Body Balance
This topic focusses on an extremely complex system, our bodies. We will look into how the body self regulates and also how different chemicals (drugs and hormones) change the way different parts of the body act. We will be focussing on these main systems in the body; excretory system, endocrine system and nervous system. We will also have a brief look at the hormones which exist in plants and the effects these hormones have on the plants growth.

To start off this topic, please complete the survey below. Please be honest as your identity is confidential.

Results of the Drug Survey!


Drugs task

Your first task is to create an info sheet on a drug of your choice. Please confirm the drug you have selected with your teacher.

Your fact sheet must be made in pages (use a template to save time) and should include the following information under these headings: Please include lots of detail.

  • Drug name (e.g. marijuana)
  • Street names (e.g. weed, choof, grass)
  • Chemical name, active ingredient and molecular structure (e.g.THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol)) 20005001.jpg
  • Drug group (stimulant/depressant/hallucinogen/other drug)
  • How its taken (Smoked, injected, orally (pill) etc)
  • Short term effects
  • Long term effects
  • Addictive patterns
  • Treatments
  • Pictures (if it starts as a plant e.g. heroin starts as opium poppies, include the picture of the plant.
  • References

You will be marked according to your creativity, formatting, thoroughness and accuracy of information. Please submit to your teacher via email.

Drug Information Fact Sheets

Here are the drug fact sheets made by 9 White.


Maintaining internal core temperature

As an introduction to this topic, you will be doing a practical in which you will look at how the body maintains its internal core temperature under different conditions. Please download the following prac.

Bear Grylls shelters inside dead camel

link 2

Balance in the body:

Read p.86 whilst reading explain the meaning of these words in the table below:
Scientific word
Homeostasis =
Homeostasis is the name given to the regulation of the condition inside the body so that life
Glycogen =

Amino acids =

Ammonia =

Haemoglobin =

Fibrinogen =

Liver =

Bile =

Nervous system =

Endrocrine system =

Hormones =

Drugs =

Complete the Over to You Questions on p88
Submit this lesson via SIMON (latest by end of the week)

The Excretory System

Copy this text to your notes, then fill in the missing words.
The excretory system removes unwanted substances from cells. These include C _ _ _ _ _ D_ _ _ _ _ _ (CO2), excess _ _ _ _ _ (H2O), U _ _ _ from the breakdown of A _ _ _ _ _ A _ _ _ _ (which are what proteins are made from), and G _ _ _ _ _ _ (a type of sugar). They are removed when their concentration is too high for the cells to function properly and are usually the product of chemical R _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ in the cells. Resp _ _ _ _ _ _ _ is the name for the reaction in the cells where sugars are reacted with _ _ _ _ _ _ (O2) to produce the _ _ _ _ _ _ - _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (CO2) and energy. The name for all the reactions that take place in your cells is M _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.

Excretion refers to the removal of wastes from M _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .
The main organs of the E _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ system are the K _ _ _ _ _ _ _ and the B _ _ _ _ _ _ .

external image excretory_anatomy.jpg

The excretory system includes the kidneys, the ureter, the bladder and the urethra.

The Kidneys

The kidneys are a part of the excretory system. Their job is to filter out unwanted waste and maintain the balance of water and salts in the body. This animation shows you how.
How the kidneys work
How stuff works: The Excretory System: The Kidneys.

  • Copy these pictures and label them. You will need them for your prac report
    and assessment at the end of this topic.

  • Outline the excretion process in dot points
  • Complete OTY questions p92
  • Extension: Mind Tease p103, Choose one from Q.8,9,10
  • Submit all work by email

Kidney Prac:


To learn how the kidney's maintain balance within the circulatory system in our bodies.


From learning about sheep kidneys we can gain a better understanding of how our own function.

Materials & Method:

Copy from Ch 5 Body Balance p.91


  1. Photograph and label the kidney before, during and after the dissection.kidney-by-kidneynotes-on-flickr-no_labels.jpg
    • Locate: the medula,
    • cortex,
    • renal artery and renal vein,
    • renal column, renal pyramid,
    • renal pelvis,
    • ureter, collecting duct.
  2. Copy the table below and match the correct descriptions to parts of the kidney.



