Art and Body Systems

 2015 – Art and Body Systems (Grade 8)

In this project, grade 8 students created Tumblr pages to showcase their art projects, which are related to body systems. Many of the Tumblrs show the projects at different stages of completion, allowing the reader to appreciate the process by which the final product was achieved. 


Student: Daniel
Medium: Sculpture
Tumblr Link

Daniel explains the creative side: “For my art piece, I am trying to create a way that will help viewers understand how the body moves threw a “web that explain a few simple concepts. The way I see it is, the web has lines connected to different “parts” that are involved in, the centre, movement. I will incorporate different sections/ small sculptures where you can see the different aspects that are involved that help your body move.”

Daniel explains the scientific side: “There are three main parts that allow your body to move. First, we have your bones- along with your joints they give your body a structure, support, and allow your limbs to move and bend. Next, we have the muscles- which extend and contract; and along with the tendons that attach to your bones they make your body move. Finally, the brain- as the control centre, it sends electrical signals to parts of the body threw the nerves placed threw out the body. Besides those three, like a remote, it needs a “battery”, which in this case is the energy/nutrients needed to power the three parts above. But what makes this energy and what transports the nutrients threw out the body? Well, first the nutrients must be digested and broken down threw the mouth and stomach,  then it must be absorbed by the small intestines; then it must be transported, along with the oxygen taken from the lungs, threw the blood vessels, pumped by the heart to all the parts of the body that need it. Finally, the nutrients is then absorbed by the cell and converted to energy by the mitochondria to power itself. WOW!”


“Your Amazing Teeth”

Student: Carmen
Medium: Painting
Tumblr Link

Carmen explains the creative side: I painted a diagram of the inside of a tooth. I decided to sponge on some pastel colours, grey, black, and an extremely dark purple. It’s supposed to stand for the positive and negative traits of teeth. I used skewers to drag the paint out and used toothpicks from home for the thinner vessels and etc.

Carmen explains the scientific side: “Teeth are part of two organ systems, the digestive system and the skeletal system.


 “Brain Collage”

Student: Sarah

Medium: Mixed media collage
Tumblr Link

Sarah explains the creative side:My art is a composition, mixed media, abstract sculpture. I made collages on canvases with modge podge. Once my collages were dry, I melted crayon wax over top of them to represent the different hormones pouring through your body. I also found a super cool not working polaroid i’m going to use to represent the brain and the lens as the eyes.

Sarah explains the scientific side: “The brain is the control center of your body and tells the body what to do and when to do it. It is a very hard worker so I wanted to portray it as the hard worker it is by using bold and strong colour. To be more specific I wanted to show what’s going on in your brain during stressful situations. The blue part of the brain represents the prefrontal cortex; this part of the brain deciphers whether to fight or flight when a bad situation erupts. Once that has been decided hormones are sent out from the frontal cortex which is represented by the colour green. I also wanted to portray the way your brain reacts to happy or good situations. Depending on the situation different hormones get sent through your body to tell the body what to do. For example if you see a dangerous person with a gun running towards you the brain will send hormones like cortisol and epinephrine that help you run away.


“Brain Scan”

Student: Jade
Medium: Poster
Tumblr Link

Jade explains the creative side: For my art, I decided to make a “brain scan” and have a painted brain on a canvas of some sorts that is split into four parts with different mental disorders in each section.


“Chess-game Immune System”

Student: Jeffrey
Medium: Sculpture
Tumblr Link

Jeffrey explains the creative side: This chessboard represents a small portion of battle when a common form of bacteria attacks. The bacteria represent the white side as they commonly make the first move when enough bacteria cells have reproduced. The black side represents the cells, because your immune system can’t actually detect the bacteria until they change their movement patterns.”

