How Do Toxins Affect the Human Body?

Hale, Patricia Nansen Elementary School

Objective: The learner will be able to identify toxins contained within household products. The learner will be able to determine specific affects that toxins may have on the human body. Apparatus Needed: Household items such as bleach, spray disinfectants, various aerosol sprays, ammonia, and other liquid cleaners. An empty plastic bottle, cotton, and chicken livers. Overhead projector, chart of the human body, transparency showing the human body systems, and worksheets on human body systems. Recommended Strategy: Put enough cotton to half fill an empty plastic bottle. Then insert a lit cigarette into the opening of the plastic bottle. Squeeze the bottle so that the cotton becomes stained with the nicotine. Then explain that these are toxins that affect the lungs of the body. Ask the question: What are toxins?: Write definition on the board. Toxins are poisons that could damage the human body. Then ask the students to think of things around the house that might contain some toxins that could affect our body on the inside or outside. Write the responses on the board. Then ask the class how they could identify these items as toxic. Explain and show that the labels give warnings that the chemicals therein could be harmful to certain parts of our body. Therefore, it is always important to read labels before using these products. Also explain that the odor of some chemicals can indicate possible harm that it could cause to the body. Show the students various household products and explain that each one could have harmful effects on our human body systems. Also, the effects of gasoline fumes for several days on a checken liver can be shown. Then compare it to a healthy chicken liver. Now show the students a transparency of the human body. Explain that each system is performing a specific job. Go over the terms of the various systems that are working within the body system. Let the students underline the following terms and take turns reading aloud the definition for each system from their worksheet: skeletal muscular circulatory respiratory nervous digestive urinary reproductive endocrine lymphatic skin Let the students color each system a different color to distinguish each system and its specific job. Then ask the students to write one or more key words that relates that system to his or her own body function. Example: skeletal - bones, muscular - muscles, circulatory - blood. Then ask students which body system does smoking affect? (respiratory) Does smoking have a short or long term effect on the body? (long term) What effect does an insect bite have on the body? (short term) Evaluation: Let students get into pairs, and make a list of short term and long term effects that toxins might have on the human body systems. After about fifteen minutes, make a list on chart paper of the minor or major illnesses that result from short and long term effects of toxins on the human body. Extension: Each student will select one or more systems, and tell in his own words briefly how that system performs within the human body.
Return to Biology Index