Introduction to Human Body Systems

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1 Introduction to Human Body Systems *Words in bold are defined in the glossary at the end of the unit. Introduction The human body has an amazing number of parts that work together to keep us alive and healthy. The body consists of many systems. Each system has a special role, such as to provide blood or to get nutrition from food. Each system is made up of different organs that have special jobs. Respiratory System The job of the respiratory system is to take oxygen from the air we breathe and deliver it to different parts of the body. Our bodies and the cells in them need oxygen (written with the chemical symbol O 2 ) to live. Our cells give off carbon dioxide (written with the chemical symbol CO 2 ) as a waste product, or something they don t need any more. The respiratory system takes this carbon dioxide out of the body. The main organ of the respiratory system is the lungs. The respiratory system starts when you take a breath. There is a muscle called the diaphragm that is at the bottom of the rib cage. It helps draw air into the lungs. Once a breath is taken, the air travels through the mouth or nose and travels through the windpipe into the lungs. Once the air is down the windpipe, it splits in one of two directions into tubes called bronchi and then into the lungs. The bronchi branch off into more and more smaller tubes. At the very end of these are small sacs called alveoli. In the alveoli, the respiratory system works with the circulatory system. Small blood vessels take oxygen from the alveoli to the heart for distribution to the rest of the body. Blood also brings carbon dioxide to be exhaled back out. When we breathe in, or inhale, the air coming into the body has a lot of oxygen. When we breathe out, or exhale, the air has more carbon dioxide.

2 Questions 1. What is the main job of the respiratory system? A) to take wastes out of the body B) to turn food into nutrients C) to deliver oxygen and nutrients to cells in the body D) to bring oxygen into the body 2. What gas do our cells need? A) carbon dioxide B) nitrogen C) oxygen 3. What gas do our cells give off as waste? A) nitrogen B) carbon dioxide C) oxygen

3 Circulatory System The circulatory system includes the heart, blood, and a huge network of blood vessels that carry blood all over the body. The job of the circulatory system is to deliver oxygen to all the cells and then to carry out waste products like carbon dioxide. The heart is an organ made out of muscle. Its job is to pump blood throughout the body. The heart has four main sections, or chambers: Right atrium Right ventricle Left atrium Left ventricle Blood flows into the right atrium through two large blood vessels called the superior vena cava (from the upper body) and the inferior vena cava (from the lower body). From there, blood moves to the right ventricle. It then travels to the lungs to pick up oxygen. Blood coming back from the lungs enters the left atrium and then the left ventricle. From there, it leaves the heart through the aortic valve and goes into the aorta. This is the largest artery in the body, and it leads to all parts of the body. There are many kinds of blood vessels that carry blood around the body. Arteries carry blood away from the heart. (You can remember arteries and away.) Veins carry blood back to the heart. Blood that is coming from the lungs has a lot of fresh oxygen in it and is bright red. After the oxygen is delivered to cells and carbon dioxide is picked up, the blood is darker. Blood is made up of a liquid called plasma and three kinds of cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the various parts of the body. White blood cells help fight disease. Platelets help blood clot.

4 Questions 4. What is the main job of the circulatory system? A) to bring oxygen into the body B) to deliver oxygen and nutrients to cells in the body C) to take wastes out of the body D) to turn food into nutrients 5. Which blood vessels carry blood back to the heart? A) alveoli B) aortas C) arteries D) veins 6. What is the liquid part of blood called? A) plasma B) red blood cells C) platelets D) white blood cells

5 Digestive System Our bodies need food to live and grow. The digestive system takes food and carries it to all the parts of the body. The beginning of the digestive system is the mouth and teeth. Food we eat has to be broken down into nutrients that cells in our bodies can use. This starts with the teeth and tongue grinding food into smaller pieces. Saliva also helps break down food. Then the food is swallowed and travels down the esophagus, a tube that extends from the mouth to the stomach. The stomach breaks down the food further. Gastric juices that have acids and enzymes in them help the process. Then the food moves into the small intestine. This is a long twisting tube that fills up much of your lower abdominal area. It is where most digestion occurs. The liver produces bile, and the pancreas produces juices that help break food down. Small blood vessels line the walls of the small intestine. Once the food is broken down, the nutrients are absorbed by these blood vessels. The blood then carries the nutrients to cells all over the body. The part of the food that is left moves on to the large intestine.

