Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
Building a Circulation City
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Procedures for teachers is divided into five sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the lesson
Steps -- Conducting the lesson
Extensions -- Additional activities


Media Components

Computer Resources:
  • Modem: 56.6 Kbps or faster.
  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 4.0 or above or Internet Explorer 4.0 or above.
  • Macintosh computer: System 8.1 or above and at least 32 MB of RAM.
  • Personal computer (Pentium II 350 MHz or Celeron 600 MHz) running Windows® 95 or higher and at least 32 MB of RAM.


Students would need the following supplies:

  • Various art supplies such as construction paper, scissors, glue, markers, crayons, yarn, etc. Materials will vary from group to group. Standard art supplies will be necessary but students may provide additional materials as they see fit.

  • Copy of RED GOLD: THE EPIC STORY OF BLOOD video. See for air dates, or to purchase the video.

Bookmarked sites:

  • BBCi's Science: Human Body
    This site is an interactive look at the human body and the systems that are inside.

  • Anatomy of the Human Body
    This site is an online version of GRAY'S ANATOMY. It has detailed drawings of every part of the human body and it may give some students ideas for the various parts of their circulation city.

  • A Look Inside the Human Body
    This site has a detailed description of each system of the body written in simple language. In many cases, the descriptions hint at useful analogies.

  • The Yuckiest Site on the Internet
    This is a really cool site for kids. It explains why the human body behaves like it does. Why do we burp? Why do we pass gas?

spacer spacer

Introductory Activity:
(2-3 class periods)

  • Cue the first episode of RED GOLD: THE EPIC STORY OF BLOOD, EPISODE I FROM MAGIC TO MEDICINE to the scene just prior to a view of the Italian flag. Tell the class that they are going to see how the workings of the human circulatory system were discovered. Tell them to note the names of the three people mentioned and what each person did to help our understanding of this system.

  • Play the video through the entire discussion of Vesalius' and Harvey's work. Ask the class to name the three people mentioned (Galen, Vesalius and Harvey). Ask the class what contribution each person made to our understanding of circulation. Remind them that Galen, while he made mistakes, did tell us that blood supplies our internal organs. Remind them that Harvey's work furthered this understanding.

  • Tell students that they will now have an opportunity to review what they've learned in their past unit on the circulatory system and to show the importance of blood in all of the systems.

  • Divide the class into teams, with one team for each system studied. Have the names of the different systems written on slips of paper and have each team draw one system from a "hat." The review will be in two parts:

    Part One: Have each team, in turn, act out their system. Each panel of "guessers" will be made up of one person from each of the other teams. The role of "guesser" rotates among the team members as each new system is acted out. The team whose "guesser" first identifies the system wins 10 points for that team.

    Part Two: The second part of the review will be a game of Jeopardy. Each team will make up 15 questions about their system. There will be three categories for the questions:

    • What's the Organ?
    • What's the Job?
    • Where's It Located?
    Once all questions are written, the game begins. Each team, in turn, plays Alex Trebek. As in Part One above, one person from each team is a contestant, and stays in that role for one entire system. See Jeopardy Board Organizer for Teacher for the design of the game board. The game ends when each team has had a chance to be Alex Trebek.

    Learning Activities:
    (1 - 2 weeks)

    Students sometimes learn best when they're asked to "think outside the box." An interesting and useful way to have students do this is through the use of analogies. Thinking of analogies challenges students to apply what they know in creative ways. This kind of thinking improves long term retention of information. The activity described below asks the students to think of analogies for the different parts of the human body. It is called Circulation City. Read through the Helpful Hints for Project Organization to get ideas about managing this project.

  • Ask the class what a city is. Ask them what sort of buildings, structures and jobs are needed for a city to work effectively. Suggest to the class that the human body could be considered a city. Ask them how. Ask them what job in a city is like the brain. Tell them that they've just made an analogy. Tell them that an analogy is a similarity between things otherwise unlike. Spend some time with examples. Ask them why a smile is like a fire. (Both can warm you.) Why are skis like a car? (Both can move you somewhere.)

  • Divide the class into teams of three or four. Tell the class that each team will be a group of city planners. Their job is to design their city as though it was the human body. They need to come up with analogies for each body system that is analogous to a part of a city. For example, the roads might be the blood vessels, the kidneys might be a waste treatment plant and the government center might be the brain.

  • Each team will need a leader who leads the team meetings, a draftsperson who draws sketches of the group's ideas, a librarian who checks on the accuracy of information and an author who writes down important information. If there are only three members on a team, then the leader should take on one of the other roles.

  • At the start of each period, gather the class together and have each team report on their progress, tell you what they intend to accomplish during that class period and ask any questions. Keep track of each team's goals and help teams that seem to be having trouble meeting theirs. Give the teams target dates for having various parts of the project completed: a due date for their analogies (2 or 3 days), a due date for their poster design (2 or 3 days), a due date for the written text (3 or 4 days) and a due date for the final project.

  • Tell the class that they'll have three or four days to do additional research into the various systems. Suggest the following web sites:

  • Give each student a copy of Circulation City Project Instructions. This is a description of the project. Read it aloud with the class and explain any confusing parts. Answer any questions.

  • Give each person a copy of Circulatory System Chart. Tell the students that this is their check list so they'll be certain to cover all of the necessary body systems. Tell the students that the structures listed on their organizer are required but there are others that could be added if desired.

    Culminating Activity/Assessment
    (1 class period)

  • Have each of the groups present their circulation city, complete with explanation of all of their project components. Before the presentations proceed, distribute copies of the Circulation City Project Rubric to students and review all the criteria listed. As students present their projects have groups rate the student work using the rubric.


    Cross-Curricular Extension:

    • Students can choreograph a dance to show how blood circulates through the body.
    • Students can write a fairy tale set in the human body.
    • Students can create computer animation to show how the blood circulates through the body.

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students