Human Anatomy Activities

Man wanders over the restless sea

The flowing water and sight of the sky

And forgets that of all wonders

Man himself is the most wonderful of all.

St. Augustine


Activities to explore mental and emotional health.

Introductory Activity

Investigation Presentation and Review Activity

Select the human body systems to be studied

System data sheet resources


Introductory Activity

Purpose - To explore what students know about human anatomy.


Divide students into pairs or triads and provide each group with a sheet of craft paper - a couple of feet larger than the largest student in the class, markers, pencils, and pens. If markers are provided, make sure they will not bleed through the paper and leave marks on the surface below.


  1. Put students in groups.
  2. Have them get their markers, pencils, and pens.
  3. Give each group a large sheet of craft paper.
  4. Have them move to an open space where there is a hard surface where the paper can be placed to draw on.
  5. Have one student lay on the paper while the other student(s) traces around the student.
  6. If there are concerns about accidental inappropriate touching, discuss this and set limits as to what areas are appropriate to be traced and other areas that can be completed after the student moves off the paper.
  7. Decide if you want students to just place labels in the general area of the anatomical part or to draw and label parts of the human anatomy. Having students just label the parts can assist students that claim they can't draw and also avoid drawing areas that may be considered inappropriate. Alternatively could limit the parts of the human anatomy for students to focus on or provide students with a list of anatomical parts or systems to include. If there is a need or desire to assess what students know about each system, then you may want to provide students with a packet that has one blank page with a drawing of each system and have them label parts of the system on each page.

Extension - As students begin their study of human anatomy their initial sheet may be used or a new one may be provided to document their learnings. For example students could use two pieces of paper and draw the surface of a body and the inside of the body. Or multiple pages, electronic or paper, could be provide for them to create an anatomy note book.


Investigation Presentation and Review Activity

Purpose - Divide into study groups, select a body system, research the system, create a report and fact sheet for the system, create a review for the system, present each system report to the class, class takes notes of presentation, ask questions to assist each other learning, and complete system review. Repeat for all groups.


  1. Identify which of the following systems will be studied. For example: Say there are 24 students who will participate and they would like to have three in each group. That would require eight groups. So the systems might be grouped as follows:
    1. Skin system
    2. Skeletal system
    3. Muscle system
    4. Nervous system
    5. Circulatory or cardiovascular system, Respiratory system
    6. Digestive system
    7. Excretory system
    8. Endocrine system, Immune system, Lymphatic system
  2. Announce the selected systems to study and ask how groups might be formed. Listen to suggestions. Some possible suggestions on how to form groups. From most student empowering to less empowering.
    1. List the systems to be studied and provide parameters to limit the number of students in a group. Say two or three in a group. Ask the students to form groups.
    2. Announce the systems to the class and ask them to think of which systems they might like to prepare a report. Then ask students to raise their hand when you name a system and if there are three or less hands in the air, assign them to the system. If there are more than three, name another system. Continue naming and assigning systems until all are assigned or a friendly impasse is reached. If that happens, then have the students flip a coin to decide with rock, paper, scissors.
    3. Ask students to write, on a slip of paper, their top three choices of systems. Collect the slips and randomly arrange them. Then go through the slips one at a time and assign each student to their first choice as long as there are three or less students in a group. If there are three students in a group that a student selected first, set that student's slip aside until all the first choices have been assigned to groups as possible. Then go through the slips of students that haven't been assigned and assign according to the students second choice. Again if not possible set it aside until all slips are looked at, then continue with the process for the third choice. If after the third time through there are students who haven't been assigned to a group, then ask students in the order of the slips which of the remaining groups they would like to join.
    4. Write each system on a slip of paper, put them into a hat, have one drawn out by each student so that one student is assigned to each group, then repeat the process two more times, so there are three in each group. If there are more than 24 students repeat until all students have a group.
    5. Select a couple of ways groups might be formed and continue to step three.
  3. Review suggestions on how to create groups, discuss each method, decide on a method or how to decide on a method. If there is not a group consensus, remind them of conflict resolution and ask how to resolve it as a group.
  4. Review the selection process so everyone knows the procedure. If students have not experienced group selection processes before it could take most of a class period to complete. However, it is a good investment of time, because each time students go through the process it generally will reduce the amount of time to complete and make them more tolerant of differences. As student become more familiar with different procedures to form groups and if they want to get started on a project, they will be able to form groups in a few minutes.
  5. Select groups.
  6. Decide on the length of time to create their presentation. Preparation time _____.
  7. Decide on the length of time for the presentation and to complete the review presentation time ______ and review time ______.
  8. The presentation includes an
    • Oral presentation
    • A data sheet that is a paper or electronic source of information to give to the class. The data sheets below are provided for students to edit to make their own data sheets for the presentations.
    • A paper or electronic review to give to the class after their presentation see review data base for source information.
  9. Review the Body System Activity rubric with outcomes & scoring guide that will be used to evaluate them.
  10. Begin



Anatomy word bank and key ideas.

