the introduction of formal language, scientific terms, and content information that might make students’ previous experiences easier to describe and explain. The Explain lessons in this module encourage students to


In the Elaborate phase, Lessons 5 and 6, students apply or extend previously introduced concepts in new situations and relate their previous experiences to new ones. In the Elaborate lessons in this module, students


The Evaluate lesson is the final stage of the Instructional Model, but it only provides a “snapshot” of what the students understand and how far they have come from where they began. In reality, the evaluation of students’ conceptual understanding and ability to use skills begins with the Engage lesson and continues throughout each stage of the instructional model, as described in the following section. Combined with the students’ written work and performance of tasks throughout the module, however, the Evaluate lesson can serve as a summative assessment of what students know and can do.

The Evaluate lesson in this module, Lesson 7: Decisions Today for a Healthy Tomorrow, provides an opportunity for students to

To review the relationship of the 5E Instructional Model to the concepts presented in the module, see the table Science Content and Conceptual Flow of the Lessons.

When a teacher uses the 5E Instructional Model, he or she engages in practices that are very different from those of a traditional teacher. In response, students also learn in ways that are different from those experienced in a traditional classroom. The tables What the Teacher Does and What the Students Do outline these differences.

What the Teacher Does
Stage That is consistent with the 5E Instructional Model That is inconsistent with the 5E Instructional Model
  • Piques students’ curiosity and generates interest
  • Determines students’ current understanding (prior knowledge) of a concept or idea
  • Invites students to express what they think
  • Invites students to raise their own questions
  • Introduces vocabulary
  • Explains concepts
  • Provides definitions and answers
  • Provides closure
  • Discourages students’ ideas and questions
  • Encourages student-to-student interaction
  • Observes and listens to the students as they interact
  • Asks probing questions to help students make sense of their experiences
  • Provides time for students to puzzle through problems
  • Provides answers
  • Proceeds too rapidly for students to make sense of their experiences
  • Provides closure
  • Tells students that they are wrong
  • Gives information and facts that solve the problem
  • Leads students step-by-step to a solution
  • Encourages students to use their common experiences and data from the Engage and Explore lessons to develop explanations
  • Asks questions that help students express understanding and explanations
  • Requests justification (evidence) for students’ explanations
  • Provides time for students to compare their ideas with those of others and perhaps to revise their thinking
  • Introduces terminology and alternative explanations after students express their ideas
  • Neglects to solicit students’ explanations
  • Ignores data and information students gathered from previous lessons
  • Dismisses students’ ideas
  • Accepts explanations that are not supported by evidence
  • Introduces unrelated concepts or skills
  • Focuses students’ attention on conceptual connections between new and former experiences
  • Encourages students to use what they have learned to explain a new event or idea
  • Reinforces students’ use of scientific terms and descriptions previously introduced
  • Asks questions that help students draw reasonable conclusions from evidence and data
  • Neglects to help students connect new and former experiences
  • Provides definitive answers
  • Tells students that they are wrong
  • Leads students step-by-step to a solution
  • Observes and records as students demonstrate their understanding of concept(s) and performance of skills
  • Provides time for students to compare their ideas with those of others and perhaps to revise their thinking
  • Interviews students to assess their developing understanding
  • Encourages students to assess their own progress
  • Tests vocabulary words, terms, and isolated facts
  • Introduces new ideas or concepts
  • Creates ambiguity
  • Promotes open-ended discussion unrelated to the concept or skill

What the Students Do
Stage That is consistent with the 5E Instructional Model That is inconsistent with the 5E Instructional Model
  • Become interested in and curious about the concept or topic
  • Express current understanding of a concept or idea
  • Raise questions such as, What do I already know about this? What do I want to know about this? How could I find out?
  • Ask for the “right” answer
  • Offer the “right” answer
  • Insist on answers or explanations
  • Seek closure
  • “Mess around” with materials and ideas
  • Conduct investigations in which they observe, describe, and record data
  • Try different ways to solve a problem or answer a question
  • Acquire a common set of experiences so they can compare results and ideas
  • Compare their ideas with those of others
  • Let others do the thinking and exploring (passive involvement)
  • Work quietly with little or no interaction with others (only appropriate when exploring ideas or feelings)
  • Stop with one solution
  • Demand or seek closure
  • Explain concepts and ideas in their own words
  • Base their explanations on evidence acquired during previous investigations
  • Record their ideas and current understanding
  • Reflect on and perhaps revise their ideas
  • Express their ideas using appropriate scientific language
  • Compare their ideas with what scientists know and understand
  • Propose explanations from “thin air” with no relationship to previous experiences
  • Bring up irrelevant experiences and examples
  • Accept explanations without justification
  • Ignore or dismiss other plausible explanations
  • Propose explanations without evidence to support their ideas
  • Make conceptual connections between new and former experiences
  • Use what they have learned to explain a new object, event, organism, or idea
  • Use scientific terms and descriptions
  • Draw reasonable conclusions from evidence and data
  • Communicate their understanding to others
  • Ignore previous information or evidence
  • Draw conclusions from “thin air”
  • Use terminology inappropriately and without understanding
  • Demonstrate what they understand about the concepts and how well they can implement a skill
  • Compare their current thinking with that of others and perhaps revise their ideas
  • Assess their own progress by comparing their current understanding with their prior knowledge
  • Ask new questions that take them deeper into a concept or topic area
  • Disregard evidence or previously accepted explanations in drawing conclusions
  • Offer only yes-or-no answers or memorized definitions or explanations as answers
  • Fail to express satisfactory explanations in their own words
  • Introduce new, irrelevant topics

