In this activity, students need to model blood calcium homeostasis--the intricate interplay between PTH, calcitonin, bone cells, the kidneys, and the small intestines--by using a diagram to explain how the body stays in balance.
Students are given a chart to guide their research; once they complete the research, they use it to work through and understand the diagram (see preview file for the image). They then need to explain the diagram to you in a conference.
This is a great activity that fits well in either the skeletal system or the endocrine system. I cover the skeletal system early in the course and love using this as an "intro" to homeostasis diagrams and antagonistic hormones. When we reach the endocrine system later in the year, students have a MUCH better understanding of these concepts, they can interpret diagrams much better, and they have the chance to connect new knowledge to old knowledge learned earlier in the year.
The Word Doc includes the following items:
- Student research sheet
- Homeostasis diagram and conference rubric
- Notes and suggestions about implementation of the activity/a schedule
- Information about suing the rubric and grading
- A filled-in research sheet with the information that students should end up finding.
This activity is a great way to have students…
1) learn how to read and process challenging diagrams that seem really overwhelming at first.
2) really understand blood calcium level homeostasis at a deep level, as they are in charge of researching and synthesizing the information themselves—they’re not just given the info. They have to work to understand it.
3) see how no body system works alone—this model connects the skeletal, cardiovascular, endocrine, and urinary systems.
It’s a great activity—I love it! My students know the information so much better because they WORK to understand it, rather than me just TELLING them about it!!!
Note: I also sell this product at a slightly higher price WITH the answer key