Circulatory System


Circulatory System teaches students the basics about the parts of the body that transport blood and why the system is vitally important for human life. Students will be able to identify the parts and explain their functions. They will also learn more about the substances that make up our blood and what they do. 

This lesson does not go into highly particular detail about all the parts of the circulatory system. Instead, it provides students with an overview and a foundation on how this system works within the body. You may benefit from teaching this lesson in conjunction with others about the heart or other body systems.

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What our Circulatory System lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Circulatory System explores the parts of the body that are responsible for transporting blood throughout the body. Students will discover the various functions of these parts and how they work together to accomplish their goal. They will also learn more about the substances within our blood and what they do for us. This lesson is for students in 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. This lesson requires colored pencils (red and blue preferably) and die. Before the lesson, collect the colored pencils and enough die for students to play the activity. Have a student volunteer cut apart the questions for the game. Ensure there are enough sets to accommodate the number of groups playing the game.

Options for Lesson

This lesson does not include any additional ideas in the “Options for Lesson” of the classroom procedure page. However, you are more than welcome to incorporate any ideas or additional resources you find that relate to the lesson topic.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page provides an extra paragraph of information to help guide the lesson. It notes  that this lesson is an overview and does not detail every aspect of the system. The main objective is for students to be aware of this system and its part in helping the body survive. You can use the blank lines to write down any other ideas or thoughts you have about the topic as you prepare.


The Heart

The Circulatory System lesson plan contains four pages of content. The first page displays a diagram of the heart that shows what it looks like both from the outside and on the inside. Students will discover that the heart is the main organ (and muscle) of the circulatory system. This body system is the one responsible for transporting or carrying blood to and from the heart. Blood carries both oxygen and nutrients to every cell in the human body.

When we breathe, our lungs fill with oxygen. The circulatory system helps transport that oxygen throughout the body. It consists of two main parts, the heart and blood vessels, which include veins, arteries, and capillaries. The heart has a total of four chambers separated by heart valves. These chambers collect and pump blood and control the direction the blood flows.

At the bottom of the heart are the left and right ventricle chambers, which pump blood out of the heart. The upper chambers are the left and right atria, which receive blood into the heart. A heart’s valves open up so the blood can empty from the chambers and so that it cannot flow in the wrong direction. The sound our hearts make when they beat is the result of the opening and closing of the valves.

Arteries, Veins, and Capillaries

Next, students will discover a little about blood vessels. Arteries carry blood away from the heart, and veins carry blood to the heart. The capillaries connect arteries and veins to each other. All these blood vessels help transport the nutrients from the food we digest to the cells throughout our bodies.

Of the three types of blood vessels, arteries are the thickest. Blood becomes enriched with oxygen as it moves through the largest artery—the aorta—to the rest of the body. The veins then carry blood back to the heart. Veins are thin and not as flexible as arteries, but they are larger in diameter. Even thinner are the capillaries.

Capillaries are tiny blood vessels that carry blood between arteries and veins. They deliver nutrients and oxygen to the body’s cells. In addition, they remove carbon dioxide and other waste products. They are so thin that the thickness equates to that of a single cell!

What’s in the Blood?

Now that students know how the circulatory system works, it’s time to dig a little deeper. There is quite a lot of stuff inside our blood. But first, the substance that produces red and white blood cells and platelets is bone marrow. Most of our blood is red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body using hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a chemical in red blood cells that receives oxygen from the air that a person breathes. It is also what gives blood its red color.

Students will learn that white blood cells are responsible for protecting us when we get sick. There are a few different types. First, granulocytes both help wounds heal after an injury and prevent infections by killing germs. Another type are lymphocytes, T-cells and B-cells that produce antibodies to attack bacteria or viruses. B-cells also prevent germs from causing future problems. Finally, monocytes fight and destroy bacteria by surrounding it, thereby stopping infection.

The platelets are cells that help make sure a person doesn’t bleed too much when they get a cut or other injury. Blood vessels break when a person bleeds, so the platelets join together to help stop blood flow. This is the process we call blood clotting. The clot keeps blood inside while the blood vessel heals.

Plasma, Hormones, and Blood Pressure

Our blood also contains a yellowish liquid that carries proteins, nutrients, and hormones throughout the body. This is what we call plasma, which is actually mostly water that comes from the things we eat and drink. In addition to the substances it provides, it also helps remove waste from the cells. Throughout the circulatory system, as blood circulates through the body and to the kidneys, plasma removes and carries away the waste products.

As mentioned, plasma contains hormones and carries them throughout the body. These hormones carry messages to the body with instructions about what to do and when. They help bones and muscles grow and help platelets stop the flow of blood by clotting until blood vessels are repaired.

The last thing students will learn about is blood pressure. Blood pressure measures how hard the heart works to pump blood throughout the body. It is the force created as blood flows through the circulatory system, or the force from the arteries as they resist the blood flow. It often rises as the heart beats and falls between beats.

There are several things that can affect our blood pressure, such as activity, rest, diet, and emotions. Having high blood pressure implies that the heart is working too hard to pump blood throughout the body. Because our hearts are muscles, it is important to keep them as strong as any other muscle in the body. To do so, we can incorporate habits like eating healthy foods and exercising regularly.


The Circulatory System lesson plan includes two worksheets: an activity worksheet and a homework assignment. Both will reinforce the concepts students learned during the lesson and will help them demonstrate their knowledge. Use the guidelines on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


Prior to starting the activity, you will need to divide students into groups of two, three, or four people. Each group needs three die and a disposable game board for each player. The objective of the game is to answer the questions on the playing cards before other players and to be the first to reach the heart. Students should lay out the cards with the number only face-up on the desk or table. The first player will roll the dice and answer the question on the card with the corresponding number. They can choose whether to roll one, two, or all three die. When players guess correctly, they will move ahead three spaces on the board by coloring in the spaces. When they guess incorrectly, they do nothing. As players answer each question, they will mark them off the game board so that another player cannot answer the same question. The winner is the player who reaches the heart first.


For the homework assignment, students will complete a crossword puzzle. There are a total of 24 clues for them to solve. You can choose whether or not to allow students to use the content pages for help to complete the assignment.

Worksheet Answer Keys

The last page of the lesson plan document is an answer key for the homework assignment. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits this page. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep this one as reference for yourself when grading the assignment.

Additional information


4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade



State Educational Standards

LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.2, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.4, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.2, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.4, LB.ELA-Literacy.RST.6.2, LB.ELA-Literacy.RST.6.4, LB.ELA-Literacy.RST.6.7

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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Circulatory system

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