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My Beating Heart - Extension Activities

Here are some fabulous links that you might want to add in to your learning journey through the My Beating Heart TopicPack!


Leeches pop up several times during the TopicPack. They are discussed in The Power of Blood and also in Blue Blood and Beyond, because, let's face it, they're just so interesting.


These weird little creatures may seem an odd thing to farm, but there are is actually a Leech farm in the UK! Read about them in the newspaper article below.

Do you ever find it hard to know how to say a word, even if the sounds are written out? I do, and I use this tool to help me.

Listen to this link to learn how to pronounce 'sanguivorous'. Because, leeches are sanguivorous!

Nitrogen Fixation

In the Pulses TopicBook, there is an introduction to Nitrogen Fixation. In the video linked below, one of the 'Seven Wonders of the Microbe World' series from the Open University, you can learn more about the whole process. Are you surprised that the activity of Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria is so crucial to life on Earth?

Open University Nitrogen fixation video

The remarkable James Harrison

In The Power of Blood, we met the amazing Austrailian, James Harrison who has donated blood over 1,100 times. This video is just under 2 minutes long, and includes an interview with him carried out by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age when he was making his last donation.

What a remarkable man!

The Sydney Morning Herald on James Harrison video

The Plant that Smells of Insect Blood

The next one is a little weird, and is probably for those who enjoyed Blue Blood and Beyond. It involves a sneaky plant tricking flies into visiting it, and pollinating it without realising.

The jackal fly is a tiny fly, who feeds on the haemolymph from other insects. The thing is, it's so tiny that it can't attack other insects itself, but instead turns up when something bigger and stronger has killed something, attracted by the smell of injured insect. The Ceropegia gerrardii plant (no known connection to any football player!) attracts the jackal fly by producing a liquid which emits the smell of an injured honeybee. The jackal flies flock to it, hoping to steal food and haemolymph from the 'injured insects' but instead feed on the plant liquid. At the same time, they pick up grains of pollen which they transfer to other plants. 

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