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Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
Making Blood!
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
Community Connections -- Real world actions for students after completion of the lesson


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.

  • Copy of RED GOLD: THE EPIC STORY OF BLOOD video. See for air dates, or to purchase the video.
  • Each student group of three or four would need the following supplies:
    • To represent plasma: water
    • To represent ions: sugar, salt, oil and protein shake mix
    • To represent red blood cells: Red Hots candy (or red jelly beans)
    • To represent white blood cells: mini marshmallows
    • To represent platelets: white rice

Bookmarked sites:

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Introductory Activity:
(1/2 class period)

  • Ask the class what facts they know about human blood, if they know what blood does or what it is made of. List their responses on the board, then tell students that they will be researching what blood is made of, and will construct a model of human blood.

    Learning Activities:

    Activity 1:
    (2 class periods)

  • Cue the video RED GOLD: BLOOD AND WAR to the segment in which blood in a test tube is separated into its various parts. Pause the video when the separated parts appear on the screen. Using a water-based colored marker, have one student draw an outline on the board of the test tube shown on the screen. Have a second student fill in the parts of the blood pictured using different colored markers. At this point, the video monitor can be turned off.

  • Ask the class what portion of the tube is represented by each color. Hand out the Test Tube Organizer and have each student follow the instructions to measure the height of each part and then the height of the whole tube, and convert these fractions to decimal numbers. Note: If the entire tube measures 30 cm and the plasma portion measures 10 cm, then divide 10 cm by 30 cm and multiply the result by 100 to find the percent of the plasma in the blood sample. Divide the height of the other portion and divide it by 30. Multiply the answer by 100 to find the percent of cells in the blood sample.

  • Tell the class that they are going to find out if their percentages are correct. Have the class check their answers using the information found at:
    At the bottom of the page is the word "Next." Clicking this word will bring the students to specific information about plasma. Subsequent pages contain information about red blood cells, white blood cells and blood platelets. Using this site, the students will be able to find that the correct proportions of blood components are:

    (Below are the actual percentages of the various blood components that you can use to check student work.)
    55% plasma
    45% cells

    The plasma is:
    8% fats, proteins, ions, sugars, amino acids and nitrogenous waste

    The cells are:
    99% red blood cells
    1% platelets and white blood cells

  • Tell the class that they will now make 250 grams of "blood." Discuss with the class why weight is the best way to measure out their substances.

    Note: Weight is better than volume, in this case, because the Red Hots, rice and protein shake mix are granular solids with air spaces between the grains. A true volume cannot be found by simply putting the materials in a graduated cylinder.

    Have each group calculate how many grams of each "component" they'll need to make their 250 grams of blood. (See Blood Composition: Ratio of Components Organizer) Pool this information on the board and correct any mistakes. Have each group weigh out the proper amount of each "blood" component, put them all in a glass jar with a cover and shake it up so that some of the components in the mixture dissolve and the mixture turns red.

    Activity 2:
    (2-3 class periods)

  • Cue the video RED GOLD: BLOOD MONEY to the end of the section on Hiroshima. The next section of the video is about William Cohen's efforts to separate blood into its components. Tell the class that they will be viewing a video that names the different parts of blood. Tell tem to note the specific parts, and then to listen for what each part can be used for. Play the video until the narrator says, "All that was needed was a large supply of blood."

  • Tell the class that they're now going to find out what each component of blood does by conducting some Web research. Start with a Web search, then have students fill in any missing information by using the "ask the expert" sites listed below. Begin by teaching students how to conduct a search. Ask the class what key words they would use in their search and list the answers on the board. Discuss with the class which combination of words might yield the best results and why. This will serve as a good review of what they have already learned. Finally, have students input their keywords into kid-friendly search engines such as or

  • After the search is conducted, review the information with the class as a whole and determine what information is still needed. Have student groups write specific questions that will help fill in the missing information, then have each group submit their question to one of the "ask the expert" sites listed below, or find answers using the other Web sites.

    Ask the Expert Sites

    Other Sites

    Culminating Activity/Assessment:
    (3 class period)

    To assess how well the students achieved their objectives, pose the following question:

  • Ask students why the blood they created would not work in a transfusion. Tell the class that there is serious work being done in the scientific community to find an artificial blood that will do what real blood is supposed to do. Based on what they know, have groups of students come up with a list of five obstacles to making "artificial blood." Each group must demonstrate the following:
    • An understanding of the role blood plays in the body.
    • An understanding of the role each blood component plays in the body.
    Have students work in groups and assign each member one of the following roles: leader, Webmaster and writer.

    Students can use either the "ask the expert" sites, or the one listed below to help find the answers.
    • Access Excellence
      A national educational program that provides high school biology and life science teachers access to sources of new scientific information via the World Wide Web. This site can be used to find useful information about the search for a blood alternative.

    Cross-Curricular Extension:

    • Have the class make posters showing the different parts of blood and what role each part plays in the body.
    • Have students write a story from the point of view of one of the blood components.
    Community Connections:

    • Have the students contact the Red Cross to organize a blood drive at their school.
    • Have the class create posters about the importance of donating blood and display these posters in their community.

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students