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Kidney Model Lab


In this activity, you will create a model of the human urinary system, including the kidneys, ureters,
bladder, and urethra. The water flows through the coffee filters but the food coloring gets absorbed
by the coffee filters, which is why the water comes out clear and not red. This is similar to how the
kidneys filter the bloodstream. Blood is brought to the kidneys via the renal arteries. Once inside
the kidneys, the blood passes through a million tiny filters called nephrons. The blood is under so
much pressure that most of the plasma leaks out of the blood stream, leaving mostly just blood cells
behind. Your kidneys then go through a reabsorption process which allows the plasma to be
returned to the blood stream. Dangerous and unnecessary chemicals and excess water are sent
down the ureters to be stored in the bladder. The feeling of needing to urinate comes from the
pressure of surrounding organs as the bladder fills up.

For your lab report


Your introduction should include answers to the following:

What is the function of the excretory system and why is it important to maintain life? What
organs are considered part of the excretory system in humans?
What is the function of the kidneys? How do the kidneys achieve this function?
What is the structural and function unit of the kidneys? What structures make up this unit?
What type of blood enters the kidneys? Through which blood vessel does it enter?
What type of blood exits the kidneys? Through which blood vessel does it exit?
What liquid exits the kidneys through the ureter? From the ureter, where does this liquid go?
What is the purpose of this lab?
What is your hypothesis?


2 Half Liter Water Bottles

12 Coffee Filters
Pen or Pencil
Large Sheet of Cardboard
Plastic Container
Fish Tank Tubing
Red Food Coloring

1. Cut the bottoms off of the half liter water bottles.

2. Fill the mouth of the bottle with some clay and poke a pen or pencil through the clay.
3. Cut a 30 cm section of the fish tank tubing and insert the fish tank tubing into the clay hole.
Tighten the clay around the tube both inside and outside the bottle. Test the tube for leaks by
pouring water into the bottle.
4. Put 6 of the thickest coffee filters you can find into each kidney model.
5. Attach the kidney models and the funnel using tape to the cardboard ad place the tubes into
the funnel. Place a plastic container below the funnel.
6. Drip 1 drop of food coloring into some water, mix this and pour a small amount of the water
into the kidney model. DO NOT pour the entire container of water into the kidney model -
only pour small amounts each time.
7. Record your observations.

Data and Observations:

Draw a diagram of your kidney model. Label the parts using the materials list.
Draw a diagram of the human urinary system. Label the organs and structures.
Draw a diagram of the nephron. Label the structures.

Results and Discussion:

Did the results of your experiment support your hypothesis?

Explain how the model you made shows how the kidneys filter blood.
Describe how blood enters the kidneys.
Describe how the nephron filters toxic substances, unnecessary substances, and excess
substances from the blood. You should describe the processes of FILTRATION and
REABSORPTION, including where these processes occur and what substances are filtered
and/or reabsorbed from the blood.
Describe the process of EXCRETION, including the appropriate structures and substances
that are excreted.
What parts of the human urinary system are not shown in this model? How is the funnel used
in this lab different from the urinary bladder?
Were there any errors or problems during this lab? If so, how would you correct these errors?