Featured in PASCO’s Advanced Biology through Inquiry Teacher Guide
This manual features 22 challenging, standards-based, inquiry lab activities for AP, IB, and honors programs.
Students use multiple temperature probes simultaneously to investigate the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis when subjected to a cold stimulus.
Students investigate the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis with regard to body temperature by testing the body's response to a cold stimulus. They use multiple temperature probes to simultaneously measure the surface temperature of the skin at two locations and relate the results to thermoregulation, which is controlled by the hypothalamus—the hypothalamus receives information from nerves which detect a stimulus in the external environment, interprets information, and then responds by sending signals via efferent nerves to multiple organ systems. Students should find that in response to the cold stimulus, the body adjusts blood flow to maintain homeostasis, keeping the body's core temperature near 37 °C.
When working with human subjects, the data is rarely as “clean” as when working with enzymes, germinating seeds, or other biological samples. Expect results to vary among students and groups; however, all students and groups should see temperature changes that relate to a response to the ice water stimulus. Variability in data can lead to rich classroom discussions that focus students on graph analysis and using evidence to support their claims. For student-designed experiments, encourage students to use a “large” sample size of test subjects and to acquire data from multiple trials that can be averaged.
This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.