RIVER OF LIFE
Grades 6 - 8
Pulsing through our veins, blood is a river of life. The
of the circulatory system and the components of blood is an exciting
of biology. For complete comprehension, students have to explore the
and function of blood through a variety of media and hands-on
This lesson continuously changes the stimulus presented from discussion
to video to hands-on to text and analysis. The lesson is intended as an
introduction to blood and the circulatory system.
Plan three to four 45-minutes periods to complete this lesson. The lesson
could easily be expanded to a full week's unit.
Our Human Body From Science Source: "What is
Students will be able to:
- name and identify the main components of blood;
- define the origins, characteristics and roles of these components;
- distinguish between different blood types;
- express an understanding of the importance of circulatory system
- cite reasons why donating blood is a positive action.
- red marker
- chalkboard and chalk
Per student group:
- chronometer or watch that indicates seconds
- white or pink 6" balloon
- red giant balloon (2-3 ft)
- dry cleaning bag or clear large trash bag
- 6 cardboard circles (6" diam.)
- 8 poster board sheets
- black marker
- copy of each handout
- 2 index cards
- mailing label
The day before you begin this lesson, ask students to find
their blood type. Parents usually have this information on medical
at home. You want the complete blood type, one or two letters followed by
a + or - sign.
Just before you begin the lesson, make a red mark on the inside of your
hands, on the palm. Make sure no one sees you do it. Keep your hand
Get the attention of the class, then walk over to your desk and place the
marked handout it, as if you wanted to lean on it. Yell OUCH!" and
very quickly show the red mark. Ask the class to say what just happened.
What is the red stuff called?
Once they have answered blood...reassure them by showing them that you
have a red mark, not real blood.
Ask the students what they know about blood. Accept all answers and post
them on the board.
Distribute the My Heart' worksheet. Ask students to write their blood
in the box provided with a PENCIL.
Begin a discussion about the heart by asking the students what organ
blood around the body. Ask them to put their hand over their heart. Be
they place their hands over the center of their chest just towards the
side. How big is your heart? Ask each student to make a fist. This is the
approximate size of your heart. How many times does your heart beat in a
minute? Let the students guess and then direct them to check their
A pulse can be found by putting the hand flat on the chest over the heart;
by placing two fingers on the side of the neck, just beneath the jaw,
below the ear; or by placing the index and middle finger against the
of the writs on the depression found on the thumb side. (Bit of pressure
must be used to feel the pulse here). Let each student find a pulse and
then begin counting for 20 seconds on your command. Use the worksheet to
compute the math and determine the heartbeats per minutes, etc. To show
variation in heartbeat, ask the students to 3-4 pushups or other
and take their pulse again.
Distribute the Focus for Viewing handout, worksheet #2 and
students time to review the sheet. To give students a specific task to
their attention while viewing, tell them to complete the worksheet as
view the video. (Some of the information requested is not in the video,
but this will keep them alert.)
MUTE the volume on the monitor. CUE the tape to
the end of the opening sequence as the title of this segment comes up:
is Blood?" PLAY and PAUSE when you see a drop of blood
from a pricked finger. Ask the students what they see. Ask them to name
the blood vessels. List arteries, veins and capillaries. To continue the
focus, tell the students to watch for these vessels explained in the next
segment; they should also find some of the answers for the worksheet.
and adjust the volume so that the video is audible. PAUSE when the
video shows a graphic chart of the "Jobs of Blood." Take time
to review the information covered so far and to answer any questions.
PLAY and PAUSE after the man-ion-barrel segment when
degrees" appears on the screen. Ask the students at what temperature
water boils. (100 C or 212 F) Point out that although blood is warm...it
is not hot. Ask the students what they see int he test tube. Point out
there is a liquid and solid part distinguishable in the tube. Direct
attention to the worksheets; this is the part that provides most of the
information hey need to complete the assignment.
PLAY and PAUSE just after the narrator says the lifetime
red cells and repeats: "red cells live 50-100 days." This will
reinforce the information required on the worksheet. PLAY and
on the next Sci-Fax question. Ask students for predictions. PLAY
and PAUSE on the video depicting white cells. Ask the students to
notice and draw the shape of the white cells in the appropriate box on
worksheet. PLAY and PAUSE on the platelets when the
says, "Platelets live 1-2 days." Allow students time to fill in
their worksheets. PLAY and PAUSE on "Jobs of
Chart. Review this aloud. Distribute the MATCH GAME worksheet #3. To
the students' focus, direct their attention to the worksheet and explain
that the next video segment will serve as an introduction to blood types.
