Heart Mobiles In Action!

By Dorothy Ahoklui, June 23, 2007

Grade Level

  • High School


  • Other

Subject Area

  • Language Arts
  • Science

Lesson Time

Two forty-five minute class periods


In this activity students will use the process of design to review the circulatory system, focusing on the heart. After conducting this activity, students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of the heart and its role in the body via a model which will be displayed in the classroom as a mobile or wall hanging.

National Standards

Standard 5. Understands the structure and function of cells and organisms Benchmark 1. Knows that all organisms are composed of cells, which are the fundamental units of life; most organisms are single cells, but other organisms (including humans) are multi-cellular Benchmark 3. Knows the levels of organization in living systems, including cells, tissues, organs, organ systems, whole organisms, ecosystems, and the complementary nature of structure and function at each level. Benchmark 4. Knows that multicellular organisms have a variety of specialized cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems that perform specialized functions (e.g., digestion, respiration, reproduction, circulation, excretion, movement, control and coordination, protection from disease). Benchmark 6. Knows how an organism’s ability to regulate its internal environment enables the organism to obtain and use resources, grow, reproduce, and maintain stable internal conditions while living in a constantly changing external environment. Benchmark 8. Knows that disease in organisms can be caused by intrinsic failures of the system or infection by other organisms


Common Core Standards

Anchors for Reading:

Key Ideas and Details:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Anchor Standards for Writing:

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Range of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Anchor standards for Speaking and Listening:

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Anchor standards for Language:

Conventions of Standard English:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.


Students will:
  • identify and describe the structures of the heart
  • design and create a model of the heart which can take the form of a floor plan, or a two-dimensional or three-dimensional structure
  • use their prior knowledge of the circulatory system to make connections between the heart and homeostasis


  • Biology textbook
  • diagram of the heart
  • transparency of the diagram of the heart


  • scissors
  • multi-colored construction paper
  • markers
  • glue
  • rulers
  • tape
  • hangers
  • yarn


Vena cava- (largest vein) carries deoxygenated blood to the heart. Right atrium- upper right chamber that holds deoxygenated blood. Right ventricle- lower right chamber that holds deoxygenated blood. Pulmonary arteries- carry deoxygenated blood to the lungs. Pulmonary veins- carry oxygenated blood from the lungs to the heart. Left atrium- upper left chamber that holds oxygenated blood. Left ventricle- lower left chamber that holds oxygenated blood. Aorta- (largest artery) carries oxygenated blood which is pumped from the left ventricle to all parts of the body. Valves- located between the chambers, arteries, and veins to prevent the back flow of blood.


Motivation (activating prior knowledge):
  • Write Circulatory System on the board and circle it.
  • Have each student write down everything that comes to mind when they see these two words.
  • Call on students to read their responses and write them on the board in the form of a web.
  • After discussing the motivation, pass out a chart of the circulatory system and a handout of the heart. Ask the students to look at the chart and see if they can trace where blood enters and exits the heart.
  • One or two students should be given the opportunity to come to the front of the classroom and explain what they found.
  • Conduct a mini-lesson by using the chart to introduce the heart and explain its role in the circulatory system.
  • Once the lesson is complete, divide the class into groups of three.
  • Write the following instructions on the board and pass them out on a handout. Tell the students that they will be designing a 2-D, or 3-D model of the heart that can be displayed as a mobile or wall hanging. They must demonstrate the flow of blood through the heart in their model. By designing a model of the heart, the students should understand the functionality of the heart more fully.
Activity: Heart Mobile Task: Design and Create a Heart Mobile
1. Make up a name for your group using a scientific term (for example, the Independent Variables). 2. Assign each group member one of the three roles (presenter, constructor, and recorder). Though each team member is assigned one role, you must work together to design and create your model. 3. As a team, sketch a design of your model and then create it using the materials given by your teacher. The structures of the heart should be clearly labeled and the flow of blood should be obvious by the design. 4. Along with your model, submit a written description of the flow of blood through the heart and the body. Make sure to indicate which parts of the heart house oxygenated and deoxygenated blood. 5. In addition to the written description in #4, your group will give a written explanation as to role that the heart plays in maintaining homeostasis in the body. 6. After the model and written descriptions are completed, your group will give an oral presentation to the class.


See attached rubric for assessment. Assessment can also be accomplished through the following:
  • Informally, ask each group probing questions about their structure such as, “What is this part? Explain its function and importance to your model of the heart.”
  • Students’ oral presentations explaining their models in detail to the class can be assessed.
  • Students can also be assessed on the written assignments about their models in which they will describe the pathway of blood through the heart and the role it plays in maintaining homeostasis on the body.
Differentiated instruction takes place within the groups since each student has a specific role which is necessary to complete the task.

Enrichment Extension Activities

An extension of this activity would be to have the students research disorders of the circulatory system such as heart attacks, atherosclerosis, etc. In addition, the students could use various materials such as cotton, seeds, or any other material they desire to demonstrate the disorder on their model (i.e. a clogged artery could be represented by a cotton ball in a specific area). Display the mobiles and models around the classroom for reference throughout the year. The models could also be displayed in the school cafeteria or in the halls as an exhibit for other students.

Teacher Reflection

This lesson was very successful. The students were all very excited during the activity and were constantly engaged and on task. The assessment demonstrated that the students understood the purpose of the activity—to familiarize them with the parts of the heart and how they function as a unit to maintain homeostasis. The instructional strategies that worked were:
  • collaborative groups—this allowed the students to discuss their tasks and plan their course of action together
  • interdisciplinary instruction—infusing the disciplines of art and design allowed the students to view the heart from two different angles of education

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