Testing blood sugar level

Ages 11+ students can test the glucose level of various ‘blood’ samples and determine whether or not the person has eaten. They will then correct the blood sugar level by treating with different regulatory ‘hormones’.
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How do hormones regulate blood sugar levels?

‘Blood glucose testing’ is an activity designed to increase understanding of the hormones that control blood sugar in the body, and why this control is important in staying healthy. This activity is designed for students aged 11-14 and involves practical science techniques such as pipetting.  Students can gain a practical understanding of the hormones that are secreted in the body when blood sugar levels are too high or too low.

Aims:

  • To introduce insulin and glucagon as hormones that help control blood sugar levels
  • To give students the chance to develop practical science skills using pipettes and test tubes

Curriculum links:

  • Homeostasis
  • Hormonal control in humans
  • Hormones and eating

Take home messages:

  • blood glucose levels need to be kept in a very narrow “safe” range for our bodies to function correctly
  • the hormones glucagon and insulin regulate blood sugar levels
  • Glucagon is produced by the pancreas and stimulates glucose to be released from glycogen in the liver
  • Insulin is produced by the pancreas and allows cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream

Discussion points:

  • Diabetes occurs when blood glucose levels are not regulated properly.
  • Type-1 diabetes is when you no longer produce insulin and your blood glucose level can become dangerously high unless you are given insulin regularly by injection.
  • Type-2 diabetes is when you don’t produce enough insulin or no longer respond to the insulin you do produce.
  • Type-1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease and tends to be diagnosed in children.
  • Type-2 diabetes tends to affect older people or those who are over-weight.