Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Valentines Day Science: Your Heart

It is Valentine's Day soon and we like to do fun, science activities for the holidays.  When thinking about Valentine's Day, I think of hearts.  So, our Valentine's science activity is to learn about the heart and how it works.

First, I ask Jelly Bean and Jumping Bean what they know about the heart.  They both say it "beeps."  They really mean beat.  I then ask why it "beeps" and Jumping Bean surprises me and says to move blood.  We discuss how the heart is a muscle that pumps blood throughout the body.  To demonstrate this concept, a bath toy is used.  When the bath toy is squeezed, water squirts out, and when released, it fills with water again.  The heart works the same way taking blood in and out.


To diagram the heart, Jelly Bean and Jumping Bean use colored frosting, graham crackers, and marshmallows.


Once the heart is assembled, we discuss the different parts- the four chambers, arteries, and veins.  The arteries take oxygen rich blood to different parts of the body, and the veins bring the low oxygen blood back to the heart to be sent out to the lungs to get more oxygen.  This process repeats itself.


I kept the information about the heart pretty simple for Jelly Bean and Jumping Bean because of their age, but for the older kids, there is a lot you can learn about the circulatory system.  If you have any fun circulatory activities you have enjoyed, we would love to hear about them!


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Supplies:
  • 4 graham cracker squares
  • 2 marshmallows
  • 6-8 mini marshmallows
  • frosting
  • red and blue food coloring
  • knife
  • paper towel
  • bowl
  • bath toy that squirts water
  • water

Instructions:

  1. Demonstrate how the heart pumps blood throughout the body by squeezing it under water and then releasing.
  2. Assemble the heart.  Spread blue frosting on 2 graham cracker squares and one marshmallow.  Spread red frosting on 2 graham cracker squares, one marshmallow, and all the mini marshmallows.
  3. Place the 4 graham crackers together to form a square.  These represent the 4 chambers of our heart.  The red graham crackers are on the left representing the atrium.  The blue graham crackers are on the right representing the ventricles.
  4. Place the blue marshmallows below the blue graham crackers and the red below the red graham crackers.  These are the veins.
  5. The mini marshmallows are above the red graham crackers representing arteries.
  6. Discuss how blood is pumped throughout the body taking oxygen and nutrients to different organs through the arteries.  Veins bring the blood back to get more oxygen.
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