Jeffrey explains the scientific side: The king of the immune system is the Dendritic Cell. They are one of the most important cells, because after taking a sample of the invaders, they decide whenever to release an army of anti-virus cells, or bacteria killers. The queen is the Helper T Cell. It activates the B-cells, killer T-cells, and the memory versions of both. They do the most, though they don’t contribute to the war effort directly. They help other cells, producing antibodies to work faster. They also prevent cells from overworking themselves, and activates other cells. Macrophages are the rooks of the immune system, because I’ve always described rooks as large, solid, and tough. Macrophages are huge compared to a normal cell, and they can usually take on about 100 bacteria cells. They are reliable and don’t offer drawbacks. The Neutrophils are the bishops of the immune sysytem. They arrive fast when help is wanted and cause a lot of damage. There is a large drawback as neutrophils commonly damage/ kill your body cells, so they have been designed to suicide after 5 days They are the second cells that come out to fight bacteria.The pawns are Antibodies. Antibodies tag invaders making them easy targets, or neutralize the invader its self. They are extremely small and plentiful, with B-cells making countless copies of them. They can be slightly modified to achieve different effects. The horses of the immune system are the monocytes. Monocytes are very versatile like the horse and travel quickly to sites of infection. They can change into macrophages if needed and can ease inflammation by removing dead cells from sites of infection.”

Cat Skeleton

Student: Cathy
Medium: Painting
Tumblr Link

Cathy explains the creative side: As you can see in my art, I drew two cats. You can see the skeleton on one of them, with the bones clearly displayed. The other one looks normal, with fur and eyes, looking like any other cat you see wondering around in your neighborhood or in a pet store. If you look at the cat skeleton closely, you will realize that the bones are supporting each other. They work together, like a team.”

Cathy explains the scientific side: Bones starts out as cartilage, a flexible, connective tissue. Then it slowly develops into an organized structure and hardens, forming a skeleton. This process is called “ossification.” The skeleton needs many different parts in order to create movement and support for our body. Joints connect the bones together so we can rotate and move our body. The skeleton has two main divisions: the axial skeleton and the appendicular skeleton. The axial skeleton includes the skull, the vertebral column, and the rib cage. The skull forms a structure of our head and protects our brain. The vertebral column is also known as the backbone or spine and supports the upper body’s weight. The rib cage is a framework that protects your lungs, your heart, and other organs. The appendicular skeleton includes the shoulder and pelvis girdle, and the skeleton of the upper limb and the lower limb. The shoulder girdle is basically your shoulder joint, it is a set of bones connecting the upper limb to the axial skeleton. The pelvis girdle is a structure that supports your upper weight. The skeleton of the upper limb allows you to grab and use objects, including the skeleton of your hands and arms. The skeleton of you lower limbs allows you do create movement with your lower body like you feet and legs, so you can do things like walking or sitting down.



2014 – Art and Body Systems (Grade 8)

In this project, grade 8 students created Tumblr pages to showcase their art projects, which are related to body systems. Many of the Tumblrs show the projects at different stages of completion, allowing the reader to appreciate the process by which the final product was achieved.

“Clay Respiratory System”

Student: Andrew
Medium: Clay sculpture
Tumblr Link

Andrew explains the creative side: “Shown on display are the main parts of the respiratory system.  Most of the components are constructed with clay as it is great crafting material. I tried to incorporate lots of detail for a better understanding of how the respiratory system works and acts. As you can see, the two lungs are very different. The one on the left is the healthier half of the respiratory system. This side is functioning well and helps maintain a good flow of oxygen throughout your body. On the contrary, the right respiratory system is very unhealthy as it is suffering lung cancer. To show the cancer taking place, there is light white powder all over the unhealthy lung.  Many parts of it is dead, shriveled up, and not functioning. This makes it partially useless and does not benefit the body.”

Andrew explains the scientific side: “The process of how the body receives and consumes oxygen is actually very simple. First you inhale air, then the oxygen passes through your epiglottis, trachea, bronchus, to your alveoli and then into your main bloodstream. When your first inhale, your diaphragm, the organ that extends across the bottom of your rib cage, flattens. This results in an increase of volume inside your lungs. Then difference in air pressure would do the rest. Since there is not much air inside your lungs, the air outside would want to balance out with the air inside. Therefore, when you inhale, the air of the outside world gets “sucked” through your nose or mouth and into your body. After the air is inhaled, it meets a split path where the air can either go down the trachea or throat. The air inhaled goes down your trachea and splits off into two tubes called the bronchus. The bronchus leads the air into the lungs. When the air finally goes into your lungs, it splits into even smaller tubes called bronchioles. These small tubes then lead the air into small sacs called alveoli. The tiny alveoli make the surface area of your lungs much greater. Therefore, the oxygen inside the thin layered alveoli can diffuse easily into your bloodstream. Finally, the oxygen inside your bloodstream travels around your body, distributing oxygen to cells.” [See Andrew’s Tumblr for more!]