Anatomy word bank and key ideas.

Human anatomy Data sheets with illustration

  1. Skin system
  2. Skeletal system
  3. Muscle system
  4. Nervous system
  5. Circulatory or cardiovascular system
  6. Respiratory system
  7. Digestive system
  8. Excretory system
  9. Endocrine system
  10. Lymphatic system and Immune system
  11. Reproduction system

Body System Activity Rubric with outcomes & scoring guide

Body System Activity rubric with outcomes & scoring guide.


Skin system data sheet Review

Skin (Integumentary) system is the largest external organ of the body and the body in general (liver is the largest internal organ).

Skin protects the body and provides sensual stimulation.

Skin includes: skin, hair, nails, sweat, sebaceous glands, and exocrine glands.


skin diagram

Diagram by Daniel de Souza Telles (File:HumanSkinDiagram.xcf) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Skin Care

Skin system health related issues

Hair care

Nail care


Skeletal system data sheet Review

Skeletal system: Includes 206 bones, which are living tissues and connective tissues: ligaments that attach bone to bone, cartilage that cushion bones and tendons that attach muscle to bone. All bones begin as cartilage in the embryo and harden through a process of ossification (Os in Latin means bone). The tiniest bones are three in the middle ear collectively called the ossicles (malleus, incus, and stapes) and the largest bone is the femur (thigh bone).

The skeletal system

Joints are where bones meet. Some joints are fixed (skull, rib, ...) and some are movable (synovial). Movable (synovial) include: Source

  1. Ball and socket joint (shoulder and hip),
  2. Ellipsoidal (condyloid) joint (back and forth and side to side movement in the metacarpals and phalanges),
  3. Hinge joint (fingers, ankle, elbow, knee),
  4. Saddle joint (thumb),
  5. Gliding joints (carpals in the wrist and tarsals in the ankle),
  6. Pivot joint (C1 & C2 vertebrae where the head moves left and right).

Skeletal system care

Skeletal system health related issues

skeleton front diagram

Adapted from Lady of Hats, Mariana Ruiz Villarreal [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

skeleton diagram

Adapted from LadyofHats, Mariana Ruiz Villarreal [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Muscle system data sheet Review

Muscular system: Muscles enable the body to move, voluntarily (aware: walk, move ... ) and involuntarily (unaware: heart beat, digest food, breathe ... ), offers protection, and body form and shape.

Types of muscles:

Bruises are caused by leaks and breaks of injured blood vessels. The leaks cause the discoloring of skin and can be treated with ice to reduce initial swelling.

Muscle strain and sprain can be caused when muscles stretch or are partially torn with stress. Apply ice to reduce swelling and rest to repair the muscles.

Tendinitis or inflammation of a tendon can be caused by overuse, injury, or aging. Anti-inflammation medicine and ultrasound can reduce pain and swelling.

Hernia is when an organ or tissue protrudes through the muscle area. Caused by strain (maybe lifting heavy objects). Surgery may be required to repair the area.

Muscular dystrophy is when muscle tissue is progressively destroyed. No cure, but can be delayed with physical therapy.

Muscular system care


muscles front diagram

Diagram adapted from Medical gallery of Mikael Häggström 2014 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


muscles back diagram

Diagram adapted from Medical gallery of Mikael Häggström 2014 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Nervous system data sheet Review

Nervous system coordinates all of the bodies activities with the brain, nerves, and spinal cord. The brain receives messages from sources internal and external to it through nerves. Nerves sense changes of touch, electrical signals, hormones, and chemicals. The messages travel through the nervous system where they are processed, mostly in the brain, which sends information to muscles and glands that cause physical actions. Some information may be processed and stored as memory.

The nervous system is classified in the following way:

nervous system outline

The nervous system includes the central nervous system (CNS) which includes the brain and spinal cord.

It also includes the peripheral nervous system (PNS) which includes all the nerves and sensory receptors that extend from the brain and the spinal cord. The CNS receives information from the PNS, interprets it and sends a response back to the PNS.

