Ever wonder where the idea for bloodmobiles came from or how researchers learned to store blood? This week for Black History Month we’re spotlighting Charles Richard Drew, a surgeon, and medical researcher, who is credited for saving millions of lives during World War II with his innovative design for large scale storing and preserving of blood thus saving many British soldiers and civilians. In 1940, as Drew was traveling across the United States on a mission to collect blood for the British soldiers he had the great idea to use refrigerated automobiles to collect and store blood. These later became known as bloodmobiles. 

Protesting Racial Segregation

Drew is also known for his protesting the racial segregation of blood donations stating there was a lack of scientific research to support such findings. Charles Drew died on April 1, 1950 in a fatal car crash, but with every sighting of a bloodmobile, we can thank him for the immeasurable number of lives saved from blood storage and preservation.


“The blood of individual human beings may differ from blood groupings, but there is absolutely no scientific basis to indicate any difference in human blood from race to race.”

Classroom Enrichment Activity:

Ask your students to research the following questions to better understand how blood cells differentiate into different types for the specific functions they perform:

What are the major cell types differentiated in human blood, and what are their functions?
What organs are involved with the production and transport of blood in the body?
What problems can develop that affect the cells of the blood?

Download our FREE enrichment activity worksheet entitled Blood is a Tissue from the middle grades portion of our K-8 Elevate Science program to help guide the discussion. 

Request a FREE Demo of Elevate Science K-8 for your classroom today!

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Michael Comer

Michael Comer

STEM Author

Note: Fresh Ideas for Teaching blog contributors have been compensated for sharing personal teaching experiences on our blog. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.

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