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The Function of the Circulatory System Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:03 What Does the…
  • 0:40 The Heart Pumps Blood
  • 1:32 Capillaries Make Deliveries
  • 2:15 Blood Returns to the Heart
  • 3:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

In this lesson, learn about the circulatory system and how it functions within your body. Explore how the heart and blood vessels help the circulatory system move blood through the body.

What Does the Circulatory System Do?

Your circulatory system delivers things to different parts of your body, kind of like a delivery truck transports packages. But, instead of carrying packages in trucks, your circulatory carries oxygen, nutrients, and cell wastes throughout your blood. Your body constantly needs to move these things around, so your circulatory system can never take a break!

The circulatory system is made up of your heart and blood vessels. Your heart is a pump made of muscle. It tightens up and relaxes to push blood through the blood vessels. You can think of your blood vessels as roads that carry blood to every inch of your body.

The Heart Pumps Blood

We know that the heart and blood vessels are the main players in the circulatory system. But how do they move the blood? Let's explore this.

Your heart has its very own electrical system that causes it to beat at a regular pace. The electrical signal starts in a group of cells called the sinoatrial (SA) node, also called the pacemaker of the heart.

This natural pacemaker sends a signal through your heart that makes it contract, or tighten. When your heart contracts, it pushes blood out of the heart and into your aorta, which is your biggest artery. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart. Once blood is in the aorta, it flows into smaller arteries. If you've ever felt your pulse by gently placing your fingers on your wrist, you were feeling blood moving through an artery. Arteries flow into smaller arteries called arterioles, and then into capillaries.

Capillaries Make Deliveries

Capillaries are tiny blood vessels. The walls of your capillaries are so thin that things like oxygen, nutrients, and cell wastes can pass through them. The thin walls of the capillaries are what allow your circulatory system to make its deliveries! For example, the blood that flows into your capillaries is mixed with oxygen. Your body cells need oxygen to do their jobs. Oxygen passes through the capillary walls and into your body cells.

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