The peripheral nervous system (PNS) includes the autonomic nervous system that regulates and controls functions of internal organs (heart, lungs, stomach intestine...), and glands. Most of the time people are unaware of the autonomous nervous system as it works involuntary with reflexive actions (move food through the digestive system, regulate the heart beat, dilate blood vessels, pupils of the eyes, breathing rate ...)

Subcategories of the PNS autonomous nervous system are the

  • Sympathetic nervous system mobilizes the body resources as a fight or flight response that includes dilating pupils for better vision, reducing saliva to save energy for emergency use, increase heart rate, dilate blood vessels for greater blood flow, relax the airways for greater air flow, reduce digestion to increase energy use elsewhere, release glucose for energy, secrete epinephrine and norepinephrine for greater awareness, relax the bladder, and increase blood flow to sex organs.
  • Parasympathetic nervous system during periods of rest mobilizes body resources to replenish the body by slowing heart rate, relaxes blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, repairs the body by releasing glucose, stimulates production of saliva and stomach secretions to promote digestion and absorption, constricts pupils to relax observation, slows respiration, constricts the bladder, and promotes sexual arousal. See also stress response and stress management.

The peripheral nervous system (PNS) also includes the Somatic nervous system. It sends signals with information related to vision, sound, smell, taste, touch, temperature, and pressure from the sensory organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, & skin), sensory maps of the body, voluntary muscle signals, emotions, memory and consciousness functions to the CNS which returns command signals to the muscles for voluntary movements through the PNS.

Organs, tissues, and cells of the nervous system

Neurons are cells that process and transmit information as electrical and chemical signals. See neuron growth and pruning video (1:56).

Interneurons receive information from sensory neurons and transmit it to the brain where it is processed. Touching a hot stove causes a sensory neuron to send a signal to the brain where it is transmitted through interneurons. The interneurons process information from the sensory neurons, and send a signal to motor neurons in the hand and the hand pulls back from the stove (involuntary reflex, an automatic and nearly instantaneous movement in response to a stimulus. Automatic muscle response may be first processed in the spinal cord and later in the cerebrum causing a faster reaction time.

The brain can process information itself through interneurons and send a signal to motor neurons. For example, the brain decides it is time to get up or roll over and go back to sleep, signals the body to do so.

Neurons have three main parts

  1. Cell body with a nucleus that regulates the production of protein.
  2. Dendrites that grow from the cell body and receive electrical impulses that can be excitatory (increase action) or inhibitory (decrease action) and transmit them to the cell body.
  3. Axons also grow from the cell body and toward neurons, muscle cells, or glands and transmit impulses to them.

neuron diagram

Adapted from LadyofHats [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Spinal cord is part of the the central nervous system (CNS) that transmits electrical signals. It is made of nerve tissue and is about as thick as an index finger. It is surrounded by spinal fluid, connective tissue (spinal meninges) and vertebrae (bones) that all protect it.

Brain receives, processes, and sends signals. It is surrounded by cranial meninges, cerebrospinal fluid, and the skull (bone). An adult brain weighs about three pounds. It has three main areas from the top to the bottom: cerebrum, cerebellum and brain stem.

The cerebrum is the newest evolved and is the center of conscious thought, learning, and memory. It includes:


brain diagram

Adapted from Henry Vandyke Carter [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The brain stem is the oldest part of the brain. It is about three inches long and is a bundle of nerve cells that connect the brain and the spinal cord. All incoming sensory impulses and motor impulses pass through the brain stem. It includes:

The mind is not the brain, but what the brain knows or does.

Nervous system care

Nervous system health related issues


Circulatory or cardiovascular system data sheet Review

Cardiovascular system: The heart circulates blood 24 hours a day to and from the cells through the arteries and veins. The blood transports gases, nutrients, waste products, white blood cells (leukocytes), hormones, and chemicals as a response to the bodies need.

  1. Transfers oxygen from the lungs and nutrients from food to organs and cells.
  2. Transfers carbon dioxide from cells to the lungs and solid waste products (salt, nitrogen) to the kidneys for removal.
  3. Transports white blood cells (leukocytes), hormones, ...


Heart is an organ made of muscle that pumps blood. It has four chambers and valves. The top chambers are atria. The bottom chambers are ventricles. The wall tissues are called septum. The valves (tricuspid valve, pulmonary valve, mitral valve and aortic valve) are at the entrance and exit of the chambers. The sinoatrial (SA) node (pacemaker) at the top of the atrium sends electrical impulses to the atria causing it to contract and send additional electrical signals through the heart. See video of electrical flow in heart as it relates to pumping action and monitoring with an EKG (2:00). The contractions squeeze the blood from one chamber to another or to the lungs or body.

