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Explain the Adaptations of the Main Components of Blood

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 and related adaptations. 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. Red blood cells don't have a nucleus - this makes room for more haemoglobin. Oxygen from the alveoli in the lungs combines with haemoglobin to form oxyhaemoglobin. Oxyhaemoglobin is broken back down to oxygen, which is delivered to the cells around the body. 

Red blood cells have a biconcave shape (a bit like a doughnut) to give them a larger surface area – it allows more area to be in contact with oxygen to make it easier for it to diffuse into the cell. Its shape also makes the cell more flexible, allowing it to fit through small vessels in the body. Red blood cells also have thin cell membranes, allowing oxygen to diffuse in quickly.

 

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. Some white blood cells called lymphocytes produce something called antibodies which attach to the surface of pathogens, helping to identify pathogens that need to be destroyed. Certain white blood cells can change shape. These are called phagocytes and are responsible for engulfing and destroying pathogens.

 

Platelets 

 

Image of platelets

 

Unlike red and white blood cells, platelets aren't actual cells but fragments of cells. The main function is to clot blood at the site of a wound to prevent further bleeding. Platelets are able to change shape. They often form a star shape with tentacles like an octopus! These 'tentacles' help to plug any broken blood vessels. 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 can think of 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 explain the adaptations of the main components of blood.

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

The function of red blood cells is to transport oxygen to cells around the body. 


What is the name of the substance that binds to oxygen allowing it to be transported to cells in the body? 

 

Image of red blood cells

 

Haemoglobin

Oxygen

Carbon dioxide

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

 

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

 

Image of a red blood cell

 

 

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

The 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 haemoglobin and 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

 

 

 

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

The 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 haemoglobin and oxygen

Which of the following is an adaptation of platelets?  

 

Image of platelets

They contain haemoglobin

They have a nucleus

They are made from fragments of cells

Blood plasma makes up about 55% of the blood.

 

Match up the sentences to describe other functions of 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...
...intestine move around the body in the plasma
Small, soluble products of digestion produced by t...
...to the bladder in the plasma

The different components of the blood have adaptations that help them to perform their different functions.

 

Select one adaptation for each component of the blood below.  

 

Image of blood components

White blood cells protect the human body from invading microorganisms.

 

Which of the following are adaptations of white blood cells?

White blood cells called phagocytes can change shape to engulf pathogens

White blood cells don't have a nucleus

White blood cells called lymphocytes produce antibodies that can bind to pathogens

White blood cells are cell fragments

The text below describes the adaptations of platelets.

 

Complete the text by filling in the blanks.

White blood cells called phagocytes can change shape to engulf pathogens

White blood cells don't have a nucleus

White blood cells called lymphocytes produce antibodies that can bind to pathogens

White blood cells are cell fragments

What component is shown in the image below?

 

Label the image and select its adaptation.

 

Platelets

White blood cells called phagocytes can change shape to engulf pathogens

White blood cells don't have a nucleus

White blood cells called lymphocytes produce antibodies that can bind to pathogens

White blood cells are cell fragments

  • 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
If you weren't totally confident with 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

The function of red blood cells is to transport oxygen to cells around the body. 


What is the name of the substance that binds to oxygen allowing it to be transported to cells in the body? 

 

Image of red blood cells

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Haemoglobin
EDDIE SAYS
Red blood cells carry oxygen as oxyhaemoglobin from the lungs to cells around the body. In low oxygen concentrations, such as in the cells, they release the oxygen, allowing it to be used where it is needed.
  • Question 3

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

 

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

 

Image of a red blood cell

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The biconcave shape gives a larger surface area to absorb oxygen more efficiently
No nucleus means more space for haemoglobin and oxygen
EDDIE SAYS
How did you get on with this first question? Getting more oxygen quickly is the name of the game for red blood cells! This is where having no nucleus and a biconcave shape comes in. These special features help the red blood cells to carry more oxygen, which makes them more efficient in their role.
  • Question 4

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
White blood cells form part of our immune system and their main job is to protect the body from invading pathogens. Some types of white blood cells do this by engulfing the harmful microorganisms, while others produce antibodies.
  • Question 5

Which of the following is an adaptation of platelets?  

 

Image of platelets

CORRECT ANSWER
They are made from fragments of cells
EDDIE SAYS
Did you get this one? Platelets don't have a nucleus, so they are not considered 'true' cells - rather they are cell fragments. Platelets change shape when activated to form a scab. People who have too few platelets suffer from a condition called haemophilia, which means they bleed excessively and struggle to form scabs.
  • Question 6

Blood plasma makes up about 55% of the blood.

 

Match up the sentences to describe other functions of 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 is removed in urine. Well done for completing another activity!
  • Question 7

The different components of the blood have adaptations that help them to perform their different functions.

 

Select one adaptation for each component of the blood below.  

 

Image of blood components

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Did you know all of these? If not, have a go at this question a few times to consolidate your knowledge on the adaptations of the components of the blood.
  • Question 8

White blood cells protect the human body from invading microorganisms.

 

Which of the following are adaptations of white blood cells?

CORRECT ANSWER
White blood cells called phagocytes can change shape to engulf pathogens
White blood cells called lymphocytes produce antibodies that can bind to pathogens
EDDIE SAYS
White blood cells are so important in keeping us safe from pathogens and these adaptations make white blood cells awesome at their jobs. There are two types of white blood cells, each with their own role to play in protecting the body. The phagocytes are the ones that surround pathogens and engulf them. The lymphocytes produce antibodies to bind to the microorganisms and prevent them from harming us.
  • Question 9

The text below describes the adaptations of platelets.

 

Complete the text by filling in the blanks.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Platelets are important for helping our body to heal cuts and other injuries by forming a blood clot or scab. 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. Platelets do really have an important role in healing us!
  • Question 10

What component is shown in the image below?

 

Label the image and select its adaptation.

 

Platelets

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Did you identify these star shapes as platelets? It is this distinctive shape that enables them to do their job of forming scabs. They have the ability to change shape, so that their long finger-like extensions can wrap around and over a wound, forming a scab and protecting the body from the entry of harmful bacteria. Were you able to correctly identify the other blood components? Red blood cells contain haemoglobin, white blood cells destroy pathogens and plasma transports substances around the body.
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