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Erythropoietin

by Greg Crowther


Context

A short song about erythropoietin ("epo" for short) written for Biology 220 at the University of Washington. Erythropoietin is the hormone that stimulates the production of new erythrocytes (red blood cells, or RBCs).


Lyrics

Epo, epo ... epo!
(Epo, epo ... epo!)
Kidneys talk to ... marrow!
(Kidneys talk to ... marrow!)

The marrow ... has cells that form erythrocytes,
Which are designed just right
To carry O2.
But if ... production goes too rapidly,
Then blood viscosity
Could slow the flow-through.

Epo, epo ... epo!
(Epo, epo ... epo!)
Canít be too high ... or too low!
(Canít be too high ... or too low!)
Oh no!


Other Files

MP3 (demo)

sheet music (with melody play-back)


Lesson Plan

Songs like this one can be used during class meetings and/or in homework assignments. Either way, the song will be most impactful if students DO something with it, as opposed to just listening.

An initial, simple follow-up activity could be to answer the study questions below. A more extensive interaction with the song might entail (A) learning to sing it, using the audio file and/or sheet music as a guide, or (B) designing kinesthetic movements ("dance moves") to embody it. The latter activity should begin with students identifying the most important or most challenging content of the song, and deciding how to illustrate that particular content.


Study Questions

(1) What does "kidneys talk to marrow" mean?

(2) By what other common name are erythrocytes known?

(3) Where in the erythrocytes does the oxygen bind?

(4) Why does the song claim that epo "can't be too high ... or too low"?

(Answers may be found on the answers page.)