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Name of Activity:

Interactive Circulatory System

Purpose of Activity:

To learn the pathway that the blood takes, and what happens as it travels throughout the entire circulatory system.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

Tug-of-war rope
6 cones
16 Hula-Hoops
8 each: blue foam noodles, red foam noodles, blue playground balls, red playground balls
Diagram is below

Description of Idea

The description below assumes a class of exactly 24 students. For larger or smaller classes, you don't necessarily need to increase or decrease the amount of equipment needed since your students can share space in the Hula-Hoops and tug-of-war rope. But you will need to vary the red and blue playground ball counts to ensure that there are enough balls so that every student of each group can have one.

Activity Area Set-Up: Place (8) Hula-Hoops (body cells) on line on one side of your area, and (8) Hula-Hoops (lungs) on line on the other side. Form the tug-of-war rope (heart) into a large circle, centered between each line of hoops. Divide the tug-of-war rope circle in half by placing the (6) cones in the middle, to separate the heart chambers. Place all of the (16) foam noodles between the body cell hoops and the tug-of-war rope, alternating blue noodles (veins) with red noodles (arteries). Finally, place the (8) blue playground balls (blue blood deprived of oxygen) inside each of the body cell hoops, and the (8) red playground balls (red, oxygen-rich blood) inside each of the lungs hoops.

Evenly divide your class into (3) groups: the body cells, the heart, and the lungs. Direct each group to go stand in each designated area, so that your students will be occupying space in the Hula-Hoops on either side and within one side of the tug-of-war circle.

Instruct the body cell group to each pick up a blue playground ball and carry it alongside one of the blue foam noodles (veins) and hand their ball to one of the members of the heart group. Tell the heart group members to carry their oxygen-deprived blood balls past the cones division, into the opposite heart chamber, and then directly to the Hula-Hoops lungs group, who will then receive them. Tell the body cell group and the heart group to remain inside the tug-of-war heart chamber and the Hula-Hoops lungs, as they will now be designated the heart group and the lungs group, respectively. Tell the lungs group which received the blue (oxygen-deprived blood) playground balls to swap them for the red (oxygen-rich blood) playground balls, and carry these out of the Hula-Hoops lungs, alongside the red foam noodles (arteries) directly to the body cells Hula-Hoops, where they will then put them inside each of the body cells hoops. They are now designated the body cell group. To continue the activity, tell the body cell group to trade their red playground balls for the blue ones, so the process can begin all over again.

Explain to them that this activity simulates how the oxygen-deprived blood is sucked into one of the heart chambers and sent into another chamber where it is then pumped into the lungs to pick up oxygen that the body needs for energy. It is in the lungs that the blood turns from blue to red. Then the red oxygen-rich blood is sucked into a heart chamber where it is then delivered into another chamber to be pumped into the arteries, which deliver the oxygen-rich blood to every cell in the body.

It is important to perform several rounds of this activity, so that everyone gets to experience each of the jobs involved by the various body parts of the circulatory system.

Teaching Suggestions:

Check to see that each student is going in the right direction at each station throughout the activity.

Submitted by Robert Weekes who teaches at Harvest Preparatory Academy in Yuma, AZ. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 5/25/2018.
Viewed 28246 times since 8/8/2017.

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Interactive Circulatory System

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