  1. In terms of kidney filtration, define waste products.
  2. Complete this cloze exercise.
    1. All blood in the body passes is filtered in the kidneys every _ _ minutes. Blood is delivered to the kidneys by the Renal A _ _ _ _ _ . Filtration begin in a bundle of capillaries called the G _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _. Blood flowing through the glomerulus is at h _ _ _ pressure to help filtration occur. The muscular layer surrounding the kidney is called the C _ _ _ _ _. THe layer where filtration occurs is called the M _ _ _ _ _ . The R _ _ _ _ Vein is the blood vessel called which takes blood away from the kidney.
Choose one of the following and include your work in the discussion of your prac report
  • People who have a disease called diabetes cannot regulate the levels of glucose in their blood. They do not produce enough insulin and need to inject themselves with insulin to keep their blood glucose levels constant. Insulin causes body cells to take in glucose. It also causes the conversion of excess glucose to fat.a What do you predict would happen to blood glucose levels after a person had eaten, if they did not have insulin? Why?b What would you expect to find in a diabetic’s urine if they did produce enough insulin? Why?
  • Write a story called ‘I am Gareth’s brain’ or ‘I am Josephine’s kidney’ or ‘I am Ming’s pituitary gland’ or ...
  • If women drink the same type of alcoholic drink in the same quantity as men, alcohol enters their blood faster. Find out why this occurs. Design an anti-alcohol advertisement that targets women.


as per prac template

Self Grading

At back of template.
Important to do this before you submit so that you can see if there are areas where you can earn more marks.


via USB, bluetooth, or email


It takes only five minutes to filter all the blood in the body through the kidneys.
The smallest unit of the kidney is called a nephron.
Passage of blood through the kidney
  1. Blood enters the kidney via the renal artery.
  2. The blood is taken to thousands of nephrons clustered in the renal pyramid area of the kidney
  3. The nephron is where filtration occurs.
  4. Fluids are forced at high pressure through the thin cell walls of a bundle of capillaries called the glomerulus into Bowman's Capsule.
  5. A network of capillaries surrounding the tubule reabsorb glucose, amino acids, sugars, vitamins and water and return these to the body via the renal vein.

Look at microscope slides of the kidney. Can you identify its different parts?

Read Scientists at work p.92
Discuss organ transplant issues (supply, rejection, anti-supressant drugs, animal factories, disease, genetic engineering)
Find information on kidney transplants (why do they occur? what problems are there for the donor/patient? what is an organ bank?)
Find a picture of an old dialysis machine... compare this to a new one

Group Activity: organ transplants: debate how and where organs come from and who gets preference. p93

Interlude: there are many things people will do to get balance (health) back to their bodies. Some are curious, others downright dangerous. Have a look at some of these before we move onto the next topic.
10 Of The Most Bizarre Medical Practices And Theories


The nervous system


Want a challenge? (WARNING: This is pretty gross!)

So, you think you're a brain surgeon?
Nervous System

Types of reflexes:

Notes: What is happening?
  • Different types of sensory nerves: temperature, pressure, chemical (smell, taste... ), light, pain... are located all over the body... some in specialised areas.
  • Some types of reflex are faster than others. Why?
  • Nerve cells are called neurones. When a sensory neurones detect something it sends a tiny electrical signal. Neurones in the brain (interlink with other neurones) process the signal and send it on to motor neurones, which tell the muscles to do something.
  • When we learn something the brain makes new connections. Learning to kick or throw a goal takes the careful processing of many signals and coordination of the muscle response.
  • Involuntary reflexes: sensory neurones are connected straight to motor neurones at the spinal chord.
  • Cool facts:
    • nerves can be up to 2m long in humans
    • nerve cells are not replaced. The number you are born with is all you get.
    • kids learn faster than adults. As they learn and become adults unused nerve connections degrade.
    • adults have a different myelin to children. Messages can travel faster in adult nerves.
    • the kind of reflexes you show can be used to determine where a spinal injury is.

How nerves work

Read: p94
Find: a diagrams to help understand these NERVE words:
  • motor neuron, sensory neuron
  • receptor
  • effector
  • dendrite
  • axon
  • myelin
  • synapse

Fingers - Hand - Arm analogy: Palm = cell body, Fingers = dendrites, Arm = axon

Pair Activities:
Reaction Time Tester
Nerve density and location. Place the tip of two pencils on a friends back. How far apart do they have to be before you can tell that they are two distinct points? Try this on other parts of your body (legs, arms, hands, lips, cheek). Where are the highest nerve concentrations? Was there any difference between girls and boys?

