1. What writing skills did you improve while working on your Human Body Research Paper? Explain.
2. What are some concepts that you learned about the human body during this unit that you think are important (not just interesting)?
3. What was the most challenging part of writing your Human Body Research Paper? Why?
4. What aspect of the Human Body Research Paper are you most proud of? Why?
The human body has six main systems and is a complex machine that is constantly working to keep us alive. Although each system has its own unique jobs to do, they synergize to keep us healthy and active.
The skeletal system is responsible for giving us support, structure, and protection and works together with the muscular system to move our body. Our muscles pull our bones, which allows us to move, jump, and run! The muscular system actually plays an important role in delivering oxygen to our body’s cells. Without the heart, one of our most important muscles, blood wouldn’t be able to travel around our body! Luckily for us, the blood travels through our lungs, where it drops off carbon dioxide and picks up oxygen that our cells are craving. Speaking of craving, did you ever know that the main purpose of our digestive system isn’t just to digest food? It’s job is actually to take nutrients and water out of what we eat and drink and then deliver it to the circulatory system where it gets delivered to the cells in our body. But none of these systems would work without the direction of our nervous system!
Now let’s get right into it with the skeletal system, where you’ll learn how our bones help us move and protect our organs.
The skeletal system has several important jobs to do in our body. It is responsible for creating blood cells, providing our body with support and structure, and enabling us to move. We have several bones that are responsible for protecting our organs like the ribs protect our heart and lungs, and the skull protects our brain! Bones cannot move unless joined together at joints. Ligaments connect our bones together and cartilage prevents them from rubbing together which would be painful! We are so lucky to have strong, powerful, yet moveable bones in our body!
The bones in our body are made up of four distinct layers. Each of these layers has important responsibilities and are vital to our day-to-day life. The outer layer of bone is called compact bone. Compact bone is solid throughout and enables our body to be supported. Compact bone is so dense that surgeon’s need to use a saw to cut through it. The next layer of bone is called spongy bone and it is lightweight and porous, which prevents our bones from getting too heavy, but still be strong. It makes up about 20% of our skeleton, and it’s found mostly in long bones, joints, and in our spine. The center of many bones are filled with a gelatinous substance called bone marrow. Bone marrow is responsible for creating red blood cells and some of our white blood cells. Bone marrow also makes platelets for our circulatory system. In addition, bone marrow stores iron for when our body needs it. We have two different types of bone marrow: yellow and red. We are born with red marrow, but it slowly changes to yellow over time. Finally, the outermost part of bone is covered in periosteum, a thin, fibrous membrane that covers all bones. The membrane is responsible for helping to create new bone in children and does the same when adults sustain an injury. The periosteum is the site at which ligaments, tendons, and muscles attach to bone! It also contains the blood vessels that allow nutrients and oxygen to the get to the bones! Knowing the four layers of bones can help us to understand just how complex our human body really is!
Bones help support our body, protect our organs, and letting us move. Joints are the reason why we can bend and move. Covering the ends of bones at a joint, cartilage is tough but flexible tissue. It protects your bones from rubbing together and helps you move by allowing bones to glide over each other. While cartilage protects and supports joints, ligaments are long straps of tissue that connect bones to other bones to make a joint. These are thick and fibrous, so if they tear it could take a long time to heal. One type of joint is a gliding or sliding joint. This joint is where bones meet at a flat surface. A gliding joint allows bones to glide past each other in any direction-up and down, left to right, and diagonally. Your ankles and wrists are gliding joints. Another type of joint is a hinge joint. These joints move and bend like a door hinge. Hinge joints are created with two or more bones that can only flex and extend on one axis. Elbows and knees are hinge joints. A pivot joint is another type of joint. What makes this joint a pivot joint is that a circular bone rotates or pivots and another bone. There are only three pivot joints in the human body. They are located in the neck and both elbows. The last type of synovial joint in our body is a ball-and-socket joint. These joints have the largest range of motion. The bones that make up this joint are a bone with a round end and a bone with a socket shaped like a cup. The only ball-and-socket joints in the body are the shoulders and hips, because they need to be very flexible to move the entire limb.
