Students are told that they are scientists on another planet and a visiting human is having difficulty breathing. Before they can offer any help, they must learn all they can about the 2 strange items involved: a lung and a heart. They know only a few facts, such as when humans breathe, oxygen goes into the lungs, gets into the blood cells that are pumped there by the heart, and is transported to the rest of the body. They make up a list of things they must determine:
- What are the structures of the lung and heart and how do they work?
- How is oxygen moved into and out of the lungs?
- How is blood moved into and out of the lungs?
- What are red blood cells and how does the lung get oxygen into each of them?
- How do the red blood cells carry the oxygen out to the body and get it into body tissues?
- How does a normal lung compare to a diseased one?
Students will employ the skills of observation, recording and critical thinking to analyze models, charts, and pre-dissected sheep lung and heart specimens, in an attempt to gain some preliminary clues about these organs. Microscope slides of lung and heart tissue will provide clues at the cellular level. Hands-on lab activities will illustrate how some of the structures actually function. The effects of various diseases, smoking, and pollution on lung function are covered and the class concludes with the students offering their thoughts on what might be happening to the patient in distress.
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.