Friday, October 4, 2013

5th Lesson - Circulatory and Lymphatic system through interpretive dance

We all know exercise is good for us because that's what we've always been told. Today we answered the question I hope my children never stop asking... 

Todays lesson began with a scientific experiment. I set the metronome's beat per minute to the same pace as their heart beats per minute. I gave them a moment to process this rhythm clapping along and then using point and flex with our feet. What would happen once we finished our warm-up marching?  

With hands on our hips and smiles on our lips, we warmed up our bodies and gave our hearts another listen. Sure enough we added more beats per minute.

To understand the "why", we needed to first understand how the circulatory system worked. What better way then to build one ourselves and then become a red blood cell?

I set up a circulatory system that looked much like my sketch above on the floor. I used circle floor markers to build the circle and placed a red pom-pom near the top to indicate the heart. We used red bouncy balls to represent the oxygen and the girls became the scooter board riding red blood cells.

Before the activity, I walked them through the process. With a ball in my hands I began.

The ball is our oxygen, and as we breath, oxygen goes through the mouth and nose and then travels down a tube called the trachea (drawing a finger down my neck) and then fills our lungs. 

The oxygen fills our lungs by small little sacs called alveoli. They look like little balloons or balls. 

 Around these little sacs (alveoli) are capillaries. They work as a filter system giving the red blood cells the oxygen we need and then taking the carbon dioxide away (the old oxygen). The red blood cells that have just been given oxygen return to the heart to be pumped through our body. 

The red blood cells then flow through us, bringing nutrition to every part of the body. Once they run out of all that good oxygen, it becomes carbon dioxide and the red blood cells need to return to the alveoli so they can get rid of the carbon dioxide and fill up with new oxygen.

So this is how we walked through our floor circulatory system before becoming an active part.

Holding red balls of oxygen, I ran down the trachea into the lungs (middle of circle) and gave our scooter board riding red blood cells the oxygen. They held the oxygen between their legs and went to the heart (pom pom), then moving to the outer edge of our floor markers they circled the room back to the heart (pom pom) into the middle of our circle (the lungs). There I switched out their balls for new ones. Then I would run the old balls back up the trachea getting rid of the carbon dioxide and then get new balls of oxygen.

So this is why our heart beat faster after our warm-up. Our body needed that food (oxygen) so that it would have the energy to move. Our heart had to beat faster in order to get all those red blood cells full of oxygen to were they were needed.

Later in our lesson we took on the Lymphatic system. I was able to incorporate this into a little ballet history lesson.

In the previous weeks we have talked about ballet and its aristocratic history. Before the courts of King Louie the 14th, how was it that ballet came to be?

It is from the steps in which one fought that eventually lead to what we know as fencing.

The earliest recorded history of fencing dates to 1350 B.C.E. as a sport or game played by ancient egyptians, but the art and technique behind combat reach beyond that. Some would say that fencing is ballets sister sport and as you look at the detailed precision for which one would train you can clearly see how the two parallel each other. It wasn't until around 1400 that the steps of fencing evolved into the early stages of what became ballet. They took the steps to fencing, added mime and acting, and set them to music.

Fencing was a sport for kings and nobility. An ancient symbol of power and glory. It was with this same prestige that ballet took shape. In later years, under King Louie the 14th, it was practiced along side fencing as a military art, sharing some movements and a disciplined approach to training and physical skills.

Today we can still see how they paralleled each other by watching the classics. One in particular is the Nutcracker and the battle between the Nutcracker and the rat king.

So with this little history lesson we took up our swords. Reminding ourselves of the battle between Nutcracker and Rat, we replaced them with the battle between white blood cells and bacteria.

Lymphatic fluid circulates through the lymph vessels that pass between the muscles of our bodies.  Unlike the heart that pumps our blood, lymph vessels are squeezed by our muscles when we move around. (another reason why exercise is so important) Our Lymph nodes house white blood cells.

White blood cells produce antibodies that cover or clump bacteria together and then they digest the bacteria. The white blood cells then die off. Some stay alive and act as a memory cell. If the bacteria enters again, the white blood cells multiply and fight back before harm is done.

Using very simple stage combat choreography and accessories we took turns being both the good and the bad.

Covering, clumping and then digesting the bacteria.

Then a dramatic death scene as the white blood cell takes its last breath.

This is how we tied our school and dance lesson in at the studio. As for our human body projects, they are undergoing surgery as the ribs are being removed and replaced. We are adding a heart, lungs, circulatory and lymphatic system. The ribs were in the way. I suppose we could have made this project more simple, but our creativity does not unfold one-dimensionally.... hopefully the fiber optics arrive soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.