Homeo-What? Tips on Teaching Homeostasis to Your Adult Students

Posted by on March 15th, 2016

Homeostasis comes from the Greek words “homeo,” which means similar or the same, and “stasis,” which means stable. It encompasses how human bodies regulate their selves so that the body maintains a stable and constant condition. The topic is a component of high school equivalency tests. Below are some tips that will help you teach homeostasis to your adult students.

Get Visual

Whether it is an illustration of body functions, an image of an area of the body, or a video of body processes, most adults will find it easier and quicker to grasp concepts visually. Make use of resources and materials you can find online and share them with your adult students. You can also make your own PowerPoint presentations of images or videos. YouTube is a great resource for educational videos on homeostasis.


Use Models

Models that are analogies to real life scenarios make it easier for students to grasp complex topics like homeostasis. Think of other systems or models that will similarly represent how homeostasis regulates the body and maintains its balance.

Kevin Patton‘s models compare homeostasis to: the fishbowl which likens the human body to an aquarium, the engineered control system which likens the body to an engineered thermostat, and the Wallenda model which likens the body to the famous family of circus wire-walkers.


Focus on Diseases

Homeostasis maintains balance in the body. Provide a different perspective of the importance of homeostasis by focusing on what happens when balance is not maintained. Discuss various diseases that stem from homeostatic imbalance in the body such as diabetes, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, gout, and dehydration. Talk about the imbalance that caused the disease and how maintaining the balance can help prevent or resolve health issues.


Create a Cause and Effect Chart

Homeostatic functions rely heavily on feedback – both positive and negative. Highlight this aspect by giving a few examples of how the body responds in certain conditions. For example, body temperature increases as a result of of exercise. Or, when you eat food high in sugar you may get a headache. Discuss other scenarios to include in a cause and effect chart.


Get Physical

Illustrate how homeostasis works to maintain balance in the body with actual demonstrations of its functions. Use various activities that will allow your students to observe how their bodies try to maintain its balance. One activity is to ask your students to take their resting pulse rate, to do several jumping jacks for one minute, and then to take their pulse rate again. Another activity is to observe the reactions of their pupils to different lighting situations. Generate several other activities that demonstrate homeostatic functions in the body and ask your students to try them out.


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