How Does the Module Support Ongoing Assessment?

Because teachers will use this module in a variety of ways and at a variety of points in the curriculum, the most appropriate mechanism for assessing student learning is one that occurs informally at various points within the lessons, rather than just once at the end of the module. Accordingly, integrated within the lessons are specific assessment components. These “embedded” assessment opportunities include one or more of the following strategies:

These strategies allow the teacher to assess a variety of aspects of the learning process, such as students’ prior knowledge and current understanding, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, level of understanding of new information, communication skills, and ability to synthesize ideas and apply understanding to a new situation.

assessment iconAn assessment icon and an annotation that describes the aspect of learning that teachers can assess appear in the margin beside each step in which embedded assessment occurs.

How Can Teachers Promote Safety in the Science Classroom?

Even simple science demonstrations and investigations can be hazardous unless teachers and students know and follow safety precautions. Teachers are responsible for providing students with active instruction concerning their conduct and safety in the classroom. Posting rules in a classroom is not enough; teachers also need to provide adequate supervision and advance warning if there are dangers involved in the science investigation. By maintaining equipment in proper working order, teachers ensure a safe environment for students.

The following are important ways to implement and maintain a safety program:

How Can Controversial Topics Be Handled in the Classroom?

Teachers sometimes feel that the discussion of values is inappropriate in the science classroom or that it detracts from the learning of “real” science. The lessons in this module, however, are based upon the conviction that there is much to be gained by involving students in analyzing issues of science, technology, and society. Society expects all citizens to participate in the democratic process, and our educational system must provide opportunities for students to learn to deal with contentious issues with civility, objectivity, and fairness. Likewise, students need to learn that science intersects with life in many ways.

In this module, students are given a variety of opportunities to discuss, interpret, and evaluate basic science and health issues, some in the light of their values and ethics. As students encounter issues about which they feel strongly, some discussions might become controversial. The degree of controversy will depend on many factors, such as how similar the students are with respect to socioeconomic status, perspectives, value systems, and religious preferences. In addition, the language and attitude of the teacher factor into the flow of ideas and the quality of exchange among the students.

The following guidelines may help teachers facilitate discussions that balance factual information with feelings:

Animals as Research Models

Scientists often use animals in research to learn something about human biology. The animals serve as model systems for the human body. All mammals have a similar physiology, so in many cases, what is true for mice, rats, and goats is also true for humans. For example, in the study described in Lesson 4: Use It or Lose It, researchers removed specific muscles from the animal in order to weigh them and determine their mass. Obviously, this could not be done with humans.

When using animal models, scientists first must choose an animal appropriate to their research. Scientists studying genetics often use fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) because they have a short generation time. However, fruit flies are not a good model to use when investigating aspects of mammalian physiology. In such cases, a mouse or rat is preferred. Researchers can control the environments of the animals in ways that would not be possible with humans. Even the genetics of the animals can be standardized. Using the analogy of identical twins may help students appreciate this. By carefully selecting and breeding mice for many generations, scientists have produced genetically identical strains. All mice from the same strain can be considered identical twins of each other. Male and female mice differ only by those genes involved in determining their sex.

Animal models do have their drawbacks. Some animals are difficult or expensive to maintain. Consequently, many scientists try to develop non-animal models using cell cultures or computer simulations. Unfortunately, such models usually fail to duplicate the complexity of the animal or human body. Medical and scientific research will continue to depend on animal models for the foreseeable future.

Scientists who use animals as research subjects must abide by federal policies. Public Health Service policy dictates specific requirements for animal care and use in research. This policy conforms to the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 (Public Law 99-158) and applies to all research, research training, biological testing, and other activities that involve animals. The principles for using and caring for vertebrate animals in research and testing include the following:

Next: Using the Web Site

Return to Teacher's Guide