See video of an explanation of how the heart circulates blood video (3:29).


heart diagram Adapted from [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Blood vessels

Blood vessels stretch 60 000 miles (around the Earth 2 1/2 times. There are three types: arteries, veins, and capillaries.

  1. Arteries are vessels that carry blood away from the heart. They branch into smaller and smaller branches until branching into the smallest branches, capillaries.
  2. Capillaries are the smallest blood vessels that connect the arteries and veins. Capillaries near the skin can dilate to regulate heat flow from the body.
  3. Veins are vessels that return blood to the heart. Many veins have valves to prevent the back flow of blood.

Blood is always red. Oxygen-rich blood is bright red as it leaves the lungs. Some people believe that blood without oxygen is blue. They may have believed this because veins appear blue. However, blood is NOT blue! This myth may continue today as many diagrams use red for arteries and blue for veins and people confuse the term blue blood as meaning an aristocrat, noble, or member of a socially prominent family, as having a literal definition.

Most arteries carry oxygenated blood and most veins carry blood with carbon dioxide. The exceptions are the Pulmonary artery going to the lungs and the Pulmonary vein coming from the lungs. See diagram.

Pulmonary artery transports deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs. It is one of a few arteries (umbilical arteries in the fetus) that transports deoxygenated blood.

Pulmonary veins transport oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium. There are four pulmonary veins, two from each lung.

Vena cavas transport deoxygenated blood into the heart. There are two in humans, the inferior vena cava (transports blood from the lower body) and the superior vena cava (transports blood from the head, arms, and upper body).


arteries diagram

Adapted from LadyofHats, Mariana Ruiz Villarreal [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


veins diagram

Adapted from LadyofHats, Mariana Ruiz Villarreal [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Blood is the red liquid in the arteries and veins of humans and other vertebrate animals. It carries nutrients, oxygen, and other substances to the cells of the body and removes waste materials and carbon dioxide from them.

Plasma is the fluid in which other parts of the blood are suspended. Mainly water with nutrients, proteins, salts, hormones, red and white blood cells (leukocytes). It makes up about 55% of the blood.

Red blood cells have hemoglobin, which is composed of four proteins around an iron molecule. Hemoglobin binds with oxygen and carbon dioxide so they can be transported around the body. Red blood cells make up about 40% of the blood.

hemoglobin diagram

Adapted from Yikrazuul (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Platelets are pieces of cytoplasm that originate from megakaryocytes in the bone marrow and enter the blood. Platelets help wounds heal and stop bleeding by forming blood clots and scabs. Problems can result when a person has too few or too many platelets, or when they do not work properly.

Leukocyte cells (known also as white blood cells) surround and ingest foreign matter and organisms that cause disease. They also produce antibodies that provide continued protection for disease that might recur. Leukocyte cells react to allergic reactions. See also Lymphatic and Immune systems

Neutrophils, Basophils, Eosinophils, Monocytes, Macrophages, and Lymphocytes

Blood types

All humans have one of four types of blood (A, B, AB, & O). Blood types A, B, and AB have different antigens and O has no antigens. If a person has a blood transfusion, he or she must receive blood of the same type, with the same antigen, or type O (universal blo0d type) with no antigen. Blood can also have Rh. If it does it is referred to as Rh positive, If it doesn't, then it is called Rh negative.

Blood pressure

Blood pressure is the measure of force on the blood vessel walls. There are two numbers. The first is the maximum pressure when the heart contracts and pushes blood into the arteries and the second number is when the ventricles are relaxed. These numbers are represented like 120/80. The first number is called systolic (Systole from Greek meaning draw together or contraction.) pressure and measures the maximum pressure when the heart contracts and pushes the blood into the arteries increasing the pressure. The second number called diastolic (Diastole from Greek meaning drawing apart) pressure measures the minimum pressure when the heart relaxes and the pressure decreases. A normal pressure is 120/80 and 140/90 is considered high.

