5 Creative Ways to Teach Thermal Homeostasis to Help Students Understand

Akanksha Saxena

In the face of a rapidly changing climate, the importance of thermal homeostasis and thermoregulation cannot be overstated. As global temperatures rise, the delicate balance of our body's internal temperature becomes increasingly vital for survival. Our bodies possess incredible mechanisms to regulate and adapt to fluctuating environmental conditions. From the ‘activation of sweat glands’ to the ‘dilation of blood vessels’, these processes aim to maintain equilibrium and protect us from the harmful effects of extreme heat or cold. 

Teaching this topic to students can become a task because of numerous reasons like abstract concepts, complex mechanisms, an intrinsic content-heavy nature, and lack of visualization tools which is why we have brought 5 creative ways to teach this topic to students in your next session.

1. Use Interactive Models and Simulations

Using Interactive Models and Simulations is highly beneficial for teaching about thermal homeostasis in light of climate change. These tools provide a dynamic and immersive learning environment where students can actively interact with variables related to temperature, heat exchange, and physiological responses. 

By engaging with interactive models, students can visualize abstract concepts which are otherwise the most challenging part of teaching this topic.

They can also observe real-time simulations of thermoregulatory processes and understand the impact of changing climate conditions on organisms' ability to maintain thermal balance. Such interactive model-based learning is also offered by Labster in the form of a Thermal Homeostasis Simulation that can help you teach your students more effectively. 

2. Learning with Games and Activities

As modern-day problems call for modern-day solutions, we recommend educators harness the power of ed-games to achieve better teaching outcomes when educating their students about thermal homeostasis.

Research has shown that incorporating educational games and activities into the curriculum enhances student engagement, motivation, and knowledge retention. In an interesting game-based activity by Labster, students are allowed to develop a deeper understanding of the subject. As students engage with the gamified elements, they comprehend the intricacies of the subject and make informed predictions about how deer respond to climate change in the North. 

3. Infusing Technology into Study Plans

Educators can transform the educational sector by embracing the power of virtual reality (VR) simulations that immerse students in interactive environments, enabling them to witness thermoregulatory processes firsthand. As next-generation educators, you can also explore the possibilities of augmented reality (AR) apps that overlay digital content onto the real world, providing a visual representation of thermal mechanisms.

While we understand that not all parts of the world have access to VR and AR right now, a basic internet facility can help you connect with us at Labster. To bring education equity to the world, we have designed dynamic online modules featuring captivating animations, videos, and interactive quizzes in the form of our Thermal Homeostasis Virtual Lab. As students correlate the thermogenic heat production and survival capabilities of deer, their interest in the topic can be piqued.

Temperature and moose outside
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4. Inspiring Learners by Connecting to Career Prospects

Connecting the dots between a topic and its real-world usage in a professional domain is the biggest motivator for students to learn it. This can be done by showing your students the practical relevance of thermal homeostasis in different career prospects tied to climate change. 

You can also emphasize the significance of thermal regulation knowledge in disciplines like environmental science, ecological research, animal physiology, and climate studies. Several online webinars can be enlightening for your students like the “Thermal Physiology Webinar” by Inside Scientific where Dr. M. Reitman and Dr. O. Gavrilova discuss the environmental temperature effects on mice’s energy expenditure.

5. Connecting the Topic to Real-World Applications

The topic can be made more engaging by establishing a strong connection between thermoregulation and its real-world importance.

Teachers can illustrate the relevance by examining practical examples such as how animals adapt their behaviors and physiological responses to temperature variations. You can make your students explore scientific studies on the impact of rising temperatures on ecosystems, including shifts in species distribution and changes in plant phenology. Another recommendation is to highlight how industries like agriculture, forestry, and urban planning consider thermoregulatory mechanisms when designing resilient systems.  

Final thoughts

While it is repeatedly highlighted that global warming is as threatening to humans as any other organism, the citizens of the planet Earth should be well-equipped for the challenges of tomorrow. As a recent study in 2020 highlighted the threat hovering over human thermoregulation, we should prepare future scientists well. Indeed, teaching the topic of thermoregulation in the context of climate change becomes an imperative task in educating future leaders. Labster extends its help to educators in the form of Thermal Homeostasis Simulation where students from across the globe can learn and become more aware.

Animal warm day after running, temperature table
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  1. Abad Robles, M. T., Collado-Mateo, D., Fernández-Espínola, C., Castillo Viera, E., & Gimenez Fuentes-Guerra, F. J. (2020). Effects of teaching games on decision making and skill execution: A systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of environmental research and public health, 17(2), 505.
  2. Ahima R. S. (2020). Global warming threatens human thermoregulation and survival. The Journal of clinical investigation, 130(2), 559–561. https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI135006
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