As a biology teacher, when I introduce the characteristics of life at the beginning of the year we discuss the term homeostasis. Students seem to remember the term for about a week, and it vanishes from their memory. When we could circle back to the term during cells (when observing water rushing in and out of cells during osmosis), very few students would remember the term.
Even though homeostasis is something they focus more on in anatomy, I decided I wanted to dive a little deeper into the topic with my biology students to make it "stick." Instead of just discussing it as a characteristic of life and moving on, I added some fun activities to help them remember it better. It has definitely helped!
Here is a round-up of resources you can use while teaching homeostasis:
1. AMOEBA SISTERS- This Youtube video may go into a little more depth than biology teachers need to cover, but it's still a great video. They also have worksheets that accompany the videos on their website.
2. PBS INTERACTIVE- Here is a quick interactive from PBS you can use with students. In this "body control center" activity students need to monitor the person's pulse, oxygen, blood pressure, body temperature, and glucose level. Students will learn that our body systems and responses are all connected.
3. BIOMAN INTERACTIVE- This "endocrine ed" interactive goes into more detail than the PBS version, so if you are looking for a more detailed virtual activity, be sure to check it out.
4. OSMOSIS- If your students know how to use microscopes, you can have them observe a wet mount of plant cells (elodea works great!) in fresh water and salt water. What happens to the cells when you add salt water and why? What would happen if you drank salt water?
5. HOMER-OSTASIS LAB- This is a popular lab where students need to keep Homer Simpson alive for 5 minutes by monitoring his temperature, water level and concentration. There are a few versions of this lab floating around on the internet, you can find one version here.
6. CASE STUDIES- If you haven't seen University of Buffalo's case studies, then you need to check them out! (The case studies are all free, and there is a 1 time yearly fee for the answer keys). When you search for homeostasis case studies, many pop up that may be too difficult for high school biology students, but you could check out "Do grasshoppers sweat?" or "The 2000 meter row."
7. ARTICLE- Here is a one page reading comprehension on homeostasis by Elly Thorson that is free on teachers pay teachers.
8. STATION LAB- Looking to have your students get up and moving around the room? In this engaging station activity, students will rotate through 10 stations and complete a quick activity relating to homeostasis at each station.
I hope those are useful for you! If you want to check out ideas for teaching the characteristics of life, head over to this blog post!