Circulatory or cardiovascular system care

Cardiovascular health related issues


Respiratory system data sheet Review

Respiratory system: Air enters the lungs through the nose, mouth, and the trachea. The lungs remove oxygen from the air to metabolize food and provide energy to move muscles, repair cells, feed brains, calm nerves, and clean the body of toxins. Every day, our body needs to remove about seven hundred billion cells which would be toxic if not removed from our system. Breathing plenty of oxygen provides sufficient energy to eliminate these wastes. The body does not store oxygen like it does food and liquid so it must continually provide cells with oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the oxidation of food, metabolization. The skin and lungs also transfer thermal energy from the body.


Chest muscles contract causing the volume in the lungs to increase so air flows into the nose or mouth where it is filtered with tiny hairs, cilia, to remove dust, bacteria, and viruses; warm it; and moisten it with mucus. It moves on through the the mouth or nose to the pharynx, past the epiglottis (tissue that covers the trachea and larynx when swallowing food or water), then down the trachea (windpipe), which is also lined with cilia and mucus to capture more unwanted particles before the air moves into the lungs.

respiratory system

Adapted from LadyofHats [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Air enters the body because the atmospheric pressure outside the body is greater than the pressure in the lungs when the diaphragm contracts and expands the chest volume, thus causing air to flow into them. When the chest muscles contract the pressure in the lungs is greater than the atmospheric pressure outside the lungs so air flows out. See lung model construction and demonstration video (3:23)

Also located in the throat area is the larynx, which has vocal cords, two bands of tissue, that vibrate when air passes between them. The vibrations are controlled when air is exhalled and passes between the muscle folds which open and close rapidly compressing and decompressing air to make sound waves. The loudest voice recorded was 129 dBA (decibels). A conversation is about 60 dCB, a rock concert about 128 dCB, and a jackhammer about 100 dCB. At puberty both girls and boys vocal cords lengthen and thicken. As males produce more testosterone their vocal cords become longer and thicker than females.

Inside the lungs oxygen travels through smaller and smaller tubes, bronchi, until it reaches the tiniest air sacs, alveoli. In the alveoli blood is transported through the capillaries and the oxygen from the air attaches to the hemoglobin in the red blood cells.

The oxygenated blood travels from the capillaries, in the lungs, through larger and larger blood vessels to the left side of the heart and then is pumped throughout the body. A network of progressively smaller arteries deliver the oxygenated blood to capillaries and then to the cells, where the oxygen can be used by cells to metabolize food (glucose, fatty acids, proteins) in the mitochondria and provide energy (ATP, NADH ) that powers the cells. In the process carbon dioxide is released. Through another labyrinth of blood vessels, veins, the hemoglobin returns carbon dioxide to the heart and into the lungs where it is released when the body exhales.

Respiratory system care

Respiratory health related issues


Digestive system data sheet Review

Digestive system includes the mechanical and chemical processes that break down food, into molecules, so it can be absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood stream and distributed to the cells. Major components are the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines.

The process starts in the mouth where the teeth rip, tear, and mash food into smaller pieces (mastication) and mix it with the first digestive secretion, saliva. Saliva is produced in the salivary glands and is an enzyme that chemically changes starches and sugars into smaller particles.

The tongue helps the chewing process and forms the food so it can be swallowed. The uvula is tissue at the top back of the mouth that keeps food from entering the nasal cavity. Further down the throat the epiglottis prevents food from entering the respiratory system.

Food is swallowed into the esophagus that connects to the stomach and is moved by the surrounding muscles, peristalsis. Peristalsis moves food through the entire digestive tract. Food passes through the esophageal sphincter muscle at the entrance of the stomach.

The stomach is surrounded by muscle that expand as the stomach fills. Inside the stomach food is mixed with gastric juices (hydrochloric acid and pepsin, an enzyme that digests protein) secreted from the stomach walls. Hydrochloric acid also kills some bacteria. Mucus is also secreted by the stomach walls and some what protects the stomach wall from gastric juices digesting it. Food is held in the stomach and digested into a fluid, chyme, a mixture of food and digestive juices. Some nutrients are absorbed in the stomach and into the bloodstream (alcohol). Peristalsis moves it past the pyloric sphincter muscle at the bottom of the stomach and into the duodenum, the beginning of the small intestine.

Digestive system diagram

Adapted from Mariana Ruiz Ladyships [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The small intestine is a little over 20 feet long and one inch in diameter. It is where 90% of nutrients are absorbed into the blood stream. It has three areas: duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. Chyme enters the duodenum where it is mixed with more digestive juices. Pancreatic juices secreted are: proteases (trypsin and chymotrypsin) that digests proteins, amylase that digests sugars (carbohydrates), and lipase that digests fat. They exit the pancreas, travel through the bile duct, and enter the duodenum area of the small intestine. The intestine walls make and excrete digestive enzymes, hormones (secretin), mucus, substances to neutralize stomach acid (hydrochloric acid), and erepsin digests polypeptides into amino acids, completing protein digestion.

