At a Glance


  • STEM
  • Biology

Instructional Level

  • College & CEGEP
  • University

Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Group
  • Whole Class

Type of Tasks

  • Discussing
  • Analyzing
  • Presenting

Technical Details

Class size

  • Small (20-49)


  • Single class period (< 90 mins)

Instructional Purpose

  • Application & knowledge building


In this concept map activity, students work in groups to piece together feedback loops that are part of or related to the endocrine system.

Before the activity, the instructor takes time choosing which students will work together. Groups are chosen based on individual student performance so that groups are well-rounded (e.g., someone who is good at presenting is paired with someone who is stronger at memorization).

Once students are in their groups, the instructor will randomly assign a feedback loop to each group. Groups will then discuss and compile their notes and ideas on their specific feedback loop.Each group will then present their feedback loop to the class and explain their rationale for the feedback loop.

This activity will help students learn to work as a team and deepen their understanding of feedback loops.

Groups are then given 15 minutes to discuss and compile their notes and ideas on their specific feedback loop. Once again, presentation order is randomly assigned.

The first group sends their spokesperson to the board. Using the group notes, this student draws out the feedback loop for which their group was responsible, and presents their rationale for the feedback loop to the class. Once finished, the instructor takes a picture of the loop (for grading purposes), and then critiques the loop for the benefit of the entire class, making changes to the drawing where necessary.

This process continues until all groups have presented.

The instructor wraps up the activity by briefly summarizing the concept map of feedback loops, highlighting the connections between different loops, and answering any student questions. A picture of the concept map is taken and posted online for students as a study tool.

Students are graded as a group for their initial feedback loop (prior to in-class instructor critique).

Instructional Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate working together in a group to complete the activity
  • Define feedback loops
  • Explain how different feedback groups are connected to each other
  • Explain the relationship between the feedback loop and the endocrine system

Workflow & Materials


Activity Workflow

View on CourseFlow

Contributor's Notes

Francesca Theriault

Francesca Theriault

Dawson College, Montreal, QC


This activity is a great way to get students to think more critically about the components of a feedback loop rather than just memorizing individual loops. By separating the endocrine system among groups, each group becomes responsible for the entire class learning their specific loop. That accountability ensures that students work hard to make sure their feedback loop is accurate.


Since no notes are allowed, and not all loops are of equal complexity, some groups may find it difficult to complete their feedback loop fully. Groups that present last have the benefit of modifying their feedback loops before they go on the board, which can lead to discrepancy in grades between groups that present first and last.


By pre-assigning groups, the instructor can ensure that they are well-rounded, so that even complex loops will be more or less correctly drawn.

By giving students feedback in between in group presentations, the instructor allows room for students to self-evaluate their own feedback loops and modify them prior to presentation.

For fair grading, the instructor should take into account which groups presented first and last_ so that groups that presented earlier (i.e., did not benefit as much from instructor critique), are fairly graded compared to groups that present later (who had a chance to modify their loops based on instructor critiques for other groups).

Randomly assigning feedback loops to groups and presentation order ensures fairness.

This activity works in both smart and traditional classrooms.

Finally, this activity can be used for other systems in the body (e.g., can focus on homeostasis across systems).

Applied Strategies


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