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Heart surgery and dissection

Heart dissection teachers pack and student sheets (PDF 1.93MB)

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Heart surgery and dissection presentation (PPTX 1.91MB)

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The heart is an amazing organ that continues to beat roughly every second, every day, for your entire life. That is 100,000 beats each day and each minute about 5 litres of blood is pumped out of the heart. It has to keep working nonstop to maintain the proper flow of blood around our bodies and keep us alive. Scientists are now using mathematics, computer modelling and novel imaging techniques to visualise the workings of the heart. Understanding what causes cardiovascular disease, the greatest cause of death in the UK, will lead to new cures for broken hearts. From stem cells to artificial blood, researchers are investigating new treatments and work on biomaterials is producing improved medical implants and devices such as pacemakers.

About the resource

This resource is suitable for key stages 4-5 (14-18 years old). Heart dissections are a common class activity and this lesson plan and supporting information is designed to inject some new life into a familiar practical investigation. This investigative lesson plan approaches the practical dissection as a problem solving exercise, emphasising care and consideration of animal tissues.

The activity progresses through identification of the key features of the heart to carrying out simulation of heart surgery. This requires patience, careful observation and manual dexterity, promoting team work and pride in the learning experience as opposed to a straightforward destructive exercise that can occur without a constructive problem solving aim.

The lesson plan is supported with up to date information on current research to improve health and wellbeing and links to further information. The practical activities can be carried out by students or run as demonstrations.