Enzymes: peptidases digests peptides (which are amino acid chains with a peptide bond see diagram): sucrase digests sucrose (sugar), lactase digests lactose (milk sugar) and maltase (malted foods, sweet potatoes when cooked, digested starches) digests maltose.

peptide bond

The liver makes bile that breaks down fats for absorption. Bile is made continuously in the liver and stored in the gall bladder until it is need. Then it is is released into the duodenum, the first part of the intestine where most chemical digestion happens. See also liver functions below small intestine information.

The small intestine has projections, villi (one villi is a villus) that are lined with capillaries to absorb nutrients and minerals in food to pass into the blood stream through the intestine walls, mucosa, by diffusion. The mucosa is covered in wrinkles or folds that circle the walls of the intestine. Microscopic fingers of tissue, villi (in Latin it means shaggy hair) increase the surface area for greater absorption of nutrients. Each villus has a network of capillaries and lymphatic vessels called lacteals close to its surface that absorb fat. The epithelial cells of the villi transport nutrients from the inner surface of the intestine (lumen) into the epithelial cells and into capillaries (amino acids and carbohydrates) and lacteals (lipids). The absorbed substances (amino acids, carbohydrates and lipids) are transported via the blood vessels or lymph vessels through out the body to build proteins needed to grow and repair body cells and tissues.

More liver. The portal vein carries blood with nutrients (digested food) from the small intestine to the liver where the nutrients and toxins are absorbed, filtered, and detoxified before going back to the heart and lungs and on to the rest of the body. Some of it returning to nourish the liver through the hepatic artery.

All the undigested and unabsorbed materials move through the small intestine to the colon (large intestine). The colon is between 5-6 feet long and about 2.5 inches in diameter. It absorbs water, salts, vitamins, iron, and eliminates the waste (unabsorbed material left). It has no villi.

intestine wall diagram

Adapted from Boumphrey [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Digestion of nutrients for energy

Digestive system care

Digestion health related issues


Excretory system data sheet Review

Excretory system eliminates undigested food and waste (solid, liquid, & gas) from the body so it can live. The intestinal tract (small intestine and colon) removes solid wastes (see digestion), skin removes liquid and heat (see skin), lungs rid the body of heat and gases (see respiratory), urinary system remove liquids and solids (see below) and endocrine removes solid and liquids (see endocrine).

The liver filters and processes blood as it circulates the body. It receives blood from the small intestine. The liver removes toxins like ammonia, drugs, alcohol, and cellular products like bilirubin that results from breaking down worn out red blood cells. It metabolizes nutrients, detoxifies harmful substances, makes blood clotting proteins, and other vital functions. Cells in the liver have enzymes (proteins that catalyze a biochemical reaction) that regulate its chemical reactions.

The urinary system filters wastes and extra liquids and eliminates them from the body. Many of the waste molecules include dissolved nitrogen. The system includes kidneys, bladder, ureter, and urethra.

Urinary System diagram

Adapted from Illu_urinary_system.jpg: Arcadian derivative work: Thstehle Derivative work by Commons sibi [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Kidneys are bean shaped organs in the middle of the back below the rib cage, one on each side of the body. Each is about 4-5 inches from bottom to top; a bit bigger than a fist. Each contains more than a million small spherical shaped containers (nephrons) that the liquid part of the blood and materials smaller than proteins and red blood cells enter. Liquids and materials that enter the chamber (blood lite) flow into other capsules and tubules. Some of the materials (amino acids, salt, water ... ) pass through the walls and are rerouted back into the blood (reabsorbed). Depending on the concentration from one side of the wall to the other the flow of materials can balance the amounts of sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, hydrogen, phosphate, and pH in the blood and ultimately the body. Wastes that do not pass through the walls (filtered) continue through the tubes and flow into a collecting duct that leads to the ureter where the waste is excreted as urine. Detailed function of the kidney video (3:10).

Ureters are two tubes that connect from the kidneys to the bladder. Each is 8-12 inches long and about 2-4 mm in diameter. The walls are smooth muscle tissue that move urine from the kidney to the bladder by peristalsis (contract and relax muscles). Infection can develop if urine movement is too little. The ureters move small amounts of urine into the bladder every 10 to 15 seconds.

