Worksheets and lesson ideas to challenge students aged 11 to 16 to think hard about kidneys and osmoregulation (GCSE and Key Stage 3)
Where to start?
Start by getting students to identify the location of their kidneys. They are a pair of bean-shaped organs on either side of your spine, below your ribs and behind your belly. Take a kidney and show students the three main areas: cortex, medulla and pelvis.
Transport teaching resources
To understand kidney function, students will need to be confident with osmosis, active transport and diffusion.
GCSE activity modelling what happens to substances at the kidney. This activity uses a model to help students understand the function of the kidney. Use this activity after students have been introduced to the concepts of ultrafiltration and selective reabsorption. The model provides an opportunity to really explore and advance understanding. This activity was contributed by Nicola Griffiths (@MrsNicolaG ). (PDF)
The journey of a water molecule through the body
Activity to describe the journey of a water molecule from the mouth to the urinal. They must sketch, label and annotate each major organ involved. Print off slide 2 in A3 and get students to work in pairs or individually. This activity should only be done when students have been introduced to the human kidney, circulatory system and digestion. While students are completing the diagram you can walk around the class and provide feedback. Provide students with key terms that are appropriate to use e.g. large intestine, urethra, artery, oesophagus, filter, kidney tubules, renal artery, bladder and ureter. (PDF)
- What problems does low blood pressure present to the kidney?
- Explain why people lost in the desert can only drink their urine 1-3 times before it is toxic?
- What kidney and hormonal adaptations would you expect to find in a desert rat? Explain your answer.
- Alcohol and caffeine inhibit the production of ADH. What effect would this have on a human?