This multi-day web-based lesson focuses on knowledge of organs and their functions of the human circulatory system and health-related problems of this system. For this lesson, students will learn about organs such as the heart, specific functions of each organ, and explore the pathway of a red blood cell in the human circulatory system to create directions of the journey that blood takes through the body. The final product is written directions of the journey including specific organs and what happens at each stop along the way.
The WebQuest used for this lesson was a pre-made quest found on zunal.com designed to guide students in their exploration of the human circulatory system. Additional resource websites have been incorporated into the lesson for extended student research of this system.
By completing this lesson, students will gain scientific literacy skills through understanding the relationship between organs and their specific functions in the circulatory system. They will also gain an understanding of how this system supports human life and problems that can occur.
21st Century Student Outcomes:
Health Literacy - understand basic health information to make appropriate health-related decisions
Learning and Innovation Skills - think creatively and work creatively with others, communicate and collaborate with others about ideas
ICT Literacy Skills - use digital technology to research, organize, evaluate, and communicate information
Information Literacy - use and manage information from a variety of sources
Life and Career Skills - initiative and self-direction to work independently
Students will be able to describe the pathway of a red blood cell through the human circulatory system, naming specific organs and their functions, and understand problems of the human body related to this system.
Structure of Life L.8.B.4 - Students know cells combine to form tissues that combine to form organs and organ systems that are specialized to perform life functions.
Structure of Life L.12.B.2 - Students know the human body has a specialized anatomy and physiology composed of an hierarchical arrangement of differentiated cells.
- Red & blue balloons or colored strips of paper
- Computer with internet access to Circulatory System WebQuest - http://www.zunal.com/webquest.php?w=182733
- Interactive Human Anatomy Systems page at http://www.innerbody.com/htm/body.html
- The Heart and the Circulatory System page at http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/AEC/CC/heart_anatomy.php
- Circulatory System web worksheet (click here to download PDF file)
5 days (designed for 50-60 minute class periods)
Introduction to the circulatory system - Have everyone hold up a clenched fist. Tell students that the system they are going to explore today has to do with an organ found in the human body that is about the size of your fist. “Can anyone tell me what this organ is?” Have students place two fingers on their neck below the ear. “What is this you are feeling? Why can you feel it in this location?” “What do you think is the leading cause of death in the US? (Heart disease) Today we will be focusing on the heart and its role within one of the organ systems, the circulatory system.”
Go over the parts of the Circulatory System and their functions. Then tell students that we are going to turn the room into a circulatory system like the one in the poster. Ask for student volunteers to be the lungs, capillaries, left heart, and right heart. Instruct them where to stand and explain their jobs. Tell the remaining students that they represent red blood cells in the circulatory system. Have the students follow you through the classroom circulatory system, exchanging the red balloons (oxygen-rich) for blue balloons (oxygen-poor) and explain what is happening along the way. Once everyone is back at the front of the room, have them follow you through again, but faster, and inform them that this represents a faster heartbeat. Collect all materials and have the students return to their seats.
Circulatory system WebQuest - Have students log on to the Circulatory System WebQuest to create a “roadmap” for blood travelling through the circulatory system. Follow the instructions step by step to move through the WebQuest. As part of the WebQuest, have students also visit the Interactive Human Anatomy Systems page at http://www.innerbody.com/htm/body.html to get more information about this system. Another site that has some great information and easy-to-understand explanation of the circulatory system is at http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/AEC/CC/heart_anatomy.php. There is a worksheet that goes along with these 2 websites of the WebQuest (download above under Materials). The idea of this WebQuest is for students to gather information from various sources on the internet in order to create their roadmap.
Writing the roadmap - For the final assessment, they will need to create detailed directions of where red blood cells travel through the circulatory system, naming organs and what is happening at to the blood cells at each stop (gaining oxygen, losing oxygen). Rubric for assessment and final writing assignment is on the Evaluation page of the WebQuest.
Closing story (optional): "Imagine that you are living in the year 1535, and that you don't feel well. You have had some problems with fatigue, feeling a little more tired than usual when you walked to the market and back. You tell this to your physician, and he sends you to another physician down the street, telling you there may be some problem with your circulation. When you get to the new physician, he tells you to take off your shirt and lie down on the bench. After a quick look in your mouth, he says your vital blood is probably O.K. But he's concerned that maybe your nutritive blood is not being made fast enough. Then he starts to feel around on your abdomen. He mentions that your liver is slightly enlarged and suggests that maybe you have not been eating enough green leafy vegetables or protein. Wait a minute! You have come in with problems with your circulation, and this guy is talking about your liver and the type of foods you have been eating! What is going on here? Where did this fellow learn to practice medicine anyway?
Enter William Harvey and his discovery that changed the face of science for today. He conducted research on the mechanics of blood flow through the human body as a court physician for the king of England. When he removed a heart from an animal, it continued to beat in his hand, and through mathematical measurements of the amount of blood flowing through the body, he concluded that the heart acted as a pump and that blood was not consumed by the body but cycled through it. Although he waited years to publish his findings as they were very controversial for the time, today he is considered to have made one of the most significant contributions to the history of modern medicine."
This story is has been adapted from Roger E. Phillips, Jr's "The Heart and the Circulatory System" on Access Excellence Classic Collection's website at http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/AEC/CC/heart_background.php
Adaptations/modifications for students with special needs:
- Students can work in groups of 2 or 3 to complete WebQuest assignment as a group.
- Make sure all students can move around the room safely during Classroom Circulatory System activity. Students with limited mobility will need to play a stationary organ role during this activity.
- Shorten WebQuest final written assignment or have students use drawings/visuals to show what they know.
Click below to download this entire lesson as a PDF file