“Brain Thinks”

Student: Jennifer Mejia
Medium: Photography collage
Tumblr Link

Jennifer explains the creative side: “For my art I have shown an image of a brain and the memories stored in it. On each side, there are picture scattered around showing the different types of memories. For example, on the top right corner is a picture of a family celebrating their son’s graduation. This picture is a perfect example of an episodic memory.”

Jennifer explains the scientific side: “Even though I have only shown you the art side of this project, there is still a science side to remembering. When we first get our memories, the brain automatically stores it in the pre-frontal lobe were it keeps our short term memory. The short term memory stores facts or information for a short period of time. The information from short term memory is then transferred through the hippocampus to long term memory. The hippocampus is a part of the cortex in the inner fold of the temporal lobe. Long term memory stores the facts and information also, but for a longer period of time.” [See Jennifer’s Tumblr for more!]


“Painting Fear”

Student: Matthew Kim
Medium: Painting
Tumblr Link

Matthew explains the creative side: “The painting style I chose to do is a “Pop Art” painting. It is a modern art involving multiple copies of a same picture, but with different colours. I did not choose to do different colours; instead I chose to change each picture slightly to match the symptoms of fear. In the top left box I chose to do widened eyes. In the top right box I chose to do trembling hence the saying “trembling in fear.” In the bottom left box I chose to do sweating and in the bottom right box I chose to do flared nostrils.

Matthew explains the scientific side: “Most of these symptoms go together like trembling and sweating, but some in fact do not because they are impossible to do at the same time. For example, trembling in fear and flaring your nostrils. This is because trembling is when you show fear and flaring your nostrils is an aggressive sign. The reason why you do this is because adrenaline is flowing in your blood. Adrenaline (epinephrine) is a hormone that starts to control your breathing, heart rate etc. to get ready for a fight or flight response.  The other force at work is the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems. They are constantly at work, one opposing the other in the human body. The sympathetic system produces a chemical called norepinephrine which starts the fight or flight response.” [See Matthew’s Tumblr for more!]

“Bone Repair”

Student: Matthew Shum
Medium: Drawing
Tumblr Link

Matthew explains the creative side: “I found my inspiration for my project in how the body repairs bone fractures. I chose to make my artwork on bone fractures because I was always curious of how a bone would heal without medical treatment, so I decided I would make my artwork on bone fractures. The artwork inspiration is from Andy Warhol, his work is composed of one image repeatedly drawn in rows. Instead of the same picture repeating itself, I showed the four stages of bone repair. Each box of my artwork represents a stage of bone repair for a spiral fracture. I chose the style of pop art because it is fairly straight forward and people wouldn’t get confused. In my art I chose to show the leg as an x-ray scan so it would justify showing the bone and the injury on the outside.”

Matthew explains the scientific side: “A spiral fracture is a medical condition in which there is a break in a bone. A spiral fracture on your femur occurs when your leg is twisted in an awkward position. For example if you are skiing and you fall and your ski gets caught, you could get a spiral fracture when you twist your leg. A spiral fracture spits your bone into two sharpened ends which could damage your muscles, which would only lengthen the time of healing. Immediately after the fracture, your blood vessels will be severed so your blood will form a clot called a fracture hematoma. The hematoma helps keep the bone fragments from moving and helps the healing process. Swelling and inflammation follow this process because your damaged muscle tissue is being removed. This stage of the healing is featured in the top left corner of the artwork. In the art I drew the part where the hematoma was just formed.” [See Matthew’s Tumblr for more!]


