Charles Drew: The Man Who Made Blood Bankable

Charles Drew: The Man Who Made Blood Bankable

Charles Drew: The Man Who Made Blood Bankable

Hey there science enthusiasts! Today we're going to learn about a pretty awesome scientist named Charles Drew. 

Charles Drew was born in 1904 in Washington D.C. and from a young age, he had a passion for science, specifically medicine. He attended Amherst College in Massachusetts and later went on to study at McGill University in Canada where he earned his medical degree.

But it wasn't until he started working on a research project at Columbia University in New York  that Drew made his biggest impact on the world. The project was focused on finding a way to preserve blood for transfusions, which at the time was a major problem. Drew developed a technique for separating plasma (the liquid part of blood) from the red and white blood cells. This allowed the plasma to be stored for much longer periods of time than whole blood.

Thanks to Drew's research, blood banks were born! His technique for blood preservation made it possible for people to receive blood transfusions no matter where they were. This was especially important during World War II, when soldiers needed blood transfusions but were often far from blood reserves.

But Charles Drew's contributions to science didn't stop there. He also helped to establish the American Red Cross Blood Bank and was appointed as its first director. He organized the first large-scale blood drive and trained other doctors in his technique for blood preservation.

It's hard to overstate just how important Charles Drew's work was. Thanks to him, countless lives have been saved over the years. And that's pretty darn cool if you ask us!

Unfortunately, Charles Drew didn't live to see the full impact of his work. He died in a car accident in 1950 at the age of 46, but his legacy lives on. He is still remembered today as a pioneer in the field of blood banking.

So next time you or someone you know receives a blood transfusion, remember Charles Drew and the groundbreaking work he did. He truly made a difference in the world, and it's thanks to him we have a reliable blood banking system today.


The Blood Typing Game
Explain to the children that Charles Drew was a scientist who made important contributions to the field of medicine and blood banks & transfusions.

Explain to the children that blood banks are places where blood is collected, stored, and distributed to help people who need blood transfusions.

Materials needed:
  • red, yellow, and blue food coloring
  • 4 clear cups or bowls
  • water
  • white printer paper or cardstock
  • Masking tape
  • Markers
  • 4 droppers or pipettes
  • chart with blood types (included)
  • Arrrgh Mighty Observation Journal (Optional)

What can you spy with your scientific eye? Who’s ready to learn to see how blood is composed? Let’s go!


  1. Place a piece of masking tape on each cup or bowl.
  2. Label 1 cup or bowl “O”.
  3. Label 1 cup or bowl “A”.
  4. Label 1 cup or bowl “B”.
  5. Label 1 cup or bowl “AB”.

  6. Pour the same amount of water in each of the 4 cups or bowls.

  7. Do not add any food coloring to the remaining cup or bowl labeled “Type O blood”.

  8. Have the children create "Type A blood" by adding yellow food coloring to 1 cup or bowl.

  9. Have the children create "Type B blood" by adding blue food coloring to 1 cup or bowl.

  10. Have the children create "Type AB blood" by adding green food coloring to 1 cup or bowl.

  11. Have the children use droppers or pipettes to place drops of their "blood" onto white paper or cardstock and label each drop accordingly with a marker.

  12. Have the children observe the colors of their "blood" and compare them to each other to identify the different blood types (A, B, AB, and O).

  13. Have the children mix blood types on their paper and observe whether or not the color changes. 

  14. Have children match their "blood" types with the chart of blood types (included).

  15. Optional: Grab your Arrrgh Mighty Observation Journal and describe or draw what you see.

  16. Discuss the importance of blood typing in transfusions and how Charles Drew's work on blood banks helped save lives.

This activity is a fun and interactive way to introduce the concept of blood typing and its importance in the field of medicine, and to introduce Charles Drew's significant contributions to the field of blood transfusions.



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