Activity 3C: Am I Getting Anywhere? Physics of Blood Flow- Velocity

Your students will have a lot of fun measuring speed and velocity and witnessing acceleration first hand using the four-foot model blood vessel! The basic parts of the model consist of the vessel (pipes), blood (water), and the heart (aquarium pump). In the first part of this activity, students will compare the structure of the model blood vessel to what they have learned about the structure of an actual blood vessel and determine the strengths and weaknesses of the model. Using a floating blood cell, students will measure the blood-flow velocity at different segments of the blood vessel. Their observations of the way the “blood” is flowing will be described and diagramed. Students will then be asked to make a hypothesis about what they believe would happen to the velocity of blood flow if a narrowed opening (stenosis) were to occur in the blood vessel. After students have recorded and graphed their data they will be asked to compare the blood-flow velocity in a healthy blood vessel to a blood vessel that is blocked by a stenosis. Students must decide if acceleration has occurred and what effect this might have on the blood vessels and body over time.

  • Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the blood vessel model
  • Calculate and graph the velocity of blood flow
  • Observe increases in velocity (acceleration)
  • Compare the velocity of blood flow in a healthy blood vessel vs. a blood vessel with a stenosis
  • Predict what effect a stenosis has on blood vessels and the body over time



Speed, velocity, acceleration, model, blood vessel, vessel, blood, heart, stenosis

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Activity Code: 
Unit Reference: 
Inflamm-O-Wars: Silent Battles within Your Cardiovascular System
Lesson Reference: 
Lesson 3: Tubular, Dude!: Exploring Blood Vessels