At a Glance


  • STEM
  • Biology

Instructional Level

  • College & CEGEP


  • Introduction to Pathophysiology 101-110-AB

Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Individual
  • Group
  • Whole Class

Type of Tasks

  • Discussing
  • Solving problems
  • Analyzing
  • Reading

Technical Details

Class size

  • Small (20-49)


  • Single class period (< 90 mins)

Instructional Purpose

  • Preparation & knowledge activation
  • Application & knowledge building


The aim of the activity is for students to consolidate their knowledge of homeostatic feedback loops through application and interpretation of an altered feedback loop during the pathophysiological state of pyrexia.

Students will benefit from the review of the components of a feedback loop, application of the concept of signs versus symptoms, constructing the timeline of the homeostasis of thermoregulation and the accompanying clinical manifestations of fever and the critical understanding of the benefits of fever to a patient who has an infection.
By working in groups, students will be able to discuss and debate, allowing for knowledge building. This activity is typically used in the first class session of a second-year course, allowing for a targeted review of the knowledge acquired in their first-year anatomy and physiology courses.

After completing the pre-readings, the worksheet and resultant group discussion allow students to consolidate their knowledge, correct any errors in understanding and apply a basic physiological principle to a novel disease state. The instructor is able to facilitate the learning of the students and focus the time spent together on correcting misconceptions and filling in knowledge gaps.
This activity is used early in the semester for a second-year Biology course, as a review of content they have learned in prior courses. It could be used in a course as a review of recently learned material


Instructional Objectives

  • Review of the components of homeostatic feedback loops
  • Understanding of altered homeostatic feedback when the setpoint of the control center has been changed
  • Linking of clinical manifestations to the pathophysiological process
  • Understanding of the biological role of fever in illness and immune system response to infection

Workflow & Materials


Activity Workflow

View on CourseFlow

Contributor's Notes

Beth Acton

Beth Acton

John Abbott College, Montreal

  • The students benefit from reviewing homeostasis by analyzing the pathophysiology of a common sign of disease. The activity serves to correct the common misconception that “fevers are bad” and that we must medicate to bring body temperature back to normal limits.
  • The students struggle with time management, particularly in groups where they have not prepared by doing their readings before class
  • Students also have a difficult time assigning the common signs and symptoms of fever to the correct pathophysiological rationale (voluntary versus involuntary; hyperthermic versus normothermic state).
  • Students will need some guidance, some groups more than others, in order to keep them on track. The activity encourages them to reflect on their own experiences, and they are often hesitant to draw conclusions. Students benefit from some reassurance that the state of infection-induced pyrexia is considered to be beneficial and is being purposefully maintained by the hypothalamus to aid in the immune system response, they are conditioned to think “fevers are bad”.

Applied Strategies


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