GCSE Biology: Hormonal control (including non-communicable diseases)
Hormones and hormonal control is an abstract concept which many GCSE Biology students struggle with: students often appear to be misinformed about what hormones are and what here role is. It is worth spending some time giving an overview of the endocrine system and then allowing the opportunity for some independent study with students completing set tasks to research about individual hormones and their actions. This research can then be assesed to ensure students fully understand the action of different hormones
Students find it particularly difficult to explain each stage of the menstrual cycle and the role each hormone has. Understanding the role of the various hormones in the menstrual cycle will then enable them to explain how hormonal contraceptives work and evaluate hormonal and non-hormonal contraceptives. Students also need to be able to explain the use of hormones in modern reproductive technologies to treat infertility.
For this topic students need to be able to explain the concept of negative feedback with examples of the action of specific hormones, in particular adrenaline and thyroxine.
Links and Resources
This is a summary sheet produced By the Royal Society of Chemistry. It gives a list of common hormones of the endocrine system, their target cells and functions. The resource provides a very clear summary and would be very useful for revision. Another possible way to use this might be to ask students to undetake reserach and come up with their own summary sheet and then compare it to this one
This is a detailed resource including videos and worksheets which considers how hormones bring about their designated response through their effect on a cell. Whilst the level of detail in this resource is beyond the requirements of GCSE Biology specifications, it could be useful as extension work for more able students and/or as background reading for teachers on some current research theories
This resource contains a range of desk based and practical activities along with detailed teacher notes. Section 4 is titled Chemical messengers. In this section the endocrine system is compared with the nervous system. Through a series of text activities, students compile information about some important glands, the hormones which they secrete and the functions of those hormones. The importance of feedback control in the endocrine system is also reviewed
This kit encourages students to consider the benefits of, and the problems that may arise from, the use of hormones to control fertility, including in vitro fertilisation (IVF). The resource makes use of role play, which gives students a chance to explore the different sides of the issue and compare others’ points of view, as well as considering social, ethical and factual issues in an integrated way.
Included in the kit are eight debate cards outlining the opinions of a number of different fictional characters. The question posed for the debate is: Should IVF be available on the NHS?
Produced by the Triple Science Support Programme, this quick guide describes In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), how it is performed and the ethical issues around such procedures. The guide could used as a homework activity.
Students could be tasked to read through the article and answer the five questions on the final page.
Note that not all the web links listed on this guide will work.