Responding to a stimulus
Sensory and motor nerves
Synapse: is the name for the place where signals jump from one nerve cell to another. When an impulse reaches a synapse a chemical is used to transfer the signal to the next neurone. Tranquillisers and pain killers block the release of this chemical, slowing down the brain. Amphetamines worth the other way around.

Pair activities:

Reflexes: (activity 4 p96)
Tickle yourself: (activity 5 p96)

OTY: 1-5 p96

Taste buds investigation

Have you ever thought about why foods taste different? It's really quite amazing. Your tongue and the roof of your mouth are covered with thousands of tiny taste buds. When you eat something, the saliva in your mouth helps break down your food. This causes the receptor cells located in your tastes buds to send messages through sensory nerves to your brain. Your brain then tells you what flavors you are tasting.


prac: many sources show that different parts of the tongue have nerves specialised for different tastes. There is some research which says this is a myth and that taste buds are found all over your mouth. Test your mouth. Do you taste sweet / sour / bitter / salty tastes in specific areas, or everywhere? If so draw a basic taste bud map for your mouth.

  • Get examples of each of these tastes (for example, salty water, sugary water, vinegar or lemon for sour and onion juice for bitter).
  • Give each person a set of solutions and some toothpicks.
  • Dip the toothpicks into the solutions and lightly touch the tongue.
  • Repeat the tests on different portions of the tongue. It may help to drink a bit of water in between tests.
  • Are parts of the tongue more sensitive to specific flavors or are all parts of the tongue equally sensitive to the flavors?
  • If so, indicate on a drawing of the tongue the areas that are most sensitive to the different tastes.
  • Compare tongue drawings with tongue drawings from other people.

sections of the tongue

Salt Taste: Salty water
Sugar Taste: Sugary water
Sour Taste: Lemon juice
Bitter Taste: Onion juice / tonic water / unsweetened cocoa
Toothpicks / icypole sticks

Taste facts:

  • We have almost 10,000 taste buds inside our mouths; even on the roofs of our mouths.
  • Insects have taste organs on their feet, antennae, and mouthparts.
  • Fish can taste with their fins and tail as well as their mouth.
  • In general, girls have more tastebuds than boys.

Links: the genetics of bitter tastes

The Central Nervous System

Our nerves tell us what is going on in the world around us. Nerves have specialised in picking up information in different ways. Some of these are spread al over the body, others are concentrated in sensory organs.
  • Nerves sensing pain and temperature are all over the body for our own protection.
  • Nerves sensing smell (olfactory nerves) are concentrated in the nose.
  • Nerves detecting sound are concentrated in the ears.
  • Nerves detecting balance are concentrated in the inner ear.

The information from these nerves is processed in the brain. Together the nerves of the brain and the spinal chord make up the CNS.
It is in the brain that we learn about our environment and decide how we will react.
Parts of the brain have been found to have specialised functions.
If they are damaged by disease or accident it is difficult to carry out tasks that we usually take for granted.

Below is a diagram of the brain. Copy the diagram into your keynote and answer the questions about it.
1. Which part of the brain controls the homeostasis of the body? Why?
2. Sally had a car accident and damaged a critical part of her brain. Now she finds it hard to keep her balance and the doctor says she isn't allowed to drive as her depth perception is also not as good as it was. Which parts of her brain did she injure? Why?
3. Steve is currently learning to speak Russian at school. Every time he learns something new about the language, a new dendrite grows in his brain. Which part of his brain is this occuring in? Why?
4. Alex fell from a tree when she was little. She hit her head on the ground and since then she has made rash decisions. Which part of the brain did she injure? Why?

The curious case of Phineas Gage -

1. Describe the incident which left Phineas Gage with a head injury.
2. What (do they think) stopped him from dying?
3. Which area of the brain was affected by this injury and what is this area of the brain responsible for?
4. What differences did Gage's co-workers notice about his personality after the accident?
5. If you could loose one lobe of your brain, which would it be? Why?

Endocrine System

The Endocrine system is comprised of all of the ductless endocrine glands in the body. These glands secrete chemical messengers (hormones) directly into the blood stream. Once in the blood stream they circulate until they find their target tissue (the part of the body where they have an effect).


Hormones have varying effects on their target tissue. One hormone stimulates metabolism and increased heart rate (adrenaline), while another hormone reduces the livers uptake of water (antidiuretic hormone). Hormones effects are long lasting (when compared to the nervous system) and only a tiny amount of chemical is needed in the blood stream to have a large effect on the body.

