The Kidneys

This station will introduce the urinary tract (kidneys, ureters, bladder) to students by paralleling its function to that of a municipal water treatment plant. Our blood is vital for transportation of nutrients (energy production), maintaining hydration, and ridding the body of waste products. The urinary system’s major role is to eliminate waste, maintain adequate hydration, acid/base balance, and control blood pressure all done through the continuous filtration of blood. The students will participate in active functions of filtration, diffusion, selective transport, and osmosis–all functions done routinely by our kidneys. They will also be introduced to the vital role kidneys take in the body maintaining homeostasis.

Most humans have 2 kidneys, they sit on either side of the spine just above the waistline. An average adult kidney weighs about 5 ounces and is about the size of your closed fist. Though the kidneys represent less than .5% of our entire body weight, they receive about 25% of our cardiac output. Each minute, 1300cc (approx 1 ½ quarts) of blood enters the kidney, 1299cc returns to the circulation via the renal vein while about 1cc leaves as urine.