The Human Body in 30 Seconds by Anna Claybourne

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, your body is where you live – 24 hours a day, every day of your life.

The Human Body in 30 Seconds takes its reader on an extraordinary journey through the awe-inspiring human body.  Wonderfully accessible, this book will inspire both budding and bashful biologists.  Each topic within this book has a speedy explanation to read as well as super-snappy-3-second summaries and 3 minute missions to foster enquiring minds.  Each topic is colourfully presented over a double page, with eye-catching pictures and diagrams that make science sing.

The book covers thirty topics including organs, muscles, teeth, the digestive system, hearing and ageing.  The style of this book allows you to dip in and out as you please, searching for an area of interest, a curriculum topic or something new that you or the children would like to explore…

Did you know an individual blood cell takes about a minute to travel from the heart, around the human body, and back to the heart again?

(Find out more in ‘Blood’)

Or that the gazillions of molecules floating around in the atmosphere are constantly being mixed up and breathed in and out by everyone.  So, you are effectively breathing in the air that the great Ancient Roman leader Julius Caesar breathed out.

(More on this in ‘Breathing’)

For the experimentalists who prefer to learn through doing – have a go at one of the 3-minute missions.  Many of the missions fit into the science curriculum and can be adapted into whole class experiments.

Year 3: The Skeleton

You will need: cooked and cooled, clean dry chicken bone, a jar and white vinegar.

Children learn that strong bones contain a lot of calcium.  To see what would happen without calcium, the bone is put in the vinegar and left to soak for a few days.  The vinegar removes the calcium, making the bones soft and rubbery

Year 4: The Digestive System

Children learn that the digestive system is about 4.5 times longer than they are.  To find out how long their digestive system is, they measure their height and multiply it by 4.5.  They then write down the answer and measure out a piece of string that length.  By stretching the string out on the floor, they can see how far their food travels – a great Maths/Science cross-curricular activity.

There are also many cross-curricular opportunities for Science and Literacy.  Year 5’s studying ageing might read the 30-second explanation on ageing before writing a letter to granny or grandad to advise them on how to stay fit and healthy during the ageing process.

The ‘Smelling’ topic could be used to prompt ideas for writing.  We learn that our sense of smell is closely linked to areas of the brain that deal with emotions and memories – two key features in writing.  Asking children questions about smells that remind them of being tiny or a smell that reminds them of a great holiday, could bring back memories from long ago or create strong feelings that can be put into writing.

This is a fantastic book for curious minds in Key Stage Two. Plenty to read, plenty to see and plenty to do – science has never looked so good!




Imogen Smart

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