Here are the fabulous plays about the Immune System!
Students were given these descriptions to help craft their plays:
ACT I: Phagocytes and Macrophages
This act shows how white blood cells called phagocytes destroy bacteria and viruses. Phagocytes or their larger version, macrophages, get rid of bacteria and viruses by surrounding the pathogen and engulfing (eating) it. This is the first line of defense for the body. The pathogen is now inside of the phagocyte. Now an organelle called a lysosome comes over to the pathogen, fuses with it, releases enzymes (chemicals) and kills the pathogen! The dead pathogen is moved to the cell membrane to get dumped out. However, it leaves behind a little marker (antigen) in the phagocyte. This way, if any of those nasty pathogens come back, it will be recognized and more quickly destroyed.
ACT II: Introducing T-cells
White blood cells that attack specific germs or make antibodies that destroy those germs are called Lymphocytes. T-cells are lymphocytes that are made in the bone marrow and they mature in the Thymus (an organ that is between the heart and the sternum. T-cells coordinate and regulate the response to a pathogen. Lymphocytes hang out in lymph nodes until they are called to action.
There are 3 kinds of T-cells: Killer T-cells, Helper T-cells, and Regulator T-cells.
Here is what happens when cancer cells (or any other infected cell encounters T-cells:
The Helper T spots the infected cell and calls in the Killer T-cells. The Helper T-cell mobilizes the Killer T-cells and directs the battle just as coaches direct players on team. The Killer T-cells attack and destroys the cancer cells. They continue to attach until the Regulator T-cell shows up to tell them to stop (This occurs when there are no more cancer cells/ germs around).
ACT III: Introducing B-cells
White blood cells that attack specific germs or make antibodies that destroy those germs are called Lymphocytes. Lymphocytes hang out in lymph nodes until they are called to action.
B-cells are lymphocytes that are made in the bone marrow and they mature there. Then they move to lymph nodes to wait until they are needed. B-cells produce chemicals called antibodies that destroy pathogens. Each antibody is specific to a particular virus or bacteria. So, let’s say that big bad GERM X enters your body. A Helper T-cell (This type of cell is also a lymphocyte, but it’s the leader/command center of the immune system) calls in B-cells and tells them to make specific antibodies to destroy GERM X. B-cells release the antibodies which attack GERM X and destroys it. When the infection is over, B-cells remember how to make that specific antibody so if GERM X ever enters the body again, it can produce the antibody more rapidly and destroy the pathogen faster.
I didn’t have my video camera for Block II, but here are some pictures!