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Negative Feedback, Homeostasis, and Positive Feedback

Analysis and discussion questions develop student understanding of negative and positive feedback and homeostasis.

For example, students develop a model of negative feedback regulation of body temperature; this model includes a temperature control center in the brain that uses information about differences between a setpoint and actual body temperature to regulate sweating, shivering, and changes in blood flow to the skin.

The setpoint for negative feedback can be changed; for example, in response to an infection the temperature setpoint can be increased, resulting in a fever.

Negative feedback contributes to homeostasis.

Sometimes negative feedback does not function properly; for example, diabetes results from abnormalities in negative feedback regulation of blood glucose levels.

Finally, students analyze how positive feedback contributes to rapid change (e.g., rapid formation of a platelet plug).

The Student Handout is available in the first two attached files and as a Google doc designed for use in distance learning and online instruction. (For additional instructions, see, especially item 7.) The Teacher Notes, available in the last two attached files, provide instructional suggestions and background information and explain how this activity is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. 

Homeostasis SHO.docx4.18 MB
Homeostasis SHO.pdf1.01 MB
homeostasis TN.docx1.37 MB
homeostasis TN.pdf839.98 KB


iwaldron's picture

December 2022 revision

The most significant changes are (1) the addition of a section in the Student Handout that analyzes negative feedback regulation of blood glucose levels and the abnormalities that result in diabetes and (2) an expanded discussion of these topics in the Teacher Notes.

iwaldron's picture

2022 revision

I have streamlined and revised the Student Handout to facilitate student learning of the key points. I have also updated the Teacher Notes.

iwaldron's picture

2019 revision

I have reorganized and focused the Student Handout, and also added more scaffolding, to ensure that students develop a clear understanding of negative feedback regulation of body temperature, including the concepts of a setpoint and a temperature control center in the brain. Numerous additional revisions have improved clarity.


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