Mind Your Own Body

Series overview

Mind Your Own Body is a series of 12 12-minute videos on human biology for grades 5­8 produced by WQED/Pittsburgh with a National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award and distributed by PBS Elementary and Secondary Services and PBS Video. Faced-paced, humorous music video segments introduce the science of how humans work and life-style choices that take advantage of our biology. Twelve student newsletters and a printed teachers guide provide more detailed readings and hands-on activities to fan the flame sparked by the videos. Though solidly based in science, this resource package will make interdisciplinary connections to health, social studies, home economics, and technology--after all, most school subjects deal at some level with what it means to be human!

Download a student newsletter in Adobe Acrobat format (594 k)
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Programs in brief

Signalling System

1. Mind and Brain

We each have a three pound universe in our heads that's so complex we are only now beginning to understand how it works. And, almost magically, out of that mass of neurons and gray matter comes our personality: our likes, dislikes, talents, desires, and wills. Mind and Brain will explore the space between our ears and reveal what scientists are learning about it.

2. It Makes Senses to Me

Locked in the darkness of our skulls, our brains use senses and the nervous system to "feel" the world and act in it. From nerves that control our body's unconscious functions like heart beat and breathing to hormones that slowly transform our bodies, we will explore the systems that help us "get it together" with the world around us.

3. The Internal Police

Always on the alert, always looking for trouble, your immune system keeps you from getting sick. But how can a disease like AIDS attack our immune system, and, in transplant patients, why does our immune system attack the life-saving transplanted organs? The Internal Police will reveal the tiny life-and-death wars raging in your body at every moment.

Body Shop

4. Skin and Bone

Did you know that bone is ounce-for-ounce stronger than steel? Or that when you look at another person, a large part of what you see is really dead? This video will take a look at the purpose of skin and bones, comparing them to the steel and cladding of a building and to the exoskeleton of insects. Everything from pimples to the bone problems astronauts have in space to artificial skin and bone will be covered in Skin and Bone.

5. Muscles Make Motion

Muscles allow your body to move by doing just two simple things: contracting and relaxing. But how do you coordinate all your muscles to make even simple movements, and what is "muscle tone"? This video examines muscles, our prime movers.

6. What's a Body?

Living things live in bodies made up of different parts working together in harmony. In video and print, we'll compare the human body to that of other living organisms, explore the amazing things we can do with our bodies, and see what makes us different from other animals.

Powering Life

7. You Are What You Eat (Download the student newsletter-594k Acrobat file)

It's amazing, but true: from teeth to small intestine, your body is the ultimate food processor. The food you eat provides the energy and building blocks for your body to maintain itself and grow. This video will explore healthy eating versus not so healthy eating. It will explain the digestive system, addressing how the food we eat is broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream.

8. Go with the Flow

After our body breaks down the food we've eaten, your heart and lungs deliver nutrients to the parts of your body that need it. What effect do smoking and drugs have on the these organs, and how is transplant surgery helping people whose heart and lungs have failed? This video will explore the energy delivery system inside you.

9. Bursting with Energy

The Slow Burn. Lie down on your back and don't move. Even when you're not doing anything, your body is still expending energy just to stay alive. Your heart beats, your lungs breathe, your stomach digests lunch all without your thinking about it. Bursting with Energy shows how you spend the energy you eat.

Growing up

10. Sex and Babies

From a single cell to trillions of cells in just nine months. Through state-of-the-art internal photography, this video will show where we all came from, starting with the sperm and the egg and progressing to the newborn, just introduced to the world.

11. The Master Blueprint

People are so complex that each of us comes with our own blueprint: the chromosomes and DNA stored in our cells. We'll marvel at why we are all so much alike, yet so utterly different. In The Master Blueprint, students will look at their physical characteristics to learn about recessive and dominant traits, and they will discover how the science of genetics is helping scientists find cures for diseases like cancer and cystic fibrosis.

12. Who am I, Anyway?

Growing up is a tough job but everybody's got to do it. This video looks at all of life's stages, focusing mostly on the stage middle-school students are just entering: puberty. A time of confusing feelings and concerns about physical appearance and competence. Who am I? will try to help make this transition a little more understandable, a little less scary.


Contact your local PBS station's Educational Services for information on Mind Your Own Body instructional television broadcast in your area.

Contact PBS Video at 1-800-344-3337 to buy the Mind Your Own Body Teacher's Guide (with student newsletters) or Mind Your Own Body on videotape.


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