“Depths of the Human Body: Layer Transformation”

Student: Brendan Wong
Medium: Drawing
Tumblr Link

Brendan explains the scientific side: “Many various organs and organ systems build up our body, and they contribute greatly into the functions of our body. The circulatory system pumps the blood to and from the heart and around the body through arteries, veins, and capillaries. Arteries carry oxygenated blood to other parts of the body, while most veins carry deoxygenated blood. Veins also may carry oxygenated blood as well, many usually mistaken this fact. Finally, we have the capillaries which connect the arteries and veins. Their function is to provide oxygen and nutrients to the cells of the body. The muscular system is made up of many different and important parts including skeletal muscles, cardiac muscles, and smooth muscles. The general function is to perform movements, but they can also do other various functions. Finally, I drew the skeletal system because it provides support for our body as well as protection. These components act like a dandelion; once one blows away, the others do too, disjoining the parts, making it incomplete.”

Brendan explains the creative side:
“In my art piece, I am trying to represent how the different body parts help each other function, and they’re all connected in some way. I wanted these key components to stand out and really be the focus or focal point. The three sections of the body mentioned above all intersect in some ways, but they are also parallel in other ways. The zooms in my drawing really give it the detailed factor and sheds some light on specific areas.” [See Brendan’s Tumblr for more!]

Tuesdays post: I have now finished my project. I drew the heart and chest area as well as some of the ribcage. I have bought the frame but I need to put it in over the weekend. Ms. Kirkby is getting the easel and providing the table. I have only Wednesdays and some Fridays available so it may interfere with some after school activities which is fine if it comes down to that. Hope you enjoyed my art project! It took two months but was well worth it. Only a few more tumblr posts to go! Don’t go away.

“Ballet Shoes”

Student: Julia Kwan
Medium: Sculpture
Tumblr Link

Julia explains the creative side: “​For my project, I took a quite literal take on it. I made two replicas of a dancers foot. The first model is what is on the outside. It is a pointe shoe, the only thing people are able to see when a dancer is dancing. It is made of paper and ribbon, painted with a layer of pink paint. Though I did not add the skin portion, the skin keeps dangerous organisms out and keeps all the parts of the foot together. The other model is the bones and muscles. It is what allows the dancer to dance and earn his or her well-deserved praise and applause. The muscle is a first aid wrap that was painted red, similar to muscles people normally see. The bones are made of play-doh, connected by glue and wires and painted pink. The crackles in the paint represent the hardships and pain dancers go through. Though they may be pretty and pink on the outside, they may be pained emotionally or physically due to all the consequences of dancing.”

Julia explains the scientific side: “If you’ve ever seen a ballet performance, what amazed and attracted you the most was probably their costumes or the choreography, but the most amazing thing wasn’t anything on the exterior. The most amazing thing there was what was on the inside. ​What are amazing are the body parts and systems that allowed them to dance. Their talus’ (ankles) are what lift their feet en pointe and are depended on to keep their feet balanced and on the tip of their toes. From there, their feet are expected to be pointed and turned out using the hard working plantar fascia, extensors, posteriors, tibials and anterior tibials (muscles in the feet). Generally, your phalanges and metatarsals support your weight, but the majority of the weight will be on your Hallux (big toe).”

Julia talks about her inspiration for the project: “​What inspired me to base my project on ballet is what I spend many hours of my week doing: dance. Dance had been part of my life for eight years now and over those many years, I have developed a passion for it. When I learned that we were doing a project on “how does the body…” the first thing that popped into my head was “how does the body dance?” I focused my project on how does the body dance en pointe from how does the body dance because dance is such a broad subject. This was a good option for me because I recently stared dancing en pointe after training year after year working to strengthen my ankles to prepare me. Since I recently started this, I feel such a connection when I’m studying this, like I’m learning about me and it is so enlightening learning about the science of what I do. It makes me appreciate my feet and my dancing more.” [See Julia’s Tumblr for more!]

“The Brain and Music”

Student: Chris Fung
Medium: Clay Sculpture
Tumblr Link

Chris explains the creative side: “As you can see, I have created a clay model of the brain. The brain is the most complex organ in the human body. My project is about the brain and how it processes and interprets music. The effects of music on our brains are more complicated than most people think. The brain is divided into many unique parts, and each part is responsible for different things. I want to show that listening to music not only uses a specific area of the brain, but that it also utilizes nearly the entire brain.”

