Yes, we did just make a science-y reference to The Lion King. That’s because there’s a certain balance in the world and it’s constantly moving up and down, in and out, and around in a circle. Which is how we were able to connect this all to homeostasis, the topic we’re getting to.
Homeostasis is as important as a seesaw, and as important as the circle of life. It symbolizes the balance in our bodies, in our environment and in the entire world. It’s the checks-and-balances system of science and matter.
So now, what does homeostasis actually mean? Homeostasis is the body’s form of Dynamic Equilibrium, which means that each organism keeps the conditions inside itself constant EVEN while the environment is changing.
We’ll even give you a hint so as much as you try you’ll never, ever, ever forget what it means: Homeostasis (stay) – conditions stay the same.
Let’s explore how homeostasis plays a role in the human body (even though it applies to all organisms). For example, normal body temperature is 98.6°F (37°C). However, on a hot day, when the temperature outside is 101°F, your body doesn’t become 101°F. How can that be? It’s because your body will start sweating which helps us cool down, in order to maintain normal body temperature. On the flip side, if it’s 32°F outside, you won’t freeze. Again, how can that be? It’s because your body is notified (by your brain) to start shivering, which will warm you up, in order to maintain the normal body temperature.
In these examples, your body is actively engaging in homeostasis; keeping its temperature constant even though the outside weather changes. Unfortunately, when the body cannot regulate homeostasis, often the person will get sick.
This leads into the next part of homeostasis of the body, which would be the body’s defense system, the immune system. This system maintains equilibrium in our bodies by fighting foreign bodies that may be harmful for us. This is in addition to other systems of the body that also help regulate homeostasis, including the nervous system, the endocrine system and the excretory system.
But that’s for next time! So check back for even more amazing Living Environment topics.
We just wanted to finish off with two actual homeostasis NYS Regents Living Environment questions:
1. (Multiple Choice) During a race, the body temperature of a runner increases. The runner responds by perspiring, which lowers body temperature. This process is an example of:
A. Maintenance of homeostasis
B. An antigen-antibody reaction
C. An acquired characteristic
D. Environmental factors affecting phenotype
2. (Multiple Choice) Homeostasis in living things is regulated by the action of:
A. The nervous system, only
B. The endocrine system, only
C. Both the nervous and endocrine systems
D. Neither the nervous nor the endocrine system
Answers: 1-A, 2-C
– Study well!