6 Questions 7. What is the main job of the digestive system? A) to bring oxygen into the body B) to take wastes out of the body C) to turn food into nutrients D) to deliver oxygen and nutrients to cells in the body 8. What is the tube that extends from the mouth to the stomach called? A) esophagus B) windpipe C) small intestine D) bronchi 9. What is the first part of the digestive system? A) stomach B) mouth C) esophagus D) large intestine 10. What is the last part of the digestive system? A) small intestine B) esophagus C) large intestine D) stomach

7 Excretory System After food goes through the digestive system, the parts that are not digested need to be eliminated. That is the job of the excretory system. Unabsorbed food goes to the large intestine. The liver also filters out solid particles of waste from the blood. These solid wastes are removed from the body through the rectum, which is at the end of the large intestine. Liquid wastes are filtered by the kidneys, a part of the excretory system. The kidneys have long tubes coming out of them called ureters that drain liquid into the bladder. The bladder stores liquid waste called urine until it is passed out of the body through the urethra.

8 Questions 11. What is the main job of the excretory system? A) to bring oxygen into the body B) to take wastes out of the body C) to deliver oxygen and nutrients to cells in the body D) to turn food into nutrients 12. Which organ filters liquid wastes? A) liver B) small intestine C) ureters D) kidneys 13. What tube carries urine out of the body? A) ureters B) urethra C) kidneys D) bladder

9 Nervous System The nervous system includes the brain, the spinal cord, and neurons that go through your whole body. The nervous system controls all the functions of the body, such as breathing, the beating of the heart, and the functions of all the other organs. Like the other body systems, we couldn t live without it. Other Systems There are other systems in the body besides these. The musculoskeletal system includes all of our bones and muscles. Our skin is the organ that covers the outside of our body. The immune system fights off diseases and infections. The endocrine system is a system of glands that make chemicals our bodies need to function. The reproductive system is responsible for new human life. All of these systems work together to make us the amazing beings we are!

10 Answer Key 1. What is the main job of the respiratory system? D) to bring oxygen into the body 2. What gas do our cells need? C) oxygen 3. What gas do our cells give off as waste? B) carbon dioxide 4. What is the main job of the circulatory system? B) to deliver oxygen and nutrients to cells in the body 5. Which blood vessels carry blood back to the heart? D) veins 6. What is the liquid part of blood called? A) plasma 7. What is the main job of the digestive system? C) to turn food into nutrients 8. What is the tube that extends from the mouth to the stomach called? A) esophagus 9. What is the first part of the digestive system? B) mouth 10. What is the last part of the digestive system? C) large intestine 11. What is the main job of the excretory system? B) to take wastes out of the body 12. Which organ filters liquid wastes?

11 D) kidneys 13. What tube carries urine out of the body? B) urethra

12 Glossary abdomen the belly; the part of the body below the chest alveoli a small sac in the lung where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged through blood aorta the largest artery in the body; extends from the heart to arteries that go to the rest of the body arteries blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart blood vessels tubes that carry blood; examples include arteries and veins bronchi two tubes that go from the windpipe to the left and right lungs clot to stick together; blood that clots helps to stop bleeding diaphragm a muscle between the chest and abdomen that helps draw air into and push air out of the lungs enzyme a protein that causes certain reactions esophagus the tube that food and drink goes through to get from the mouth to the stomach exhale to breathe out gastric juices acidic liquids produced by the lining of the stomach that aid in digestion inhale to breathe in lung an organ in the body that takes oxygen out of the air breathed; part of the respiratory system nutrient something that gives the body energy organ a part of the body made up of cells that work together to do some job; examples include the heart and the brain plasma the liquid part of blood platelets cells in blood that help blood clot rectum the end of the large intestine saliva spit; liquid in the mouth that has enzymes that help break down food system a group of parts that work together to do some job veins blood vessels that carry blood to the heart windpipe the main tube air goes through to get from the nose and mouth to the lungs This unit is based on Human Body Systems, published by K12 Handhelds, Inc., and used with permission.

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