Chris explains the scientific side: “The brown areas represent the parts of the brain that aren’t activated when listening to music. Every other colour is labeled and shows a different section of the brain that is involved in the interpretation of music. The audio cortex deals with the first step of audio analysis, such as the perception of tones. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for pleasure and reward, which explains why many people enjoy listening to music. When remembering the lyrics to a song, the hippocampus is employed, and it handles your memory. In humans, the audio and the motor parts of the brain are closely related. The systems that deal with movement are the motor cortex and the cerebellum, which are involved with actions such as dancing and playing an instrument. Finally, the emotional reactions to music are controlled by the amygdala.” [See Chris’s Tumblr for more!]

I have added the cerebellum and pretty much finished my model. The only thing I have to do now is to cut the brain in half so that I can label the inside of the model. Hopefully cutting the model won’t ruin it in any way, or else I may have to restart the whole thing over again.

“Rube Goldberg Device”

Student: Maya Marino
Medium: Rube Goldberg Device
Tumblr Link

Maya explains the creative side: “In the Rube Goldberg machine I connected the respiratory, circulatory and excretory systems. A Rube Goldberg machine takes a simple task, such as turning on a television, and makes a complicated chain reaction of household objects to complete the job. The Rube Goldberg machine takes a simple task and makes an exaggerated solution for it. This is a symbolic representation of how everything must work together in your body. To connect the respiratory, circulatory and excretory system, my art piece follows different substances through the body. This is represented in many pipes, tubes, marbles, metal ramps switches and other household objects. It may not appear as much but take a closer look and you may start to see some of the systems in your body.”

Maya explains the scientific side: “To start, many big and small marbles drop onto a ramp and goes through a tube.  This represents air entering your mouth.  They then pass the epiglottis, where a switch is turned and the marble enters the lung through the trachea.  In the lungs the marbles go through a series of metal ramps that simulate bronchi. They then drop into another tube afterwards which is the oxygen diffusing into the circulatory system. This now has left the respiratory system. Next, the marble travels through a long tube in the bloodstream until it reaches the liver. It now switches to a smaller tube where only the small marbles can fit it.  Filtering out the bigger marble symbolizes the change of ammonia to urea in your blood stream.  Next the small marbles, traveling trough the blood stream reaches the excretory system. The blood goes through a series of pipes to clean the urea out of the blood. This represents the nephrons in the kidney cleaning the blood.  The waste left over from the kidneys; now know as urine, slides down a metal ramp into the bladder. It stays there until released.  What releases it is known as the urethra.  This is how I interpreted the three systems working together in an art piece.” [See Maya’s Tumblr for more!]


Student: Danita Su
Medium: Drawing/Painting
Tumblr Link

Danita explains the creative side: “In this picture, the older girl, a cancer patient, is trying to cheer up and entertain her younger sister. By reading the expression on her face, anyone would think that she is spirited and lively. Not even a hundred words would be enough to describe the happiness that radiates off her face. Smiling eyes that sparkle in candlelight; rosy cheeks, flushed, from laughter and a hint of embarrassment; a flashy, white, radiant smile, so wide that it goes from ear to ear. She makes it look so easy be happy. Here, on the opposite side of the drawing, is the same girl, the cancer patient. Hunched back, trembling body, face buried in her hands, and tears streaming down her face, she is more depressed than you would’ve ever imagined. Her wrists are slit to distract the everlasting pain that she feels. She is split between two worlds: a heaven, in which she has a loving and caring family and sister, and a hell, pain and warfare, engulfed in chemotherapy and her everlasting fight with cancer.”

Danita explains the scientific side: “In this project, I want to learn about emotions and expressions and how they work, along with body language. The main organ that is involved with emotions is the brain. A certain part of your brain is triggered when you feel an emotion. When you feel the emotion, your brain will send signals to the rest of your body, resulting in smiles, tears, trembling, etc. Different people have different reactions to an emotion, even if it is the same emotion. For example, if you feel fear, the signals you get may have shaking hands and faster heartbeat, while someone else may feel fidgety and sweaty all over.” [See Danita’s Tumblr for more!]

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