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Recall the Main Components of Blood and Their Functions

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Image of blood composition

 

Did you know that your blood makes up about 7% of your total body weight?

 

Image of blood cells

 

The blood has loads of important jobs to do. Some of these include:

Transporting oxygen to our lungs

Transporting important nutrients to cells and tissues

Forming blood clots to prevent too much loss of blood

Fighting off bacteria and other pathogens to stop us from getting sick

Getting rid of waste products 

Regulating our body temperature

 

The blood is made up of four components: 

Red blood cells

White blood cells

Platelets 

Plasma

​Each of these components has a specific function. Let's explore these further.

 

 

Red blood cells (RBC)

 

Image of a red blood cell

 

 

Red blood cells give the blood its bright red colour. They contain a special protein called haemoglobin, which helps to collect oxygen from the alveoli in the lungs and deliver it to the cells around the body. 

Red blood cells have a biconcave shape (a bit like a doughnut) to give it a larger surface area – it makes it easier for oxygen to diffuse into the cell. Red blood cells don't have a nucleus, this makes room for more oxygen and also makes the cell more flexible, allowing it to fit through small vessels in the body. 

 

White blood cells

 

Image of white blood cell

 

Unlike RBCs, white blood cells contain a nucleus, so are much larger than red blood cells and are fewer in number. White blood cells protect the body from infection by engulfing invading pathogens. Some white blood cells produce something called antibodies, which attach to the surface of pathogens, helping to identify pathogens that need to be destroyed.

 

Platelets 

 

Image of platelets

 

Unlike red and white blood cells, platelets are not actual cells but fragments of cells. Their main function is to clot blood at the site of a wound to prevent further bleeding. The platelets end up forming a scab over the wound, which also prevents further infection by bacteria. 

 

Plasma 

 

Image of blood plasma

 

Plasma is the yellow liquid component of your blood. Its job is to carry the blood cells mentioned above, along with other substances such as waste products like urea, which is transported from the kidneys to the bladder. Small, soluble products of digestion produced by the small intestine also move around the body in the plasma.  

You could think of the plasma as the water that forms a river, and the cells as being the fishes, frogs and alligators that are transported by the river!

 

In the following activity, you will recall the main components of the blood and their functions.

The blood is made up of four components.

 

Label the different components below. 

 

 A Image of platelets
 B Image of red blood cell
C

 

Image of blood plasma

 

D Image of white blood cell

 

Red blood cells have a biconcave shape and they don't have a nucleus.


How do these features help the red blood cell to carry out its job? 

 

Image of a red blood cell

A biconcave shape gives a larger surface area to absorb hydrogen more efficiently

A biconcave shape gives a larger surface area to absorb oxygen more efficiently

No nucleus means it can move faster around the body

No nucleus means more space for oxygen

White blood cells are found in the blood, along with red blood cells and platelets. 

 

Describe the function of white blood cells by filling in the blanks below. 

 

Image of white blood cell

A biconcave shape gives a larger surface area to absorb hydrogen more efficiently

A biconcave shape gives a larger surface area to absorb oxygen more efficiently

No nucleus means it can move faster around the body

No nucleus means more space for oxygen

Which of the following is a feature of platelets? 

 

Image of platelets

They contain haemoglobin

The have a nucleus

They are small fragments of cells

Plasma makes up about 55% of the blood.

 

Match up the sentences to describe blood plasma. 

 

Image of blood plasma

 

Column A

Column B

Plasma is a yellow coloured liquid which...
...holds all the blood cells in a suspension
Urea is transported from the kidneys...
...to the bladder in the plasma
Small, soluble products of digestion produced by t...
...intestine move around the body in the plasma

The different components of the blood have different functions.

 

Select one function for each component of the blood below.

 

Image of blood components

White blood cells protect the human body from invading microorganisms.

 

Which of these are features of white blood cells?

White blood cells are larger than red blood cells and platelets

White blood cells don't have a nucleus

White blood cells have a nucleus

White blood cells are cell fragments

The function of red blood cells is to transport an important gas to cells around the body. 

 

What is the name of this gas?

 

Image of red blood cells

Hydrogen

Oxygen

Carbon dioxide

The text below describes platelets.

