The Heart - External Structure

Part of:

Google Expeditions
Lesson overview

In this lesson students begin their exploration of the circulatory system, labelling a diagram of the external structures and identifying arteries and veins. They will go on to explain where blood enters and leaves the heart.

Learning outcomes
  • To be able to label a diagram of the external structure of the heart correctly identifying arteries and veins
  • To be able to identify where blood enters and leaves the heart

Expedition Prep Checklist

Download the Google Expeditions App on all devices and select the expedition The Heart.

Explore the points of interest highlighted in the scene (superior vena cava, right ventricle, left atrium, right atrium, ascending aorta, coronary artery, great cardiac vein, left ventricle).

Review the video content in the Lesson resources section to update your knowledge and develop some teaching ideas.

Lesson steps
  1. Introduction (10 mins)
    Lead a discussion to consolidate or assess previous knowledge using the following questions: What is the function of the heart? Which type of blood vessel brings blood to the heart? Which type of blood vessel takes blood away from to the heart?
    Explain that the heart is approximately the size of a fist. Students feel their pulse (in temple, wrist or neck) to feel the action of the blood pumping as the artery walls expand and contract.
  2. Expedition (20 mins)
    Lead expedition with the following questions: Can you label the external diagram of the heart? Through which blood vessels does blood enter the heart? Through which blood vessels does blood leave the heart? Questions from the expedition scene (beginner, intermediate and advanced).

    Emphasize that the veins are not actually blue in real life, they are shown that way in diagrams. Veins appear blue through the skin because of refraction but they are actually dark red.

    Students label the diagram of the external structure of the heart as they explore the heart and read the information (see Student Sheet found in the Lesson resources section).
    Students answer the questions in the scene and discuss their ideas with partners. They may need to research some answers and should be encouraged to include a bibliography with their sources.
  3. Activity (30 mins)
    Cover the answers to the activity questions: Can you label the external diagram of the heart? Questions from the expedition scene (beginner, intermediate and advanced). Students share their diagrams with others for peer assessment. Confirm correct labels and correct misunderstandings.
  4. Extension
    Students watch the video in the Lesson Resources about heart transplants.
    Students research hearts from different animals and compare and contrast them with the human heart and add labels to those that are more similar.
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