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"Connecting Concepts: Animal Physiology/Homeostasis" icon

Connecting Concepts: Animal Physiology/Homeostasis

This tutorial/simulation consists of three topics. In topic 1, students learn how blood glucose, pH, and other variables are maintained at stable levels by homeostasis, and what conditions result from imbalances in the variables. Students follow Ben, a fellow “student,” through a bad day in which they interpret Ben’s physiological reactions and determine how his organs and organ systems will interact to restore his homeostasis. Students encounter realistic, yet humorous situations that lead to changes in Ben’s blood pressure, pH, glucose, osmolarity, and body temperature. They then select the appropriate physiological inputs that will restore Ben’s homeostasis in each situation. In topic 2, students dive deep inside Ben to learn how messenger molecules of the nervous and endocrine system were working to carry signals throughout Ben’s body to restore his homeostasis in the previous topic. Students 1) step through animations of signaling between nervous and endocrine systems and target organs, learning which signals are fast and which are slow; 2) label events in a signal relay between the brain, pituitary gland, and kidney; and 3) classify descriptions of neurotransmitters or hormones based on properties such as receptor specificity and delivery to target organs. In topic 3, students learn about negative feedback regulation of glucose and play the role of doctor to determine if Ben has diabetes. Students will: 1) learn about symptoms and causes of diabetes; 2) step through an animation depicting feedback regulation by insulin; and 3) exercise their clinical thinking skills by completing a case study in which they examine Ben’s symptoms and family history of diabetes, interpret the result of his glucose tolerance test, and answer his questions about his condition and treatment options.

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Marty Zahn
Marty Zahn (Retired Faculty)
7 years ago

A well written, highly interactive exercise that investigate homeostasis. Uses a variety of  examples starting with a "typical" bad day in the life of a student. This is a vital and not easily understood concept.  Very well written and well organized. Requires students to draw conclusions from information presented.

Technical Remarks:

Requires Flash player

Used in course? Yes
Time spent reviewing site: 1/2 hour