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ETD 65: A. WHat are some major Resp, Circ, + Digestive Differences between Tadpoles, Adult Frogs, + Humans? B. Why is Congenital Heart Disease so common in human infants?
April 23, 2013 at 10:37am


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Adilah M
June 04, 2013 at 8:08pm

Adilah taught about the differences between the respiratory, digestive and circulatory systems of tadpoles, frogs and humans. She told me about how tadpoles have two chambered hearts, frogs have three chambered hearts and humans have four chambered hearts. She also told me about how tadpoles have long digestive tracts, frogs have short digestive tracts and humans have medium length digestive tracts. Additionally, she also told me about some differences in breathing and oxygen consumption processes between tadpoles, frogs and humans. Another thing she talked to me about was congenital heart disease. She told me that people who are born with congenital heart disease are born with hearts very similar to frog hearts. ----------------------------------------------------------- My mom found the discussion very interesting. She asked me exactly how common congenital heart disease was. After some research I found out that it is one of the most common birth defects and that 9 out of every 1000 infants born have it. This is something new I also learned.

Madison Boggan
April 19, 2015 at 2:04pm

Parent: I never quite knew what congenital heart disease was although I had heard the term a lot so it was interesting to learn that it is a lack of gene being turned on causing a 3.5 chambered heart instead of a 4 chambered heart like we need. Maddie taught me about an ice cream cone analogy to coincide with his concept.

Student: I taught my dad that congenital heart disease can be compared to too much ice cream in too small of a cone in the sense that the design is not suitable for the purpose. Our 4 chambered hearts are designed for a fast paced life style and the ability to be endothermic with a high metabolism however, this doesn't work with a mere 3.5 chambered heart. Similarly, an ice cream cone that is too small is inadequate in holding the amount of ice cream that you need. You do NEED that amount of ice cream (like as humans we NEED our bodies to function at the rate a 4 chambered heart can handle) but if we don't have that size of cone (or 4 chambered heart) then the design / form does not fit the function.

Talesh Patel
May 02, 2015 at 9:37pm

Student: Tadpoles, frogs, and humans have few differences in their respiratory, digestive, and circulatory systems. 

Tadpoles have 2 chambered hearts like fish that allow them to breathe through gills. Similarly frogs have 3 chambered hearts, and both gills and lungs that allow them to spend time both on land and in the water. Humans have a complex 4 chambered heart that allows them to efficiently live on land, but they lack gills to breath underwater. Tadpoles also have a very long digestive tract that is efficient for digesting protein-rich plants. Frogs have a short digestive tract that isn't as efficient, and humans are right in the middle, with a medium sized digestive tract. 

Congenital heart disease is a disease that affects infants and young children by typically having a deformed heart where the wall isn't present and they only have 3 chambers. This heart is not efficient enough and can cause many issues as it affects 8 of every 1000 infants (kidshealth.org).Parent: Talesh explained with diagrams the heart chambers of a tadpole, a frog and a human heart.  He explained very clearly how tadpoles have two chambers, frogs have three chambers and a human heart has four. He also told me that the while i would have thought the human digestive system was the longest, he explained that the tadpole had a longer digestive system based on it's size.  I also learned about congenital  heart failure. He first defined for me what congenital meant, and then explained that it can be a result of poor nutrition on the part of the mother during pregnancy.

Calista Moore
May 01, 2016 at 2:48pm

Student: I stressed that the differences between each system of a tadpole, frog, and human are explained by how each survives which makes it easier to understand. Tadpoles don't have lungs because they live underwater while frogs have small lungs because they live both terrestrially and aquatically. Humans are only terrestrial so human lungs are larger in comparison to their body because it is the way that they consume oxygen. Human hearts have more chambers because they are endothermic and have to pump oxygen more efficiently to their body than frogs or tadpoles which can afford to have 3 or 2 chamber hearts. The digestive system of a tadpole is proportionally larger because it has to digest plant matter whereas frogs have a smaller digestive tract because they are carnivores and proteins are easier to digest. Humans have medium-sized digestive tract to digest both proteins and plant matter because they are omnivores. Congenital heart disease occurs when the gene for the protein that makes up the septum in the heart is not turned on by the transcription factor and the baby is born with a heart that mixes up oxygen-rich blood and oxygen-poor blood, thus transporting oxygen less efficiently. This is ok for reptiles but since humans are endothermic it does not work.

Parent: It was very interesting to be reminded of how our bodies are designed to function within the environment in which we live, such as the respiratory system in humans versus in tadpoles and frogs. I learned that the digestive system in a tadpole is the longest since it is needed to digest only plant matter. Learning about what causes congenital heart disease in humans was also very interesting.  

Darci Kudrna
May 16, 2016 at 9:19pm

Parent:  Darci taught me about some of the basic differences between tadpoles, frogs, and humans. As far as respiratory, tadpoles have gills and skin, frogs have skin and lungs, and humans have lungs and diaphragms. Circulatory system: tadpoles have two chambered hearts, frogs have a three chambered heart, and humans have a four chambered heart. Intestines: tadpoles have the longest, and their lungs are included in them. Frogs have slightly shortened intestines and humans have the most complex since we have to be able to digest not only plants but meats as well. For the second question, about congenial heart disease in children, it is common because sometimes there is something wrong with a translation factor, and basically these children are born with three and a half chambers instead of four chambers in their heart, making it very hard to sustain their own body heat, blood flow, and lung capacity.


Student: I explained the similarities and differences of each system in each type of animal and why their structure works best for them. It was easiest to relate to humans and their similarities between frogs and tadpoles and seemed easier to understand. For the congenital heart failure question it was hard to explain why without teaching all of transcription and translation. I explained how a three chambered heart can only work for reptiles because they are ectothermic and so humans are unable to generate enough heat to sustain themselves.

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