5 ideas for teaching parts of the body using apps and mobile devices
Are you teaching the names for parts of the body in English? Or are your students learning about the body? Here are some ideas for teaching about the human body using apps and mobile devices. The ideas are aimed at the young learner EFL/ESL classroom, but could be adapted to other contexts.
1. Label a photo
This is a great activity using the camera on a mobile device and the free app Doodle Buddy. Learners – working in groups perhaps – take a photograph of a classmate’s face or body. Learners can then open the photo in Doodle Buddy (or similar app) and label the image. This could be simple labelling of body parts such as ‘eye’, ‘nose’ and so on; or more complex drawings of internal organs – to illustrate the digestive system for example.
App: Doodle Buddy
You could add an extra fun dimension to this activity by taking a photo using an app like CamWow or Face Effects which will distort the photos.
App: Face Effects
These ideas are based on Karen Bosch’s excellent slideshow – Fostering Creative App-titude Using the iPad
2. Make a Martian
There are some interesting creative apps on the market – with great graphics – and some of these could be used to practise parts of the body, and for listening or speaking practice. Let’s look at one example – Make a Martian. With a tablet and an IWB, you could ask your learners to help you create a monster (‘How many eyes?’ ‘What colour body?’ etc). Or shake to get a random monster and then ask your learners to describe the monster. Or you could describe your monster – without showing it to the children – and ask them to draw the monster as they listen, comparing the results at the end. This activity is a useful way to practise talking about colours and size too.
App: Make a Martian
…Or make a monster
App: Create a Monster HD
…Or make a face
App: Faces I Make
Cost (Lite): £0.69/$0.99
Cost (Premium): £1.99/$2.99
3. Sing a song – Hokey Cokey/Hokey Pokey
Hokey Cokey is a great song for children learning the names of parts of the body (and it will help them to learn left/right too). If you don’t know the song, the Hokey Cokey/Pokey app will help you and your learners get to know it. Children can join in the actions – either in a circle – or at their desks. The app has many extras that could be fun and useful for the classroom – an observer’s quiz; pictures you could download and print; and a gapped version where you and your learners can add the parts of the body they want.
4. Spell parts of the body
Young learners of all ages can practise spelling words for parts of the body with Word Carrot. Learners see an image, hear the word, and then touch the letters to make the word – to get as many carrots as they can for the alien rabbit. Here is a worksheet that you can download to use in or outside the classroom to practise spelling parts of the body.
Parts of the Body Worksheet
App: Word Carrot
5. Learn more about the human body
This app (aimed at young learners) can help children learn the names of various body parts, and lets children explore internal systems of the body, such as the brain and the nervous system. There are also body puzzles (for example, assembling the skeleton or putting organs in the right places), and a ‘colour’ puzzle, in which learners listen to and tap the correct body parts. This would be a useful app for cross-curricular activities.
App: Discover your Body HD
Kim Ashmore, Director & Co-Founder, LearnAhead Ltd
That’s five ideas. Share any others that you have here. We’d love to hear about them.