Sunday, September 22, 2013

Human Body Unit - Week 11 - Pancreas

Week 11: We learned how glucose is controlled in the blood by making a model of the system.

Using wooden blocks and other toys we created a model of how our bodies control sugar. Hypoglycemia and diabetes are two common diseases that result from the bodies inability to control sugar. Working our way through this activity helped us better understand these conditions. David Macaulay's The Way We Work explains the process very well.

The first step was to build a capillary lined with Alpha Cells (green), Beta Cells (red), Liver Cells (brown) and Tissue Cells (blue).

The Alpha Cells were filled with Glucagon. The Beta Cells were filled with Insulin.

Glucose and glucose receptors were represented with chain links. Glucose receptors (blue chain links) were placed on the fronts of the Alpha and Beta Cells. Glucagon Receptors (blue bar links) were placed on the fronts of the Liver Cells. Insulin Receptors (red bar links) were placed on the fronts of Liver and Tissue Cells.

Glucose was placed in the capillary. Then we modeled how our bodies handle large amounts of sugar in the blood right after meals.

 First the Glucose Receptors on the fronts of the Alpha and Beta Cells fill up because there is lots of glucose in the blood.

This causes the Beta Cells to release insulin.

The insulin bonds to the Insulin Receptors on the fronts of the Liver and Tissue Cells. The glucose follows the insulin into the cells. In the Liver Cells it is linked together and stored as Glycogen. In the Tissue Cells it is burned and used for energy.

That's it for high sugar levels after meals.

Next we repeated the process for low sugar conditions. This happens in between meals.

Since there wasn't much glucose to bond with the Glucose Receptors on the fronts of the Alpha and Beta Cells, the Alpha Cells released their Glucagon.

When the glucagon bonded with the Glucagon Receptors on the fronts of the Liver Cells the stored Glycogen inside the Liver was broken down and placed into the blood stream.

The broken down glucose entered the Tissue Cells to be burned as energy.

To see more of our human body projects please visit our science page.





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1 comment:

  1. Wow, your kids know more about the pancreas and how it works than I do.

    ReplyDelete

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