I "Heart" Science

Posted by Carrie Moy on 5/16/2018 8:00:00 AM

As humans we have important body systems that help us stay alive and healthy. Each system plays an important role, and is made up of several key organs and components. There are tons of tiny little things that happen every single moment of the day that help us survive. Throughout our unit on the human body, we explored several mini moments in our own bodies, and especially the heart and circulatory system, to get an overview of various human body parts and systems and how they work. 


Over the course of the unit, students explored big questions in lab work and dissections and reflected on what they learned. Some highlights included, identifying which part of the body is most sensitive and why and determining a person's reaction time by measuring how long it takes to catch a falling ruler during times of concentration and distraction. Then they discovered under which condition (undistracted or distracted) was the average reaction time shorter and why.


In addition, they worked collaboratively and shared knowledge during our pig heart dissection and left the dissection with an appreciation for the complexity of the organ in an hands-on learning environment. They explored the questions, "What does pulse rate tells you about how the heart works?" Then, they determined their heart rates before and after various activities. They also wondered, "Physically speaking, why is it necessary for your pulse rate to change with each activity?"




Here are some of their reflections about the dissection process:


“I got to put my knowledge into a real-life example. Dissections should continue because it gives you an opportunity to apply your knowledge into an example. It is also helpful because you can compare what the heart looks like in person vs. what a real-life example looks like. It is also really cool to actually dissect because you can see different layers and parts and where they are and how you can get to them plus thicknesses and textures.”


“What I got out of the dissection was really learning about how the heart really works. I have always seen pictures and diagrams about the heart but never in real life. I think it was great that we got to see how something inside of our body works and looks like. It was also very interesting to see how blood and oxygen flows through the body.”

An important part of our Middle School science curriculum is having opportunities to share scientific discoveries with the "outside world" just like professional scientists do. Math, Science and Engineering Night provided the perfect way for our middle school scientists to share their newfound knowledge with friends, family and the rest of the school. Below are some of their presentations.


Students shared how chest only compressions help blood move blood and oxygen through the body to mimic the pumping of the heart and preserve intact brain function and blood circulation for a person who is in cardiac arrest.




Students used their knowledge of how the heart pumps blood throughout the body to read individual’s systolic and diastolic blood pressure.




In addition to learning about the heart and circulatory system, students learned about different fingerprint patterns and the distribution of the types throughout a population (e.g. were there more loops, whirls, arches, etc.). On Math, Science and Engineering Night, students helped people determine their unique fingerprint pattern.