If you have ever read a Superman comic, you will probably understand some of the appeal x-ray vision has for people of all ages. We are intrigued by the idea of looking inside something or someone and seeing what is really going on beyond the mysterious outside barrier.
These x-ray themed activities will give your students a chance at x-ray vision, both imagined and authentic, and it will give them lots to talk about.
X: X-Ray Vision Lesson For Your ESL Classroom
Take a Closer Look
Depending on the age of your students, they may have had little experience with x-rays. Especially for younger classes, x-rays may seem like a frightening thing, and you will want to help them understand the process of taking an x-ray so they can appreciate the science behind the unusual photos. You can get some books about x-rays from your library and make them available for your class to read during free reading time. They won't be as knowledgeable as an x ray technician but good enough for class. You might want to include Bones by Stephen Krensky or the Mysterious Rays of Dr. Rontgen by Beverly Gherman.
Then before starting the other activities in the unit, read these stories aloud to your class. If possible, you can also bring in actual x-ray films for your class to look at. When your students see that they are pictures of the bones inside a person, they may feel less frightened. Viewing x-rays as a class is also a good opportunity to review some body part vocabulary. For more advanced students, especially those at the college level, you may want to teach them some words for the major bones in the body. You can include the skull, ribs, sternum, humerus, pelvis, radius, femur, patella, tibia and fibula. You can find a diagram of these bones on the Internet. If you give your students the new vocabulary words and a bone diagram, see if they can guess which bones belong to which words. After this introduction to x-rays, move on to talking about them.
Tell Me About It
There may be some students in your class who have had x-rays done for various reasons. Encourage those students to share their stories with the class and allow their fellow students to ask questions. Then start a discussion among the class. Asking questions like the following, you can help your students use their imagination and also see the advantages to scientific advancement like the x-ray.
- If you could look inside the body, where would you want to look?
- Why would you want to look there?
- What do you think you would see?
- Have you ever had a medical test that looked inside the body? Tell your group about it.
- How can these tests help doctors help their patients?
- What would you like to know about the human body?
- Why do you want to know that?
- What are some questions you would ask a doctor who could tell you about those places?
This activity would work well with partners or in groups. After the discussion time, you can ask someone from each group to share some of the answers that group discussed. This may be a good opportunity for you to learn about your students and their families. Someone may share some personal information you did not know, and this information might be important especially if someone in the family is having a medical struggle.
Now that your class has some shared knowledge, make a game of this new science by showing your students portions of x-rays. Then challenge your class to name the body part in the x-ray. Since you reviewed the major parts of the body and specific bone vocabulary earlier, this exercise will give your students a chance to use the worlds they recently learned. You may also want to extend this activity by showing pictures of organs in the body (illustrations are preferable to actual photos for younger children) and have your students guess what the body part is. This may provide an opportunity to introduce even more vocabulary to your class.
For a more fun alternative, give your students a laugh by playing the classic game Operation. In this game, students use tweezers to carefully lift out “bones” from the body of a patient. If they hit the edge of the body, a buzzer goes off. The game does not use real names of bones, but uses puns that include body parts. Some of the bones in Operation include the funny bone, the adams apple, the spare rib, and the Charlie horse. You can use this game as a jumping off point to talk about puns that include body parts. See which ones your class already knows and introduce them to a few more. You can also ask for expressions in their native languages that use body parts. If students know, have them share the origins of those expressions.
If you are really looking for something entertaining for your students to change up the normal class routine, provide a screening of Osmosis Jones. This animated movie starts Bill Murray and tells the story of a white blood cell trying to save Murray from a virus. Please note, this movie may not be good for all classes, so your best bet is to preview the film before showing it to your class.
You can take the idea of looking inside the body further with a research assignment for your students. Have groups look up information on the different types of tests that allow doctors to see inside a patient’s body. They should include x-rays, CAT scans, ultrasounds and MRI’s. Have a group of four investigate one of each of the tests. Then take one person from each group and put them together to share the information their group learned. Your students should make a chart that compares and contrasts the different medical tests.
For a final treat, bring someone in from the outside. This unit is a logical place to invite a guest speaker to class. If you can, have a medical technician or doctor come and speak to your class about the advances in medicine and how these tests help patients. You may want your students to take notes on the presentation and then ask prepared questions of your guest. If you really want to challenge your students, give them a true/false quiz on the information your guest speaker presents to test their listening skills.
The human body is an amazing and miraculous creation that science enables us to understand more and more each passing year. Your students are sure to learn more about their own bodies and how medical science is working to keep them healthy and safe through these x-ray themed activities.
You may even inspire one of your students to explore the world of medicine in his or her future.