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By Judith L. Allard


  • Hands-on activity
  • Group/cooperative learning
  • Review/reinforcement
  • Community outreach


  • Life Science
  • Biology
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Special Needs


Notes for the teacher:

  • Contact the library/learning center to inform them of the activity since students will be doing research.
  • Gather reference materials, posters, pamphlets, models appropriate to the systems which will be researched.
  • Gather art materials: paints, poster board, scrap materials, etc.
  • Prepare group folders with materials/directions for each group.
  • Select groups, separating friends, lab partners, etc..

Student requirements:


  1. Produce a fact sheet on your system/topic
  2. Make a 3-D Model representing some aspect of your system or topic
  3. Construct some kind of a "grabber" to attract people to the display during the evening exhibition
  4. Produce a poster on some aspect of your system/topic
  5. Design two questions which can be answered by looking at your display
  6. Set up the showboard and display for the exhibition


  1. Complete all aspects of your elected role in the group as outlined on the job description in the group folder
  2. Assist other members of the team to complete all preparations for the voyage
  3. Attend the evening exhibition
  4. Complete the voyage log sheet questions

Preparation time needed: Whatever time it takes to gather the above materials and prepare the group folders; probably 10 to 20 hours

Class time needed: 4 days plus one evening for the "trip"



To creatively illustrate a trip through the human body functions through the investigation of the different organ systems, students work in teams of 3 to 4 to produce the items listed below that will be used to create the various "ports of call" on our FANTASTIC VOYAGE. The classes are divided into groups and each group will work on a different part of the "trip." The majority of the work will be done in class during the week before the "departure date." Students usually find it necessary to do some individual work at home in order to accomplish all of the tasks assigned to each group. Each group produces a fact sheet, a 3D model and some kind of "grabber" to attract people to their display which they set up for an evening exhibition for their parents and the public. Each group elects individuals to fulfill specified roles on the team, but each member of the team is required to participate in all aspects of the work.

Materials needed:

  • Reference materials
  • Showboards
  • Art materials (paints, paper, scrap material, glue, etc.)
  • Folders with daily assignment sheets, job descriptions, job record sheets and timelines
  • Computer for word-processing the fact sheets

Description of Activity:

Students are divided into groups by the teacher. On the first day of this activity, the groups elect members to fulfill the following roles:

  • Editor- this person is responsible for making sure all required factual information is written down and visible for students to view during the VOYAGE. This does NOT mean that this person must find all the information on his/her own.

  • 3D Model Coordinator - This person organizes the development and production of a 3D model used to illustrate the group's particular assignment. This person will need the materials provided by and help of the other group members to complete this assignment.

  • Special Effects/Artistic Coordinator - It is the responsibility of this person to coordinate the group's efforts to produce "something special" that reflects the group's particular assignment. This portion of the project is usually the MOST creative and is designed to interest and possibly amuse the other voyagers. This person also directs the production of a diagram of the representative system/idea as well as the production of the header card for the showboard.

  • Progress Monitor - This person monitors the group's progress on the daily assignments and is responsible for the group's adherence to the timeline.

Each group member will participate in all areas and will be responsible for the efforts of the other members. Each group member will be responsible for reading the textbook material on the system/topic since the members of the team will be the experts on that system/topic for the actual voyage. Each person completes the Voyage Log Sheet which is a compilation of the questions written by each team.

The following Progress Monitor Worksheet outlines the daily schedule:

Day 1:

  • Assignment sheet completed
  • Name/phone number cards exchanged
  • Positions assigned/elected
  • Information gathering divided up and assigned

Day 2:

  • 3-D Model worksheet completed
  • Diagram/Poster/Header Card worksheet completed
  • Special Effects worksheet completed
  • Voyage Log Question sheet completed
  • Time check completed

Day 3:

  • Model assembled
  • Information display begun
  • Diagram begun
  • Everything completed by tomorrow???

Day 4:

  • 3-D model finishing touches
  • Special effects in school and ready
  • Information display completed
  • Diagram/Poster completed
  • Header card for showboard completed
  • Participants card completed
  • Display set up for the evening "Voyage"

Sample 3-D Model Worksheet

(Sheet to be completed and in the folder at the end of Day 2.)

3-D Coordinator:

This group will create a model of:

Materials List:

Brought in by:

This model will be assembled in class on: (What date?)

Method of Evaluation:

Students receive a group grade based on the completion of the tasks they assign themselves. Individual grades are also determined by the individual's completion of specific tasks as outlined on the various worksheets and by the completion of all of the questions on the Voyage Log Sheet. Since groups are required to select someone in each group for every job, no student in the group can not participate.


This same group work idea can be used to explore a variety of topics, such as genetic disorders, evolution, classification groups, etc.


This activity was adapted from "Evolutionary Trail" presented by Kathy Boerigter and Barbara Cauchon at the NSTA Convention in Boston, MA.

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