Science Talkies is a weekly documentary screening on science and other related topics. It is open to all teachers, parents, students and other science enthusiasts. This was the first session of this weekly forum.
About the documentary- “The Living Body- Our Extraordinary Life”, is the story of a human life, from birth to death, told from within the body.
Highlights of the discussion
Teachers noticed that the posture in which woman delivers a baby seems different from what is practiced in India. A teacher recalled how nurses in Pondicherry at times sit on the abdomen of the mother to push the baby out of her womb
What happens during the baby’s first cry?
Inside the womb, the lungs are not functional; it is filled with amniotic fluid. As soon as the baby comes out, the lungs needs to be kick started for it to live. This happens due to an adrenalin rush – more intense than what we experience during a heart attack! This surge of adrenalin fills the blood stream. The muscles we need to breathe suddenly go into a spasm and the lungs flutter into life and helps the baby draw its first breath.
Why do we always wrap a newborn baby?
The hypothalamus, which is responsible for temperature control, is not fully developed in newborn. Hence, the difference in body temperature is a shock to the system. To balance this out, babies have a layer of brown fat, which generates heat to keep them warm. We also wrap and cover babies to protect them from experiencing this shock, as the temperature in the womb is warmer than the outside.
Other related discussions
- Sensory organs – How does a baby identify its mother, when does its vision and other sense organs develop etc.
- Digestive system - the role of pancreatic and bile juices, process of absorption in the small and large intestine, what causes the typical colour of stool etc.
- Nervous system - how memories are formed, how neurons transmit signals and how alcohol affects these nerve impulses etc.
- Immune system- how mother’s milk helps is defending against the pathogen in infants since it has a very underdeveloped immune system, development of acquired immunity, role of antibiotics etc.
- Old age complications- how bone weakens as the age progresses, fat accumulation, the last organ that stops working after death etc.
Teachers felt that certain parts (digestive system, skeletal system, vision) of the documentary would be useful to teach in the classroom. They also appreciated certain visuals that were shown in the it. For example, the inverted images formed in the retina is very hard to explain whereas the video has depicted it very well and will be easy for students to comprehend. Likewise, the images of cell division – mitosis were also powerful.