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The Circulatory System, By Mona Lisa Tello

February 13, 2013

An essential part of living things, the circulatory system operates as a closed system responsible for sending blood throughout the body. While the heart is considered the core of the circulatory system, it cannot function without four other components: arteries, arterioles, capillaries, and veins.

Circulation starts in the right atrium, the upper-right hand portion of the heart. As the heart pumps, the blood moves to its lower right, upper left, and lower left sections, before entering the lungs for oxygen and returning to the lower left portion, known as the left ventricle. The largest and strongest portion of the heart, the left ventricle is connected to the body’s largest artery, the aorta.

From the aorta, blood travels to the rest of the body. It goes through arterioles that reshape the blood so that it flows easily throughout the system. Responsible for feeding cells, capillaries absorb nutrients and oxygen from the blood. Finally, veins bring the blood back to the right atrium, and the process begins again.

About the Author: For over a decade, Mona Lisa Tello taught science at Graphics Communication Arts High School in New York City. When teaching the circulatory system, Tello encouraged students to create mechanical models of the heart, giant floor puzzles and games to demonstrate the flow of blood through the heart and and songs about the circulatory system.

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