Bladder is a hollow muscular balloon shaped organ held in place with ligaments attached to the pelvic bone and other organs. It stores urine by expanding until you are ready to go to the bathroom to empty it and then it contracts. An average bladder holds 16 ounces (two cups) of urine comfortably for two to five hours.

Urethra is the tube that connects from the bladder to the outside of the body.

Sphincters are circular muscles at the bottom of the bladder that keep urine in the bladder. Nerves in the bladder signal the brain when it is time to urinate (empty the bladder). The sensation is stronger as the bladder fills. When the brain decides the bladder is full and a person urinates the brain signals the bladder muscles to tighten and the sphincter muscles to relax causing urine to exit the bladder through the urethra.

Excretory system care

Excretory health related issues


Endocrine system data sheet Review

Endocrine system includes chemicals (hormones) secreted by endocrine glands: adrenal, pineal, ovary, testis directly into the blood stream. They signal and regulate physical and mental body functions for emotions, growth, reproduction, use of nutrients, minerals, energy, balance of fluids, and other body changes for efficiency. See also Exercise, hormones, and stress.

endocrine system diagram

Adapted from By Governmenst [Public do teh main], via Wikimedia Commons

Glands and organs that affect the endocrine system

Other body areas that produce hormones or hormone like chemicals

Endocrine system care

Endocrine health related issues


Lymphatic system and Immune system data sheet Review

Lymphatic system is associated with the immune system and leukocyte cells that defend against disease causing agents. It does this with lymph fluid, lymph ducts, lymph nodes and the cardiovascular system and immune systems.

Lymph fluid is in the spaces around the cells where it is deposited by the circulatory system. It contains water, protein, fat, and leukocytes. It is filtered by lymph nodes, which are small bean-shaped organs in the lymph ducts.

Lymph ducts (vessels) collect lymph fluid and return it to the heart. They are made of muscle that expand and contract to move the fluid toward the heart. When it returns to the heart, it is remixed with the blood and recirculated to the body.

Immune system includes networks of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend the body against disease causing agents, pathogens (bacteria, virus, parasites), and foreign substances that enter the body (toxins) and some cancer cells that develop within the body.

Allergic reactions are caused when foreign bodies (allergens) touch the skin or enter the body and cause an autoimmune response, that might not happen for most people. Symptoms, such as redness, rash, sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and a runny nose that result with the release of histamines in response to allergens.

The immune system must respond quickly and efficiently as many pathogens can rapidly evolve and adapt to avoid detection and defensive actions of the immune system. To achieve this different cells respond in one of two ways. Immediate nonadaptive and mediated adaptive.

lymph system diagram

Adapted from Bruce Blaus "Blausen gallery 2014". [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Leukocyte cells (some previously known as white blood cells) include lymphocytes, neutrophils, basophils, eosinophils, monocytes, and macrophages. They are created by myeloid stem cells and provide innate immunity protection (protection that is quick and doesn't adapt). Myeloid stem cells also create erythrocytes, dendritic cells, and megakaryocytes (platelets).

Leukocyte cells in the lymph nodes trap and destroy pathogens (a microorganism that causes a disease). Leukocyte cells in the circulatory system are also crucial to our immune systems.

Lymphocytes are one kind of Leukocyte. They are created by lymphoid progenitor stem cells and provide a mediated adaptive immunity protection (protection that is slower because it takes time to adapt). They include B lymphocyte cells, T lymphocyte cells and killer cells.

T lymphocyte cells (thymus gland), B lymphocyte cells (bone marrow), and natural killer cells. Lymphocytes are part of our immune defense. Their purpose is to recognize antigens, produce antibodies, and destroy cells that could damage the body. See lymphocytes video (4:56)

The lymphatic system also includes: tonsils (reduce pathogens entering the body through the respiratory system), adenoids, thymus gland, spleen, and appendix.

Lymphatic system care

Lymphatic health related issues


Reproduction system Review

Reproductive system includes the sex organs required for procreation of offspring. It takes nine months for a human embryo to develop. Embryos are nourished by their mother. The substances a mother takes affects how well or poorly the baby develops. People are able to have children before they can care for them.

