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Lesson Plan: Homeostasis as a Characteristic of Life

written by: Kathy Foust • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 2/14/2012

Use this simplified lesson plan to give your students a working knowledge of the homeostatic function as it applies to the characteristics of life. This lesson plan also explains response to stimuli and how it too can apply to the homeostatic function.

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    Prior Knowledge of the Characteristics of Life

    Before beginning this lesson plan that places a primary focus on the homeostatic function as it pertains to the characteristics of life, teachers should review the first lesson plan in this series, the Characteristics of Life lesson plan. The Characteristics of Life lesson plan explains what the characteristics of living things are and offers a brief overview on those characteristics as they pertain to living things. This Homeostatic Lesson Plan encourages students to go into detail about the homeostatic function as well as the ability of living things to respond to stimuli.

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    What is the Homeostatic Function?

    To use this homeostasis lesson plan, ask students if they have ever had a temperature or heard of a metabolism. Allow students to discuss these two concepts and talk with them to explain that the homeostatic function is the way our bodies maintain a relative temperature. Metabolism often has an effect on out temperatures and how our internal balance functions. The body also relies on homeostatic function as a way to protect the internal organs from the environment. Explain to students that the way living things respond to stimuli is often a natural way to maintain homeostatic function. For example,the body will jerk away from something that is too hot, not only to protect the skin, but by subjecting the skin to something painful, there is always the potential for the internal organs to eventually be subjected to something harmful. Thus we have a living thing's response to stimuli. To further explain homeostatic function, discuss the following questions.

    • What happens when a body goes into shock? Answer: The body has recognized that some trauma has occurred. The appendages begin to get colder as the body places focus on the organs in the body and tries to maintain their homeostatic function. This is the body's way of protecting the items that are vital to the continued survival of the individual.
    • Why do people sweat? Answer: Sweat is the bodies natural air conditioner and another way of maintaining the homeostatic function. If we were to become to hot, we would die.

    Homeostasis is about more than just temperature though. It is about regulating the functions of the body as well. All organs play a role in the homeostatic function. Review the following functions of the individual systems with your class.

    • Digestive- Assures that the body has nutrient molecules.
    • Cardiovascular- Transports the nutrient molecules through the body.
    • Urinary- Rids system of metabolic waste.
    • Nervous and endocrine- Make sure all the other systems are dong what they are supposed to do.

    After reviewing the information above with your students, continue on with the activity listed in the next section.

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    Homeostasis Activity

    In order for students to better understand the homeostatic function, have them perform one or more of the activities listed below. These activities were to enable students to take a closer look at how each system plays a part in homeostasis. Before asking students to complete the activities, remind them homeostasis is defined as the relative constancy of the body's internal environment and that every system of the body plays a role in this.

    1. Pick a body system and explain how this body system helps to maintain homeostasis within the body. For example, what role does the cardiovascular system play in the homeostasis of the body. The essay should include the role the system plays as well as 3 examples of ways in which this system may be damaged so as to not be able to fulfill its role in the homeostatic function. For example, if a lung collapses, how does this effect the homeostasis of the body?
    2. Research a disease and explain what body system the disease impacts as well as how it relates to homeostasis.
    3. Draw a diagram that represents the process of homeostasis that includes the control center, sensor, stimulus, effect, normal temperature, negative feedback and positive feedback.

Characteristics of Life Series

The Characterisitcs of Life Series was created to assist Biology Teachers as they introduce and explain the characteristics of life to their students. Add this Biology Lesson Plan to your Biology curriculu, today.
  1. Introducing the Characteristics of Life
  2. Science Lesson Plan: Biological Organization
  3. Lesson Plan: Reproduction in Biology
  4. Lesson Plan: Homeostasis as a Characteristic of Life
  5. Biology Lesson Plan: How Animals & Organisms Adapt