As you can see, the skeletal system has many important jobs to do. It allows us to stand straight up, move our body around, and protect our most important organs. However, the skeletal system can’t move our body by itself. It needs the help of our muscular system as well.
While the skeletal system provides support and strength to our body, the muscular system helps us move it. It is responsible for pumping blood, moving body parts, and pushing food down the esophagus. We are in control of voluntary muscles, like skeletal muscles. These help us move our bones. On the other hand, involuntary muscles like cardiac and smooth work by themselves.
Voluntary muscles are muscles that we are in control of. When we want to move our body, our brain communicates with our muscles through our nerves and they contract to move. Skeletal muscles are the only voluntary muscles in our bodies. They are made up of long fibers that are bunched together and go along a bone. These are the muscles we can see and feel through our skin. Skeletal muscles work by relaxing and contracting. Since these muscles can only pull, they must work in pairs to move. Tendons are needed to keep muscles in place. They attach the muscles to the bone and work with it when it moves. For example, it keeps the biceps and triceps muscles locked in place as it moves. The biceps and triceps work by contracting and relaxing. To pull the arm up, the biceps contracts and the triceps relaxes. To bring it back down, the biceps relaxes and the triceps contracts.
While you are in control of voluntary muscles, involuntary muscles work by themselves. They are controlled by the nervous system. There are two kinds of involuntary muscles, which are cardiac and smooth. Cardiac muscles are found in the heart. They contract to pump blood throughout our body. Cardiac muscles look like skeletal muscles because of their striped appearance, but contract by themselves, so they are involuntary muscles. These muscles are so important because our heart would not beat without them! The other kind of involuntary muscle is smooth muscle. It is found in the walls of our hollow organs. Smooth muscles contract to help us move things like food down the esophagus and push blood through the veins.
Our muscles are so important in our lives. They not only help us move, but also keep our heart beating and get food to the stomach to get nutrients to the body! To keep our muscles and other body parts healthy, we have the circulatory system.
The circulatory system is another crucial system in our human body. It moves our blood around to get important nutrients and oxygen to different parts of the body. Blood is our body’s way of transporting oxygen and other supplements throughout our human body. Blood is composed of white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, and plasma It travels through blood vessels like arteries, veins, and capillaries. But to be pumped out, it must go through the heart’s four chambers. These are the left atrium, left ventricle, right atrium, and right ventricle. We need all of these components to keep a working human body.
Blood is one of the main parts of the circulatory system. It carries around oxygen and vitamins to different parts of the body so they can stay healthy and be able to move. White blood cells are the soldiers at war. They are constantly fighting off illness and disease. They are moved around in the blood, and when they find a virus, they attack and try to kill off the germs and bacteria. We are so lucky to have white blood cells because they are always fighting sickness to keep us healthy. Another part of our blood is the red blood cells. These carry around oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body. They first go to lungs to get oxygen, then they travel along the bloodstream to give the oxygen to different areas of the body. Then when they become deoxygenated, they travel back to the heart and the process repeats. These cells get their color from hemoglobin, which is a protein containing iron. The next component in blood is platelets. These help your blood clot when a blood vessel is cut. When our brain picks up the signal that we got cut. The platelets rush to the cut and bind to form a seal. Finally, the liquid part of our blood is plasma. This straw colored liquid contains the nutrients we need. It also carries the red and white blood cells and also the platelets.
There are three blood vessels that our blood flows through. The arteries carry oxygenated blood away from the heart and out to the the rest of the body. When the heart contracts and sends blood through the arteries, it creates your pulse, which tells your heart rate. On the contrary, veins carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart to be pumped out again. Veins have flaps that keep the blood moving to the heart, and not rush down because of gravity. The last type of blood vessel is the capillaries. These are the connectors between veins and arteries. When the arteries bring oxygen to the body, the capillaries branch out and bind with the veins, which can bring the deoxygenated blood back to the heart. Capillaries are so thin that only one cell can pass through them at a time.