Reproductive system care


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Advanced study resources


Body System Activity Rubric with outcomes & scoring guide

Advocacy related outcomes ( 5 points)                               Total ______ / 100

  • Presented and advocated positive health choices
  • Presented and promoted information that was health-enhancing
  • Interacted with awareness of the audience
  • Encouraged others to make healthy choices
  • demonstrated passion or conviction for the information presented

Goal Setting related outcomes ( 5 points)

  • Focused on the presentation as the goal
  • Created a work path that was realistic and attainable
  • Selected an effective strategy and plan to implement and achieve the goal
  • Monitored, evaluated, and reflected on the plan and its implementation and made adjustments as necessary

Communication related outcomes ( 50 points)

Presentation completed __ Data sheet completed __ Review completed __

  • Clear - presentation of ideas that were easy to understand
  • Precise - information was appropriate for the presentation
  • Reliable - consistent good quality information that can be trusted
  • Logical - ideas fit together without discrepancies and supported the conclusions
  • Relevant - idea or ideas that fit the purpose of the presentation
  • Consistent - idea or ideas are supported by observation, current research, or wisdom of practice. novel ideas are developed with plausible explanations.
  • Comprehensive - contains necessary and sufficient information and supporting information to communicate the idea or group of ideas and all their complexity and connectedness through multiple perspectives
  • Complexity includes explanations and examples of the functions of the system. ___
  • Unbiased - fair nonprejudicial presentation of information and all messages given

Group interactions

  • Interactions with group members assisted achievement of the appropriate goals.
  • Used appropriate listening skills
  • Distinguished between supported factual information and beliefs or emotional feelings by stating "I think" or "I feel" or using I statements
  • Used a respectful tone
  • Used appropriate body language
  • Supported their messages with research, logical reasoning, and meaningful explanations

Decision Making related outcomes (10 points)

Decisions for planning and presenting their presentation

  • Focused on the presentation.
  • Clearly understood the situation.
  • Gathered relevant reliable information.
  • Recognized the influence of values on possible decisions.
  • Analyzed gathered information.
  • Identified alternative ideas or actions based on the collected information.
  • Generated possible options.
  • Generated consequences for different options.
  • Evaluated and decided on a successful process.
  • Implemented their decisions.
  • Evaluated their implementation.
  • Avoided confusion or intimidation and assists others to understand and move the decision making process toward a healthy conclusion that benefited the welfare of others and the Earth.

Analyzing Influences related outcomes ( 5 points)

  • Identified and analyzed external and internal conditions and how they vary.
  • Identified biases and influences that affected decision making.
  • Interpreted how conditions and influences impact relationships and used this information to better make decisions, set goals, communicate, advocate for health, and achieve goals.

Accessing Information related outcomes ( 5 points)

Took steps to get valid health information and appropriate health services.

  • Cited sources.
  • Evaluated the validity of sources.
  • Mentioned appropriate health resources for the system.
  • Included specific types of help available for different needs.

Refusal Skills related outcomes ( 5 points)

  • Included the word "no" in any refusal response.
  • Provided an explanation of why in any refusal response.
  • Offered appropriate alternatives in place of the proposed activity that is being rejected.
  • Used body language that supported the communication of refusal.
  • Included a description of "moving on" from the situation.

Self-Management Skills related outcomes ( 5 points)

  • Included healthy behaviors and habits for a person to achieve healthy behaviors.
  • Identified protective behaviors (diet, exercise, first aid, seat belt usage, cell phone use, texting and driving, alcohol, risk management) to achieve a health in the system.
  • Described procedures for protective behaviors for their system (eat healthy, exercise, safe environments, ...)

Conflict Resolution related outcomes ( 5 points)

  • Described a problem if they occurred
  • Considered how each person felt. Used "I think" or "I feel" or I statements
  • Explained reasons for each different position
  • Considered other perspectives
  • Invented options for the group's benefit
  • Agreed on a solution that benefited the group

Stress Management related outcomes ( 5 points)

  • Identified situations that caused stress
  • Demonstrated techniques to manage and reduce stress (talking about it, relaxation strategies, getting to work, not procrastinating ...)

This rubric was created based on the Healthy Practices Skills and Outcomes for a middle level health course, which were heavily influenced by the national health standards.


Accurate and quality information is needed to make good healthy decisions.

A healthy person understanding what is human, their body, it's anatomy, functions of life, growth, and development well enough to care for them self and others to attain and maintain physically, emotionally, and socially healthy bodies. To achieve this one must be able to describe, analyze, predict, and compare how different variables affect the body to make wise decisions. Desire to learn about nutrition, diet, exercise, sleep, stress, relaxation, choice of behaviors, social skills, conflict resolution, cooperation, genetics, safety, injuries, health status, illness, natural disasters, environmental health, and risks, will impact them and others in different situations or conditions.