Endocrine System Mix and Match
The endocrine system can be challenging for students. Just keeping the glands and hormones straight is hard enough but adding in functions of hormones and diseases can be overwhelming! Additionally, many classrooms lack sufficient models that allow students to work “hands on”. This activity helps students learn and make connections between endocrine organs, hormones, locations, functions and diseases. Students can work individually or in teams, thereby promoting teamwork and discussion.
You will receive the following:
1. Powerpoint presentation (33 pages) with the cards to print, laminate and cut. There are four cards to a page but you can modify the size of the cards, shape and colors any way you wish. The cards included are:
o 12 cards with gland names in blue (Note: I have included a card “Pituitary Gland” but also two other cards “Anterior Pituitary Gland” and “Posterior Pituitary Gland” to give you flexibility in the level of detail).
o 21 cards with hormone names in red
o 10 cards with a description of gland location in green
o 20 cards with target cell and/or action in purple
o 14 cards with endocrine disorders in orange
o 12 large arrows and 45 small arrows
2. Student worksheet and instructor key (2 pages). This is included as both a .pdf file and a Word document. This worksheet guides students through various activities using the cards. Three of the questions are very general (“Using your cards, match the hormone with its action.”). Other scenarios are very specific that require students to generate a pathway using the cards and arrows. There are thirteen scenarios in the student worksheet. Here is an example of the instructions and two of the scenarios.
“For each scenario listed below, use your cards to generate a pathway to respond to the stimulus. Be sure to include the name of the gland(s), the hormone release, the target organ and the action that occurs as a result.
You eat a candy bar and your blood glucose levels rise.
A person is dealing with the long term stress of dealing with an aging parent.”
This activity can be used in many ways:
Prior to Instruction: Rather than presenting the endocrine system to the students, have the students take the initiative with their textbook (or online resources). After a brief overview of the endocrine system, ask students to use the cards to trace the connections from glands to various organs, learning the hormones along the way. You can make this as easy or difficult for students as you wish by limiting the cards for the first time through. For example, you may wish to give students only the cards with the glands and hormones on them to “mix and match”. Or you may decide to give them only the glands and a description of the anatomy. Once students have mastered this you can add the hormones and the disorders.
Review after Instruction: After a presentation of the endocrine system, the cards can be used to help students master the pathways from glands to organs and memorize the hormones and their function. With the help of the instructor guide, you can “assign” each group a gland and then have each present their “pathway” to the class.
Class Presentation: Sometimes I will assign a group of students a specific gland for which they need to set up the pathway, take pictures with their phones, put together a presentation and present it to the class. This encourages students in their mastery of course content as well as teamwork, computer skills and public speaking skills.
Exams: You can even use these cards on lab practical exams!
Grades: This activity is best used for high school students in General Biology or Anatomy and Physiology. Additionally, this activity has been used in college level Anatomy and Physiology courses. It is especially well-suited for a community college course in Anatomy and Physiology that serve as pre-requisites for nursing and other allied health fields.
Time: Due to its versatility, students could spend only 30 minutes or up to 90 minutes depending on how the instructor prefers to utilize the activity. It can also be split over two to three class periods to reinforce concepts and improve mastery.
Student Preparation: Students can either be well-prepared with a background in the endocrine system or use this activity as a “starting place” to organize the material, depending on the instructor’s preference.
Standards: Life Science: Comparative Anatomy and Physiology
Grades 9-12 – use as review of previous material
• Describe how the nervous and endocrine systems coordinate various body functions.
College – Use as an introductory tool or review exercise
Materials Needed: only a flat clean space to lay out cards (once they have been printed, laminated and cut.) I recommend having a set of cards for every group of 4-6 students.
I’d love to hear your feedback on this activity!