Circulatory System

Below are the following activities to help you teach the circulatory system: Items with an asterisk are short and could be easily incorporated into class.
1) A walk through the circulatory system
2) simpler version of the walk through circulatory system*
3) Song about circulation from “Groovin’ in the Hippocampus: Songs to Learn A&P By”*


Need graphics of circulatory system for reference
blue balloons (marked -O2),
red balloons (marked +O2)
You will need more balloons than you have students

The basic idea is to turn the room into a version of the circulatory system that students can walk through.
This will be accomplished by having a few students play the parts of the lungs, and the furthest endpoints of the body for exchange: the head, feet and hands.
Students will carry red balloons for oxygenated blood and blue balloons for de-oxygenated blood which will be exchanged when appropriate for a balloon of the other color.

Exchangers will need extra balloons.
1. Decide which arteries and veins you would like to emphasize for the journey.
2. The class before you do this activity, divide the parts of your chosen pathway amongst students with the assignment to create an 8 X 11 sign for their part(s) of the circulatory pathway, including a simple drawing.  The sign should either be on red or blue paper or written in red or blue magic marker on white paper.  The students will have to determine the location of their part of the pathway as well as whether blood will be oxygenated or not at that point of the circuit. (I suggest having a supply of white paper and blue and red markers in case someone uses the wrong color or doesn’t show up.)  Students should also bring a Sharpie marker to class so that they can blow up a red and blue balloon for themselves and write -O2, and +O2 on the respective balloons.
3. Ask for student volunteers to be the R & L lung, head, L & R feet and L & R hand.
You can include a lesson on cardiac function and morphology if you like by having student volunteers represent the chambers of the heart and having them stop each student and coordinate with other heart chambers to beat and move students one by one to the next chamber or on into the bloodstream if you like. (Explain that the exchange of oxygen takes place at capillaries all along the path but for purposes of this exercise we will follow major arteries to the head, feet, hands and back to the heart.
4. Have students place the signs of the pathway appropriately after you station the head, feet, hands, lungs (and possibly heart).  Obviously a larger space will be required unless you can push chairs aside or have space to walk between rows of desks or chairs.
5. Tell the remaining students that they represent the blood in the circulatory system.
6. Have the students follow you through the classroom circulatory system, exchanging the red balloons for blue balloons and explain what is happening along the way.
Call out the names of the arteries and veins as you travel through them.  Encourage students to say the names of the pathway for themselves as they travel through.
7. Suggest that the person they represent is now running – what will happen to the speed of travel?
8. Switch roles if you have time so that the lungs, feet and hands get a chance to follow the path and someone else can do the exchanging.

This idea was adapted from one endorsed by Bernard Poole, University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown
Retrieved from The Educator’s Reference Desk on 12/2/10

2) SIMPLER VERSION of walk through circulatory system
Hand out cards to students, each card bearing a spot in the trip of blood through the body.
Have students arrange themselves (according to their card) in the appropriate order.
Challenge them as a group to form a shape that also represents the path they are reproducing and encourage moving parts like valves in the heart to add movement or noise.
Then have the class shout out the order of the path while still in formation.
This idea is also described under urinary system for the path of urine production.

3) Song about Circulation from “Groovin’ in the Hippocampus”
“Bloodline, Lifeline”
You are always welcome to play my songs in class and to hand out or project lyric sheets, please do not allow students to download the song – a girl’s gotta eat!

2 thoughts on “Circulatory System”

  1. Hello! I’ve been following your weblog for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the excellent job!

  2. thank you so much i finally found some interesting activities for my students here in the Philippines!please keep on posting that you can help teachers like me wanting oi improve my skills and techniques in making lessons that could arouse the interest of my pupils.God Bless!

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