Examination of Mammalian Blood

A CIBT Lab Exercise in Chemistry for Biology



In these exercises, students investigate some of the properties of mammalian blood in order to better understand:

  • how the different blood cell types and plasma contribute to the function of blood
  • how the osmotic pressure and composition of body fluids affect the volume of cells
  • how blood clots form, and
  • how the oxygen carrying capacity of blood is determined.

These exercises provide students opportunities to examine living tissue, make quantitative measurements that can be interpreted graphically and to design their own investigations of the properties of blood.


Appropriate Levels

Life Science, Biology, Honors, AP, and Tech prep, depending upon the level of discussion and types of questions asked.


Time Required

Before class: It is necessary to obtain animal blood for use in these labs, which requires prior coordination with a supplier. A number of salt solutions that can be made up well in advance of the lab are required.
In class: The lab can be divided into 4 independent activities each requiring one normal class period. It is possible to combine elements from different sections to customize the exercise to meet the needs of individual classes.

Copyright for this material is held by Cornell University, the Cornell Institute for Biology Teachers (CIBT), the Center for Nanoscale Systems Institute for Physics Teachers (CIPT), and or West Hill Biological Resources, Inc., 2014. This work may be copied by the original recipient from this web site to provide copies for users working under the direct supervision of the original recipient. All other redistribution of this content without the express written permission of the copyright holder(s) is prohibited.

Price:       No Charge


Mark Baustian, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Joseph Zuniga, Wilson Magnet High School, Rochester, NY