The heart is the one of the most important organs in the body. It has four chambers that are enclosed by thick muscular walls. The heart is located in the middle of the lungs, but a little to the left. It has four chambers, which are the left atrium, left ventricle, right atrium, and right ventricle. The left atrium receives the oxygenated blood from the lungs. It then pumps it down to the left ventricle which will send the blood out to the body. The left ventricle is the thickest chamber of the heart. When it receives oxygenated blood from the left atrium, it pumps it out to the rest of the body. The right atrium receives the deoxygenated blood through the vena cava, then it sends it to the lungs to get oxygen. The right ventricle is in charge of pumping deoxygenated blood through the arteries to get oxygen in the lungs. It is located under the right atrium and next to the left ventricle.
As you can see, the circulatory system is very important. It pumps a continuous stream of blood to every part of the body to keep them healthy. We need blood to carry around vital minerals and nutrients. It also carries around oxygen, which we get from the respiratory system, another wonderful system!
The respiratory system has a major role in our human body. It provides oxygen to the cells and also gets rid of carbon dioxide, which could hurt us if it builds up. Oxygen travels through a series of tubes and exchanges with carbon dioxide, so we can exhale the carbon dioxide and transfer the oxygen to different parts of our body.
The mouth is one airway to the body. It is not the main airway, but it is a shorter distance to the lungs and big, so it lets us get a larger amount of air faster. Air could also come in through the nose, which warms, moisturizes, and cleans air before it goes to the lungs. The hairs and mucus trap all of the contaminants in the air, so they can’t reach our system. The epiglottis is very helpful because it covers up whichever tube is not being used, either the trachea or the esophagus. When you breathe, it covers up the esophagus, and when you swallow food, it covers up the trachea. Having something clog the wrong pipe could be very dangerous. The larynx is responsible for helping us speak, swallow and breathe. Each time we breathe, air passes through the larynx. The larynx holds the vocal cords, which vibrate when air passes through them. These vibrations form sounds, which are turned into words by the tongue, mouth, and lips. The voice box is in the larynx as well. It is a two inch long tube that is composed of muscles that are held together by elastic cords. The trachea is the third and final part of the windpipe. It is located at the base of the neck and runs along the middle of our body. This tube allows air to go to the lungs. When we breathe, the air goes through the trachea and to the lungs.
The lungs are the central organ in the respiratory system. They take in oxygen to give to the blood, and get rid of carbon dioxide. After air is inhaled, it goes through the trachea, which splits into the bronchial tubes. These begin to take air to the lungs. The bronchial tubes then split into the bronchi. They are tubes that carry air into the lobes of the lungs. Finally, the bronchi split into small tubes called bronchioles. These spread out and finally reach the alveoli. These are the air sacs where the exchange of gases takes place. The exchange of gases is where oxygen is switched with carbon dioxide to be exhaled. This process is very important because if the carbon dioxide stays in our body and builds up, it can be harmful.
The respiratory system is an essential system in our lives. We are very lucky to have it to help us breathe, speak, and also keep carbon dioxide from building up and harming our body. This system is very crucial, but it can’t do everything on its own. The digestive system plays a big part in our daily lives.
While many people think the digestive system’s main purpose is to digest food, it’s actually made to absorb the nutrients we get from our food into our bloodstream. This process is very important because our body would not work without the energy we get from these nutrients.
The mouth, also known as the oral cavity, is the start of the digestive system. It contains the tongue, teeth, and salivary glands. These organs are very important to the digestive system. We have 32 teeth, which are small organs that use mechanical digestion to break down food. There are three sets of salivary glands in the mouth. They produce saliva, which uses chemical digestion to soften food. The tongue is an organ made up of muscles and covered in a layer that is bumpy and thin. There are rough papillae and taste buds on the outside of the tongue. The papillae help to grip food as the tongue pushes it down the esophagus, and the taste buds connect to nerves in the tongue and brain. A bolus is the semi-solid lump of food that is created when food is broken down and mixed with saliva and mucus. The bolus is then moved down the esophagus, which is the long tube located by the trachea. It is made up of muscles and carries the bolus down to the stomach. The process used to do this is called peristalsis. Peristalsis is when muscles contract and relax, which pushes the bolus down the esophagus. It is so powerful that you could eat while upside-down, and the esophagus would still be able to force the food to the stomach. Retroperistalsis, or reverse peristalsis is when the contractions reverse, causing you to vomit.
