Sleep, A Neurological Luxury or Living Necessity?

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Objective

Students will use models to explain the relationship between sleep and standard metabolic functions in the body.

Big Idea

The body and brain requires sleep to maintain and regulate daily homeostatic functions of the body that directly or indirectly impact circadian rhythms.

Introduction

Lesson Background & Justification:

    Sleep is a condition of body and mind such as that which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended. As a part of our natural Circadian Rhythms (24 hour cycles), sleep requires cooperation from the brain and internal chemical regulation that is mostly governed by external factors. In this lesson (1st of two day lesson) students become familiarized with the standard biochemical events that are cued by sunlight or lack thereof via exploration activities that specifically addresses sleep's relationship with and impact on required biological activities such as glucose metabolism, memory, ability to remove toxic cellular waste and the concentration of growth hormone.   

Prerequisite Knowledge: It is recommended that students be familiar with the structure and function of a neuron, the concept of neurotransmission, the action potential mechanism and metabolic processing of glucose. 

Lesson Preparations:

 In the effort to prepare for this lesson, I make certain that I have the following items in place: 

a) A class set of LSLC The Neurobiology of Sleep Lab copies and materials for sections 3A-3D only. (1 copy of the student lab per student pair and one set of materials for sections 3A-3D for every 8 students) 

b) Student lab books.

c) Class set of safety wear (glasses, lab aprons and gloves)

Common Core and NGSS Standards:

SP4- Analyzing and interpreting data.

SP2- Developing and Using Models.

SP7- Engaging in arguments using evidence. 

HS-LS1-3-Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that feedback mechanisms maintain homeostasis.

Standards Rationale:

      Modeling is the process by which scientists represent ideas about the natural world to each other, and then collaboratively make changes to these representations over time in response to new evidence and understandings. It is intimately connected to other scientific processes (asking questions, communicating information, etc.) and improves students ability to recall scientific jargon through association. In the classroom, it is important that teachers engage students in modeling practices, to set the foundation of success in a lesson or instructional unit. In this lesson modeling is used in concert with other science practices in the classroom to promote students’ reasoning and understanding of core science idea presented (mechanisms of maintaining homeostasis of the nervous via sleep regulation in the body.)

Engage

15 minutes

Section Primer:

        Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism's environment. They are found in most living things, including animals, plants and many tiny microbes and have been implicated in irregular mental behaviors in humans when some aspect of the cycle is off balance (eg. not having enough sleep). In this section of the lesson, students use a series of scientific questions to assess what their specific circadian rhythms are (nocturnal or diurnal) and to engage in the concept of sleep deprivation. This section proceeds as follows:

Section Sequence:

a) Slide 1: Engage students in the first question and rein them into a group discussion of what this means by personal definition and how it impacts them on a daily basis (emotionally, mentally, or physically). 

b) Share with students that they will assess their statuses on a more scientific basis by using a survey that assesses their circadian rhythms and categorizes them as a nocturnal or diurnal individual based on these activities. Instruct students to launch  HHMI's Survey of Biological Clocks survey on their own technological devices (share school provided devices if needed) and to take 10 minutes to complete it. 

Note: Although students at this level may already have an understanding of what a circadian rhythm is, it may serve the group well to solidify their understanding prior to entering the survey so that they understand the "rhythm" reference throughout. Engage students in a discussion with simple leading questions. For example, "What is meant by circadian rhythm?". It also might be helpful for them to understand that hormones and neurotransmitters aid in and sometimes alter the cyclic nature of their body rhythms. 

c) Post-survey, instruct for students to share out on their assessment with the class and discuss if and how their personal and scientific assessments compare and/or contrast. 

Standards Covered: 

SP4- Analyzing and interpreting data.

SP7- Engaging in arguments using evidence. 

 

Explore/Explain/Extend

60 minutes

Section Sequence:

      In this section of the lesson, students use written lab guides to rotate around lab stations which in tandem address the impact that the loss of sleep has on a variety of metabolic processes that are critical to survival. The idea is to provide students with a cadre of experiences that readily primes them for the specific content dispensed during part II or day 2 of this lesson. Furthermore, it creates experiences that students can associate with when they learn more in depth processes to explain the physiology of sleep, its benefits and deprivation thereof. This section proceeds as follows:

a) Slide 2- Engage students in a class discussion that specifically addresses questions 1-3 on the slide. Help to develop students responses so that they incorporate some of the related jargon acquired throughout the course (eg. neurotransmission, neural fatigue, inhibitory Nt's, etc. ).

b) Engage students in the lab (LSLC The Neurobiology of Sleep Lab) by following the prescribed sets of directions on the slide (#4). Circulate as students work to edify misunderstandings or to correct incorrect lab techniques or practices as they work. This will assure that they gain anticipated outcomes and are able to grow from their experiences. 

Note: If students are waiting for a free station, discuss their results and some of the conclusions that each pair developed together.  

Standards Covered: 

SP4- Analyzing and interpreting data.

SP2- Developing and Using Models.

SP7- Engaging in arguments using evidence. 

HS-LS1-3-Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that feedback mechanisms maintain homeostasis.

Evaluate/Wrapping up!

15 minutes

          As this lesson is the front end of the a two part lesson, where students explore one day and firm up on content the next, I close with an activity that encourages students to reflect on their experiences and support claims that can be supported by the data they actively collected throughout the exploration section. As such, students are instructed to complete the tasks outlined on slide 3 of the presentation and are asked to submit it by the conclusion of class.

Wrap up Alternative: As an alternative, students can revisit the pre-assessment questions from the exploration activity after the lab experience. This can help to determine if the lab experiences positively or negatively influenced how they processed the information. (See student examples)