Kidneys. They look like beans and produce a liquid waste called urine. At first kidneys seem like a simple case of liquid in, liquid out. But things don’t add up. Previous investigations revealed that not everything that goes in, comes out. What is going on?
Tasked with having to answer this question, student detectives must first learn about the structure of a kidney. They examine models, charts, and pre-dissected specimens as well as microscope slides of kidney tissues in an effort to learn what makes up this strange organ. They must then use the lab activities, as well as the skills of observation, critical thinking and analysis to determine exactly HOW that waste is produced and where, as well as how other substances such as salts, sugars, proteins and water are actually prevented from leaving. Along the way students learn the vital role kidneys play in managing the body’s blood pressure, acid-base balance, production of red blood cells, proper salt (electrolyte) levels, and fluid retention, as well as clearing out toxic wastes, chemicals and drugs. Also covered are some facts about kidney disease. Particular topics explored in this class include:
- Cellular membrane structure
- The dynamics of osmosis and diffusion
- What happens, and where: anatomy of kidneys (using models, dissected kidneys, and microscope slides)
- pH, salt and buffer chemistry
- Dialysis: what happens when things go wrong
- Kidney Disease – Diet, Disease, Pollution, & Toxins
- How does the kidney affect red blood cell production
- Critical thinking, questioning and analysis skills
Family Science Investigations programs offer families an opportunity to participate together in monthly science classes related to Museum research, including topics in ecology, paleontology, geology and biology. These classes are especially useful for homeschoolers looking for additional reinforcement to curriculum goals, or any family group that simply enjoys learning together!
Program Instructor: Deb Bailey and Christy Flint, Coordinators for Micro World investigate Lab.
Registration information: Fill out online, print and mail the Museum’s Registration Form  with payment.
For more information contact Debbie Huston , scheduling coordinator, at 919.707.9840.
All classes are made available through the generosity of a grant from the Biogen Idec Foundation.