Exploring Homeostasis And Feedback Loops With Diabetes
Subject: Biology,Environmental Science
Time: 10 (45-50 minute) class periods
High School Honors Biology
This series of lessons is designed to help students understand how negative feedback loops help to maintain a dynamic equilibrium within the human body. Students will engage in 3-D lessons and activities to recognize that the function of the endocrine system is to regulate and coordinate multiple organ systems in order to preserve homeostasis. Students will learn about the role of glucose as an energy molecule in our body and the hormone/receptor mediated mechanism that controls the molecule's uptake into cells. Students will use modeling software to understand the constant flux of hormones and glucose levels that, over time, produce a stable system.
Note: This unit assumes a pre & post assessment (2 class periods total)
In the first lesson, students are introduced to the idea of diabetes by watching a short video and generating questions about the disease that will be revisited throughout the unit. Students will create an initial explanatory model of how they think blood glucose levels are regulated within the body and how diabetes represents a system out of balance.
In this lesson, students will assume the role of a diagnostician and complete a hands-on lab investigation to "confirm" that a patient has diabetes through urinalysis. Students will begin to understand the ways in which doctors check for vital signs, or a set of measurements within a narrow range, that tell them if a patient's body system is out of balance. Students will try to connect their understanding of a previous unit through a series of homework questions that connect diabetes symptoms to body systems.
Students will explore the different energy molecules that the human body uses for metabolic processes. Students will analyze and interpret data and text to understand what tissues of the body use glucose as their energy molecule and create a diagram to show the allocation of glucose throughout the different parts of the body.
Students will complete a reading and analyze graphs to understand how the body maintains stability the internal environment by responding to changes in the external environment. Students will use evidenced gathered in this activity to support the previously stated claim.
Students will conduct a set of investigations to help them understand that the human body regulates internal conditions as external conditions change. Students will create and analyze graphs to support their claim that the human body has a set point for internal conditions such as temperature, pH, heart/breathing rate, etc.
Students will participate in a hands on activity to understand how the endocrine system relays messages from the brain to the target organs. Students will create paper models of the interaction between organs, receptors and organic molecules based on given scenarios.
Students will complete a reading and set of questions to understand the hormone/receptor mediated mechanism of glucose regulation. Students will understand how insulin and glucagon communicate to a cell to release/take up glucose.
Students will use a computer model to understand negative feedback loops. Students will manipulate the amount of glucose within the model to see how the system stabilizes by changing the levels of the hormones insulin and glucagon to elicit a cellular response.
This lesson helps students to understand the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Once students have a better understanding of the different mechanisms between the two forms of the disease, they will analyze graphs and texts to demonstrate understanding.
Students will participate in a jigsaw activity to learn about the ways in which Diabetes 1 and 2 differ and the risk factors associated with both diseases. After the students have gathered enough information, they will revise their initial explanatory models to demonstrate a full understanding of the mechanism of the disease.
- Life Science
- [HS-LS2] Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
- NGSS Crosscutting Concept
- Stability and Change
- NGSS Practice
- Asking Questions, Defining Problems
- Using Models
- Analyzing Data
Computational Thinking in STEM
- Modeling and Simulation Practices
- Using Computational Models to Understand a Concept
- Systems Thinking Practices
- Investigating a Complex System as a Whole
- Understanding the Relationships within a System
- Data Practices
- Analyzing Data
These lessons utilize resources from Project Neuron, a curriculum program developed by the University of Illinois, and HASPI (Health and Science Pipeline Initiatives).
Computational Thinking in Science and Math
Lesson 1: Living with Diabetes
In the lesson that follows, you will watch two videos of diabetic patients and create an initial model of what you think may be happening inside their bodies.