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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: 

  1. Red blood cells
  2. White blood cells
  3. Platelets 
  4. 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 your lungs combines with haemoglobin to form oxyhaemoglobin. Oxyhaemoglobin is broken back down to oxygen which is delivered to the cells around your body. 

Red blood cells have a biconcave shape (a bit like a doughnut) to give it a larger surface area – it allows more area to be in contact with oxygen 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 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 the plasma as the water that forms a river and the fishes, frogs and alligators as being the cells 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.

Select one answer in each row.

 

 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. 

Image of red blood cells

 

What is the name of the structure that binds to oxygen allowing it to be transported to cells in the body? Select one answer.

Haemoglobin

Oxygen

Carbon dioxide

Red blood cells don't have a nucleus, they do however have a biconcave shape.

Image of a red blood cell

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

 

Biconcave shape gives a larger surface area to absorb hydrogen more efficiently

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. 

Image of white blood cell

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

 

 

Biconcave shape gives a larger surface area to absorb hydrogen more efficiently

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

Image of platelets

Which of the following is an adaptation of platelets?

They contain haemoglobin

They have a nucleus

They are small fragments that can change shape when needed

Image of blood plasma

Blood plasma makes up about 55% of the blood.

Match up the sentences to describe other functions of blood plasma. 

 

Column A

Column B

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

The different components of the blood have different adaptations that help with their different functions. Select one adaptation for each component of the blood below. 

Image of blood components

What component is shown in the image below?
Image of platelets
Label the image and select its adaptation.
 

White blood cells protect the human body from invading microorganisms.

Select two adaptations of white blood cells. 

 

White blood cells called phagocytes can change shape to engulf pathogens

White blood cells don't have a nuclues

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

White blood cells are cell fragments

The statements below describe the adaptations of platelets.

Complete the sentences by matching up the letters with the missing word.

These are small fragments of cells which don't have a     (A)       

They are important at making blood     (B)      and forming scabs by changing    (C)     

They can form      (D)    extensions in order to reach the site of damage.

Column A

Column B

A
Clot
B
Shape
C
Nucleus
D
Long
  • Question 1

The blood is made up of four components. Label the different components below.

Select one answer in each row.

 

 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
Take the time to recognise the key features of the different components of the blood as 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. 

Image of red blood cells

 

What is the name of the structure that binds to oxygen allowing it to be transported to cells in the body? Select one answer.

CORRECT ANSWER
Haemoglobin
EDDIE SAYS
Red blood cells carry oxygen as oxyhaemoglobin from the lungs to cells around the body. In low oxygen concentrations they release the oxygen, allowing cells to use the oxygen.
  • Question 3

Red blood cells don't have a nucleus, they do however have a biconcave shape.

Image of a red blood cell

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

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Biconcave shape gives a larger surface area to absorb oxygen more efficiently
No nucleus means more space for haemoglobin and oxygen
EDDIE SAYS
Getting more oxygen quickly, is the name of the game for red blood cells! This is where no nucleus and a biconcave shape comes in. These special features help the red blood cells be more efficient in their role.
  • Question 4

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

Image of white blood cell

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

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
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.
  • Question 5

Image of platelets

Which of the following is an adaptation of platelets?

CORRECT ANSWER
They are small fragments that can change shape when needed
EDDIE SAYS
Platelets change shape when activated and needed to form a scab. Platelets don't have a nucleus so they are not considered 'true' cells rather they are cell fragments. People who have too little platelets suffer from a condition called haemophilia, which means they bleed excessively and struggle to form scabs.
  • Question 6

Image of blood plasma

Blood plasma makes up about 55% of the blood.

Match up the sentences to describe other functions 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 is removed in urine.
  • Question 7

The different components of the blood have different adaptations that help with their different functions. Select one adaptation for each component of the blood below. 

Image of blood components

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Have a go at this question a few times to consolidate your knowledge on the adaptations of the components of the blood.
  • Question 8
What component is shown in the image below?
Image of platelets
Label the image and select its adaptation.
 
CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Platelets are quite distinctive in their shape- they have a star-like shape! This helps it to form a scab over a wound.
  • Question 9

White blood cells protect the human body from invading microorganisms.

Select two 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 so awesome at their jobs.
  • Question 10

The statements below describe the adaptations of platelets.

Complete the sentences by matching up the letters with the missing word.

These are small fragments of cells which don't have a     (A)       

They are important at making blood     (B)      and forming scabs by changing    (C)     

They can form      (D)    extensions in order to reach the site of damage.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

A
Nucleus
B
Clot
C
Shape
D
Long
EDDIE SAYS
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!
---- OR ----

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