 

Complete the sentences by filling in the blanks.

 

 

Hydrogen

Oxygen

Carbon dioxide

Identify the image below and describe its functions.

 

Platelets

Hydrogen

Oxygen

Carbon dioxide

  • Question 1

The blood is made up of four components.

 

Label the different components below. 

 

 A Image of platelets
 B Image of red blood cell
C

 

Image of blood plasma

 

D Image of white blood cell
CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Did you get them all correct? If you're not absolutely certain about this one, take the time to study the images so that you can recognise the key features of the different components of the blood. You will often be asked to identify different images in your exams.
  • Question 2

 

Red blood cells have a biconcave shape and they don't have a nucleus.


How do these features help the red blood cell to carry out its job? 

 

Image of a red blood cell

CORRECT ANSWER
A biconcave shape gives a larger surface area to absorb oxygen more efficiently
No nucleus means more space for oxygen
EDDIE SAYS
There were two options to tick here. Getting more oxygen quickly is the name of the game for red blood cells! This is where no nucleus and a biconcave shape come in. These special features help the red blood cells to absorb and carry more oxygen, and thus make them more efficient in their role.
  • Question 3

White blood cells are found in the blood, along with red blood cells and platelets. 

 

Describe the function of white blood cells by filling in the blanks below. 

 

Image of white blood cell

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
There were lots to fill in on this question - hopefully, you got them all. White blood cells form part of our immune system and the main job of white blood cells is to protect the body from invading pathogens. Some of the white blood cells do this by engulfing the pathogens and others by creating antibodies.
  • Question 4

Which of the following is a feature of platelets? 

 

Image of platelets

CORRECT ANSWER
They are small fragments of cells
EDDIE SAYS
Platelets don't have a nucleus so they are not considered 'true' cells - rather they are cell fragments. People who have too few platelets suffer from a condition called haemophilia, which means they bleed excessively and their body struggles to form scabs. Option one is referring to red blood cells and option two would have to be the white blood cells.
  • Question 5

Plasma makes up about 55% of the blood.

 

Match up the sentences to describe blood plasma. 

 

Image of blood plasma

 

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Plasma is a yellow coloured liqui...
...holds all the blood cells in a...
Urea is transported from the kidn...
...to the bladder in the plasma
Small, soluble products of digest...
...intestine move around the body...
EDDIE SAYS
Plasma is the liquid part of blood and transports many substances around the body - for example, waste products like urea, which it transports to the kidneys to be removed in urine.
  • Question 6

The different components of the blood have different functions.

 

Select one function for each component of the blood below.

 

Image of blood components

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
If you had any doubts about this one, then have a go at this question a few times to consolidate your knowledge on the functions of the components of the blood. Once you've got this sorted, you'll feel much more prepared for any question that might come up on this topic.
  • Question 7

White blood cells protect the human body from invading microorganisms.

 

Which of these are features of white blood cells?

CORRECT ANSWER
White blood cells are larger than red blood cells and platelets
White blood cells have a nucleus
EDDIE SAYS
There were two correct options this time. White blood cells are the largest cells of the blood and contain a nucleus. These two features make it possible for them to perform their role of protecting the body from pathogens. Red blood cells and platelets are much smaller and do not have a nucleus.
  • Question 8

The function of red blood cells is to transport an important gas to cells around the body. 

 

What is the name of this gas?

 

Image of red blood cells

CORRECT ANSWER
Oxygen
EDDIE SAYS
Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to cells around the body, so that they can carry out respiration. This gives us energy for different processes.
  • Question 9

The text below describes platelets.

 

Complete the sentences by filling in the blanks.

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
How did you get on with this final question? Platelets are a vital part of the blood because without them our blood wouldn't be able to form scabs. People who can't produce enough platelets have a condition called haemophilia. Often sufferers will have to inject a medicine that will help them to clot their blood to prevent excessive bleeding. Well done for completing this activity - are you feeling more confident with this topic now?
  • Question 10

Identify the image below and describe its functions.

 

Platelets

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
You had to first identify what the image was showing - did you get this? Platelets are quite distinctive - they are a star-like shape! This shape helps it to form a scab over a wound, which give us its function.
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