Pancreas structure and function

Below are two images. The first shows the various location of some of the endocrine glands in the body. The second shows a feed back mechanism for high glucose level in the blood.



Hitting the Wall”
...some food energy that comes into the body is too much even for the liver to store. Some is also stored in muscles. Many fats and extra sugars are stored by the body in fat cells. These occur throughout the body. When the human body is pushed to extremes, it will run out of the quick glucose energy that is in the blood and liver. It will begin to use up reserve stores in the muscles and, finally, fat.

The video from Human Body: Pushing the Limits contains a segment entitled, “Carbohydrates and Fat: Fueling the Body” which illustrates the point at which the body runs out of glucose and begins to convert fat into useable energy. Before showing it, ask students who have been in athletic competitions if they have ever “hit the wall” or know someone who has used that expression. Ask them to explain what it feels like. Then view the video and follow with a discussion.

Test your understanding: In World War II, soldiers who went into combat were issued candy bars. The army would not normally just give soldiers treats for fun, even soldiers going into combat. So why did the army do this?

Answer at bottom of page...

Job description/Resume for a Gland

You task:
Create a job description for one of the endocrine glands (Testes, Ovaries, Adrenal, Pancreas, Parathyroid, Thyroid, Pituitary, Hypothalamus (bold glands are the best choice)). In it you must include the following information:
  • An introduction explaining who you are (as a gland) and why your position is so important (in the endocrine system)
  • A labelled diagram showing where the gland is located in the body.
  • A list of its jobs (which hormones does it control, what other functions does it perform)
  • The target tissue for each of the hormones it secretes and the effect on the target tissue.
  • An example of an everyday job the gland performs (make a diagram showing a feedback loop involving one or more of the hormones secreted by the gland)
  • Similarities and differences between your current job (as a member of the endocrine system) and your old job (in the nervous system, where you were a motor neuron)
  • References (Bibliography)
  • A conclusion stating why you enjoy your job.

This task must be submitted in hardcopy (paper) only.
The best of these job descriptions might be submitted to the newsletter.

Handy references:

Answer: (The candy contained simple sugars that would give the soldiers a quick, but brief, energy boost when the fighting began.)

Plant Hormones

Plants are alive!
David Attenborough: BBC: The secret life of plants

view first 18 min

Text p100

    • Ripe and unripe fruit..
      • Ethylene is a hormone which increases the rate of respiration in fruit. It can also start buds growing in winter and prompt flowering in some plants.
      • Have you ever noticed that once one apple in a bag goes off all of the others are quick to follow. What is going on?
      • Bananas and over-ripe fruit give off more ethylene than other fruit.
      • Putting bananas with green tomatoes causes them to ripen and potatoes to shoot..
      • Ethylene from bushfires causes grass trees to flower.
    • Flowering
      • day length (amount of sunlight)
      • different plants flower at different times of the year, some early in the spring, some in the summer, others flower more towards autumn
      • find a picture of an early spring, summer and autumn flowering plant.
      • plants are able to detect the amount of sunlight
      • when conditions are right they release a hormone which causes flowering
    • Auxins, Gibberellins and Cytokins
      • Auxins are found in the growing tips of plants, the shoots and roots, where cells divide rapidly
      • The auxins are released behind the growing tip causing the cells to elongate (get longer).
      • They inhibit the growth of side shoots and turn shoots towards light, making the plant grow upwards.
      • Plants ability to grow towards the light is called PHOTOTROPISM
      • In roots they cause the roots grow downwards.
      • The response of the tip of the roots to gravity is called GEOTROPISM.
      • It is thought that plant behaviour is controlled by hormones because they can afford to move slower than animals since they do not have to catch their food.
      • For each action turned on by a hormone there is another hormone that stops the action.
      • Gibberellins break dormancy in plants prompting rapid stem growth in plants after bushfires... to position leaves in the sunlight... or to wind tendrils of climbing plants around as they search for something to hold on to.
      • Cytokinins cause the rapid cell division when buds and seeds are formed and begin to grow.

    • OTY p102 email completed work to your teacher

David Attenborough: BBC: The secret life of plants: the social struggle (for light):
  • rainforests, strangler figs 13 - 23.30min,
  • bushfires and
    • Victorian Mountain Ash 30.30 - 36min
    • Western Australia Grass Trees 36 - 40min

an Australian story

  • Eucalypt Quiz