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Lost in the Desert!


Author(s)

David L. Evans
Biology Department
Pennsylvania College of Technology
devans@pct.edu

Abstract

Students learn about the interconnectedness of the body, with a particular focus on the skin as one of the most important homeostatic organ systems, in this case study in which the protagonist sets out on a three-hour drive across the Arizona desert to meet his fiancee in California, and never shows up. The case was designed to be used with students in a lower-level anatomy and physiology class who are interested in pursuing careers in nursing, occupational therapy, and other health related fields.


Objectives

  • Elucidate the importance of electrolyte and fluid control in the normal body: hypovolemia, circulation (in an introductory way), brain functions, sweat formation.
  • Accurately describe the skin’s role in thermoregulation.
  • Explain the roles and formation of melanin and vitamin D in the skin.

Keywords

Thermoregulation; thermal regulation; homeostasis; hypovolemia; heat stroke; dehydration; electrolyte; skin; melanin; Vitamin D

Topical Areas

N/A

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Directed

Language

English

Subject Headings

Physiology  |   Biology (General)  |   Nursing  |  


Date Posted

06/08/02

Teaching Notes

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Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

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Comments


Judy
mcleishd@wcschools.com
Health Science
Wilson Central High School
Lebanon, TN
08/15/2003
I used “Lost in the Desert” in my A&P class of 11th & 12th graders. I was impressed by how they responded to it. I did not adapt the case, but used it as suggested in the teaching notes for a discussion on homeostasis. Anyway, it went well! Thanks!

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Deborah Evans
devans@olivetcollege.edu
Natural and Physical Sciences
Olivet College
Olivet, Michigan
10/28/2010

The NASA link was blocked. I had students review the links in advance as research without really knowing what the content of the case was going to be.

We also spent quite a bit of time talking about crashed and elevated glucose levels and how that presents, since some of the symptoms mirrored those of either high or low glucose levels, including diabetic shock.

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Editor
nccsts@buffalo.edu
National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY
10/29/2010
We recommend in place of the resource no longer available from NASA the following from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): "Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety" at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heat_guide.asp

Instructors are encouraged to review all of the website resources listed in a case before they teach the case and to update them, as needed, for their students.

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Derek Kendig
dmkendig@loyola.edu
Biology
Loyola University Maryland
Baltimore, MD
09/17/2015
I have recently used this case study to help discuss thermoregulation in a 200 level Human A&P course. The students enjoyed it and were intrigued by the questions. One interesting point brought up in our discussion was the use of IV rehydration for the patient as opposed to the suggested oral rehydration. Based on the case study it seems the paramedic would be capable of providing such a treatment. I think it can add to the discussion and purpose of the case as to what symptoms might necessitate IV rehydration vs. oral rehydration. Thanks for a good tool to use in class.

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Brooke Davis
bhdavis@asheboro.k12.nc.us
Science
Asheboro High School
Asheboro, NC
09/06/2011
This is a great activity for students in AP Biology. It is a great introduction to A&P. My only complaint is the first link (www.peakrun.com/articles/66_1.html). With AP Biology students it wasn't a big deal...they were able to figure it out on their own. But it would be easier and take less time if the links were updated and active.

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Nicole Benenati
nbenenat@icsd.k12.ny.us
Science
Ithaca High School
Ithaca, NY
03/21/2015
This case study gets high compliments from my AP Biology students. One student said, "This case really connects the dots between our studies of thermoregulation, hormones, nerves, and our current study of digestion, and excretion." I modified a few questions and provided hints to improve the quality of group discussions. For example, for the question on urine output I directed students to a figure on ADH in their textbook.

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Norma Jean McLaughlin
njmclaug@episd.org
A and P
Chapin HS
El Paso TX
09/24/2015
Great case study! My students learned a lot.Thanks for such a wonderful resource. I followed some of the comments for replacing the missing NASA website and it turned out better than when I did the case study without the new site last year.

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