As someone who thrives on integrated instruction, I've never really been able to find a satisfactory way to integrate my instruction on Valentine's Day. Then I was contacted by GIANTmicrobes asking me if I would like to use some of their heart themed plushies in my instruction. Wow! What a light bulb moment! What if instead of focusing on love and candy on Valentines Day, I focused on the human heart and it's amazing functions using this cute guy?
First, I plan on introducing the students to the human heart. By showing them the cute GIANTmicrobes version. Then I will tell them that the plush heart is the size of a grown up's heart, but their own heart is the size of their fist. We will then hold up our fists to gauge the size of our hearts. Then we will discuss how the heart pumps blood throughout the body to carry oxygen. We will look at the arteries and veins in our wrists, and use a toothpick stuck to a marshmallow resting on our wrists to watch our heartbeats.
Next I will show the students the GIANTmicrobes representation of platelets, red blood cells, white blood cells, and plasma and we will talk about the jobs each of these play in our blood.
To continue the fun we are going to have a sensory center to help the students cement their understanding of the composition of blood. Using red water beads to represent red blood cells, miniature ping pong balls to represent white blood cells, bits of yellow foam as platelets, water as plasma, and clear plastic tubes as arteries, students will get to experience the components of the circulatory system in a hands-on way!
We are also going to show what we've learned about the composition of blood by making this art project:
The heart shape in this craft represents an artery. The glitter represents red blood cells, yellow glitter represents platelets, glue represents plasma, and the white cotton balls represent white blood cells. You can download the worksheet with this link:
Would you like to integrate more fun into your Valentine's Day? This Valentine Thematic Unit is full of great ideas and I can't wait to use the song "There's A Little Wheel Turnin'" while teaching the heart on Valentines Day. You'll love all of these activities too!