PLAY through segment on blood types and Rh factor. STOP
the BLOOD TYPE chart appears. The chart is outdated and incorrect; DO NOT
Refer back to the list on the board for review. Invite students to
and add to the list.
Jobs of Blood Game
In student groups of 2-3, ask students to complete their worksheets. They
should have all the answers complete on worksheet #2 and with enough time
working together, be able to complete worksheet #3.
In large groups of 4-6, ask students to role-play the JOBS OF BLOOD.
the balloons, dry cleaning bag, markers, cardboard platelets and poster
board. For each group, blow up the red balloon until it is 2-3 ft. In
This is a red blood cell. Blow up the small balloon until it is just
... this is the nucleus of the white cell. Draw squiggles on the nucleus
and enclose it in a slightly inflated dry cleaning bag. Seal both ends of
the bag with only 1/3 of its possible volume so that it is able to fold
onto itself easily. Create posters that say:
I'M OK! (And on the reverse, I'M SICK)
COLD (and on the reverse, HOT - need two of these
Take three students and place them side-by-side with their arms over
each other's shoulders (Greek dance-style). Make sure there is no more
a 10-inch space between each student. These students are simulating a
wall, with small holes to allow gasses and white blood cells through; the
red cells cannot go through but can still exchange (like a prison cell).
Place a serious student behind the wall. S/he is a living cell of the
Name the cell LAM for left arm muscle. Give the waste, cold/hot, ok/sick,
ouch! and hungry posters to LAM cell. Place the remaining cards on the
side of the "wall."
The remaining students in the group should assist the demonstration by
the scripts and directing the action. Distribute the scripts. Normally,
this game is played in a pool of plasma, but since forgot our wetsuits,
here we go...
When each group thinks they have a handle on the script, ask them to
for the class.
Train Crash Game
Divide the class into three large groups. Distribute two index cards
and a mailing label to each student, ask them to write their blood type
on each card and on the label. Peel the label off and wear it.
Inform the class that there has been a train crash and all the students
in group A have been wounded. Group B are available blood donors, but
can only give two pints of blood each. Anyone who receives two pints of
blood will definitely live, those who receive only one pint of blood will
probably live, and those who do not receive any blood will die. Group C
will be the medical personnel, they must coordinate the best distribution
of blood resources.
Divide the wounded into groups that will live, probably live and will
Record the results. Return the blood donor cards to their donor and try
again with different assignments to each group. After you have finished
this game, discuss the implications with the class. It is almost always
impossible to ensure the adequate number and type of donors for all to
The game results are usually better when there are more "O's"
in the donor group. To complicate things further, introduce the Rh factor
into the game. Generally, about 15% of the population is Rh-
- Invite a guest from the medical profession to discuss the latest
in their field, talk about their career or answer questions about the use
of donor blood.
- Invite a guest from the Red Cross to discuss the importance of
blood and the safety precautions in place to insure a healthy blood
Attend first aid classes at the Red Cross and get certified in CPR.
- Organize a school blood drive. Invite teachers, administrators and
parents to donate blood. Bake cookies and provide drinks for donors.
publicity in your town for the event.
Develop percentage charts for the Donor Game. Use percentages of actual
blood types in the general population and calculate the chances for
for each blood type. In North American, among Caucasians, the blood types
are distributed 41% A, 10% B, 4% AB and 45% O. Among African-Americans,
the distribution is 26% A, 21% B, 4% AB and 49% O. Native Americans have
only 5% A, 5% B, no AB and 90% O! Th- remains pretty stable at 15% across
Study the cultural associations of blood as represented in art and
through the ages. Create a time line of myth and discovery about human
Read books that have the word "blood" in the ttitle or associated
with the major theme. Create study groups to read a variety of Dracula
and discuss the comparative treatments of this classic dramatic
Find examples of blood and bleeding in the masterpieces of art. Look for
allegorical representation of hearts and blood in motifs and designs.
a bulletin board display on this theme.
Play the MYSTERY WORD GRID provided at the end of this lesson. Once you
have found every word on the list, there will be nine remaining letters
that are not used. Solve the anagram of the remaining letters. Look up
definitions of each word and write a sentence that uses the word
Master Teacher: Francois Cote
Mountain Lake Public Broadcasting/ Plattsburgh, NY
Lesson Plan Database
Thirteen Ed Online