Search form

Earthlings Inside and Out: A Space Alien Studies the Human Body

Earthlings Inside and Out is full of alien humor that will entertain young readers as they learn hundreds of amazing facts about the human body! Add to that more than a dozen hands-on activities, and you have a perfect lesson planning resource too. Teachers and students will find Earthlings Inside and Out to be a close encounter of the educational kind!

Earthlings Book Cover Meet Danoid and Pete, the Mork & Mindy of kids' books -- and the stars of Earthlings Inside and Out, a new book from author Valerie Wyatt (The Science Book for Girls) and Kids Can Press!

In the opening pages of Earthlings Inside and Out, Danoid, the pilot of a spacecraft from Planet Memo, zeroes in on an unfamiliar scene. As he hovers high above a crowded beach, all kinds of questions race through his mind. Scanning a sunbather, he wonders, Do these life-forms need to cook in the sun? Observing a boy sucking liquid through a straw, he thinks, Refueling? Seeing a family gathered around a picnic, he asks himself, Several species at a feeding ground? Finally, Danoid's attention focuses on a young boy, and he makes a mental note: Possible subject for further study.

The young boy is Pete, who is about to become the subject of a wonderful close encounter of the fun kind!

Soon, Pete and Danoid strike a deal, one that will benefit each of them. Danoid will be able to report back to his commander on this alien species, humans; and Pete expects he might solve a troubling dilemma -- he might come up with a school science fair project!


Valerie Wyatt proves herself a master of alien lingo right from the get-go. As Danoid looks more closely at Pete, he makes a bunch of snap observations, including these:

  • built-in helmet; seems to come in different styles (we call it hair!)
  • speaker; volume can be turned up or down (mouth!)
  • gas intake; sometimes leaks or explodes (nose!)
  • unknown; possible plug-in port for recharging (belly button!)
  • planet connectors (feet!)

Danoid uses his pop-out eyes to scan the inner goings-on of Pete's body, starting with his arm. Readers explore Pete's skin, his senses, and his brain. Danoid learns about Pete's heart, muscles, and bones. And the alien form scans Pete's digestive system as it works on a handful of french fries! As Danoid explores each body part or system, he files a report to his commander and enters fun facts in his EARTHDATABANK.


At many points in the exploration, Pete thinks of possible "Science Fair Ideas" related to the human body. In the end, one of the experiments might be the perfect solution to his homework dilemma!

  • How fast do fingernails grow? Paint a line of nail polish along the base of one fingernail. After one week, measure how far the line has moved from the base of the fingernail. Measure after two weeks, then three weeks and four weeks. How much does a fingernail grow in a month?

  • How fast do messages travel from the brain? Hold a ruler vertically by the end that has the high numbers on it. Place the other end between someone's thumb and index finger; tell that person to grab the ruler with his or her thumb and index finger when you drop it. Drop the ruler without warning. Where did the other person grab the ruler? The lower the number, the faster the message traveled from the brain to his or her hand. Repeat this activity several times.

  • Do two eyes help you judge distances? Sit at one end of a long table and have someone sit at the other. Position a jar in front of you. Hold a coin in your hand. Ask the other person to direct you ("to the right, now forward ...") until he or she thinks your hand is directly above the jar. Drop the coin. Does it land in the jar? Try this with ten coins. How many land in the jar? Next, ask the other person to cover one eye and do the activity again. How many coins make it into the jar this time? A dozen more "science fair ideas" offer some terrific hands-on activities that will make great additions to any teacher's health or human body unit!

Earthlings Inside and Out: A Space Alien Studies the Human Body is quite a compendium of facts and fun, and a terrific resource for hands-on classroom activities. The new books from Kids Can Press would be a welcome addition to any classroom library or teacher resource center. Quite simply, Earthlings Inside and Out is out of this world!

Earthlings Inside and Out: A Space Alien Studies the Human Body, written by Valerie Wyatt and illustrated by Dusan Petricic, is available in hardcover or paperback in bookstores everywhere. If you are unable to locate a copy, ask your bookseller to order one for you or contact the publisher at Kids Can Press, 85 River Rock Drive, Suite 202, Buffalo, NY 14207.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 1999 Education World

Related Articles from Education World