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Those Pesky Pathogens!

Tanno and Iguda were lucky enough to see how the body defends itself against pathogens. These are microorganisms that can cause disease, and bacteria are an example.

Phagocytosis

The explorers watch a phagocyte, a type of white blood cell, recognise that the bacteria do not belong to Professor Wendy’s body and engulf it. Once engulfed, the bacterium is digested. The diagram below shows the stages of this whole process, called phagocytosis.

Click the animation to reveal a detailed diagram of the immune system!

Images Credit Kelly Cassidy

Macrophages

How do Immune Cells (Macrophages) Engulf Bacteria Phagocytosis Process. Find out in this video

Passing the Knee

The knee is a working part of the skeleton, which is mostly made out of bone. More than 200 bones, in fact. The functions of the skeleton are to support the body, to protect the organs, to help the body move, and to make blood cells.

The skeleton moves at joints, with the bones actually being moved by muscles. The knee is an example of a hinge joint, which has the same kind of movement as opening and closing a door (try bending your knee and then straightening your leg to see how this works).

Image credit: Newcastle University

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

Bendy bones

Bone is made up of two main substances. Collagen is flexible and tough (it is the stuff your nose is made out of) but it’s not rigid enough to support large forces. The second substance, called hydroxy-apatite (which contains calcium), makes the bones stiff.

Your Task

  • Take a few chicken bones and clean off all the old bits of meat.
  • Put them in a jar of vinegar for 1-2 weeks.
  • After this time, take the bones out and feel them. Have they changed at all?

When you leave the bones in vinegar, the hydroxy-apatite dissolves away, leaving the collagen. Now you can see why this substance on its own is not enough to make up bones.

– MISSION TWO INCOMING –

– MISSION TWO INCOMING –

– MISSION TWO INCOMING –

– MISSION TWO INCOMING –

Modelling phagocytosis

You will need 2 different colours of Plasticine and the picture from the front of the Immune System postcard.

Your Task

  • Use one colour of plasticine to make a small model of a bacterium. This can look as gross as you like!
  • Use the other colour of plasticine to make a larger 3D model of the phagocyte. This should be roughly spherical, but does not have to be perfect (as the cell changes its shape all the time).
  • Now use your models to reproduce each stage of phagocytosis, using the diagram on the postcard and/or this webpage to help you.
  • For each stage, take a photo so you can build these up into a picture story of phagocytosis. If you use a smartphone or tablet, you could use an animation app to turn this into a movie!

Ask an adult to post your video to the @FunPostcardsFrom Facebook group, or put it on TikTok or Instagaram and tag in @FunPostcardsFrom !

– MISSION END –

– MISSION END –

– MISSION END –

– MISSION END –

Your Journey So Far …

Tanno and Iguda have explored these places up to now. You can go back and visit again by clicking below.

Mouth

Stomach

Small Intestine

Large Intestine

Blood

Heart

Lungs

Brain

Eyes

Pancreas

Immune System

Great to see you here, thank you for the visit! See you next time …

Tanno & Iguda