The food we eat is stored in the stomach, an organ that has a lot of storage for food. The food in the stomach is mixed with a variety of digestive juices. Some of these are saliva, pancreatic juice, gastric juice, and bile. These juices break down the food so it can be digested easier. The inner lining of the stomach has millions of small gastric glands that produce gastric juice, a digestive juice that turns food into a thick liquid called chyme. It is made up of digestive juices and the broken down food. When food gets to this stage in the digestive process, it no longer looks like it did in the beginning. The small intestine is about 10 feet long, twice as long as the large intestine, but is smaller in diameter, so it is perceived as the smaller intestine. The small intestine is lined with villi, small extensions that absorb nutrients from the chyme into the bloodstream. The pancreas is shaped like a flat pear and is located behind the stomach. This organ emits pancreatic enzymes that break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. The gallbladder is a small pouch that holds bile, a digestive juice that is created by the liver, which is located right above the gallbladder. The liver filters out chemicals from blood in the digestive tract, which creates bile. The liver is the second largest organ in the body, next to the skin, and it weighs about three pounds. The large intestine absorbs water and vitamins and turns the food that has been digested into excrement. Finally, the last part of the digestive tract is the anus. It holds stool until we are ready to get rid of the waste. The muscles in the anus control the release of the excrement so that it doesn’t come out when it is not supposed to.
Overall, the digestive system is a very crucial system in our human body. It converts food into feces while extracting the necessary nutrients and vitamins. But this system couldn’t function without the nervous system.
The nervous system is our body’s programming system. It controls systems and movements in our body that are involuntary, like the digestive system. It also is in charge of our thoughts and feelings. Everything in our body is managed by this amazing, complicated system.
The brain is a large and complex organ that is responsible for storing all of the body’s information. It is tightly packed but full of grooves and folds which creates the space that is needed to store all of the information that we have. The cerebrum is the front and largest part of the brain. It makes up 85% of the brain’s weight. It is the part of our brain that controls our thinking and also our voluntary muscles. The cerebellum is in charge of our coordination and accuracy. Even though it doesn’t tell our body to move, it communicates with sensory nerves to fine tune movements. The medulla oblongata is located in the brainstem and controls basic functions such as breathing, blinking, sneezing, digestion, heart function, and swallowing.
Nerves are very important in our human body because they transmit signals throughout our body and give directions on what to do. One type of nerves are sensory nerves. These nerves bring signals to the brain when stimuli changes. It might be a change of texture when you touch something, environment changes, an injury, or an internal change. They are usually paired with motor nerves, which initiate movement. They carry signals from the central nervous system out to the body and make muscles contract. Motor nerves are made up of motor neurons, so when a motor nerve and a muscle meet, the neuron releases chemicals which make the muscle contract. The spinal cord works with the brain to sense temperature, vibration, position of your limbs, and helps you to move. The spinal cord connects with the brain to control blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature. Neurons send and receive information from parts of the body. Synapses are one kind of neuron, and they connect neurons so that sensory information can flow through them. When a nerve impulse reaches the synapse, it can’t go right through. It triggers a neurotransmitter, which allows the impulse to flow between the neurons. Dendrites are branches on the end of each neuron, and they gather lots of information. This information then goes through the synapse and is moved on throughout the body. Axons transmit the signals and information that they receive through other neurons. Some axons are covered in a fatty acid called myelin, and they are able to transmit signals even faster than regular axons.
As you can see, the human body is a complicated, unique machine that does so many important things. Not only does it help you live, but it also helps you move, think, breathe, feel, and communicate! Can you possibly imagine what life would be like if we were missing even one of these important systems? If not, maybe a few of these valuable concepts will help you understand better:
- The bones in our body support and protect, while our muscles pull but never push!
- In addition, our blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to our cells, while the alveoli in our lungs exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen.
- Finally, our digestive system is responsible for extracting important nutrients and water from what we eat and drink, but we’d never be able to do any of these things without our amazing nervous system!
Now you have read all about our human body and how it works 24/7 for us. I hope that you learned a lot and that you can apply some of this information to your everyday life.
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