Applying Understanding of Female Hormones to Birth Control

Written by Kelly A. Hogan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Learning Outcomes:

– To explain how the female hormones LH, FSH, progesterone, and estrogen change through a human female’s menstrual cycle

– To understand how the birth control pill provides negative feedback to the hypothalamus and pituitary gland

– To demonstrate the value of the application of material to students in addition to lecture/reading

Activity Description: Students are given a mini-lecture on the female cycle. They are then asked a clicker type question to test their understanding post lecture. Students apply the material through two small case-based questions about female birth control. Students are then asked the same clicker type question to see if their understanding has increased.

Time Needed: Questions and activity require approximately 15-20 minutes.

Materials Needed: Handouts, clickers if available, blank paper for students

Activity Instructions:

1. Give the students the lecture diagram (attached) that they can fill in with you as you lecture. Give a mini-lecture on the female hormone cycle, being sure to highlight how the pre-ovulation follicular phase differs from the post-ovulation luteal phase. Hormones that should be discussed include GnRH, LH, FSH, progesterone, and estrogen. How progesterone and estrogen provide negative feedback for the hypothalamus and pituitary gland are of importance to do this activity.

2. Give a post-lecture (pre-activity) clicker-type question. Have students answer independent of their classmates and don’t give them the answer yet. Collect the answers to measure the percent of students with the correct answer.

In the luteal phase (pre-ovulation) of the female cycle, the levels of _______________ remain high, inhibiting production of ________________.

a) GnRH; estrogen

b) LH and FSH; estrogen

c) progesterone; estrogen

d) estrogen; progesterone

e) None of the above. (Correct answer)

3. Give them a worksheet case study activity. Allow students to work in pairs and use their textbook images to answer the following case study questions (attached). A good way to increase discussion, even in a large class, is to have the students not put their names on their answers. You can collect them and read a few examples, letting the students decide if the answer is sufficient or not. Alternatively, you can have the students shuffle their answers among themselves and take turns reading some of the answers they have on the paper they received after the shuffle.

4. After discussing case study answers as a class, ask the same clicker-type question again. You should see a rise in the percent of students with the correct answer and you can now have the students fill in the blanks to make a correct statement: In the luteal phase (pre-ovulation) of the female cycle, the levels of estrogen and progesterone remain high, inhibiting production of FSH and LH.

Two potential test questions related to the activity:

1. Using your knowledge of the feedback loops of human female hormones, which of the following would you predict would result if a woman was continually exposed to estrogen and progesterone?

a) increased secretion of FSH

b) increased secretion of LH

c) degeneration of the corpus luteum

d) absence of monthly ovulation (Correct answer)

e) all of the above

2.  In hormone production, how do the follicle and corpus luteum compare?

a) Both produces primarily estrogen.

b) Both produce primarily progesterone.

c)The follicle produces more estrogen than progesterone; the corpus luteum produces more progesterone than estrogen. (Correct answer)

d) The follicle produces mostly progesterone; the corpus luteum produces estrogen and progesterone.

Lecture diagram for students:

What happens if there is no successful fertilization?


What happens if there is a pregnancy?


Worksheet: Female Hormones and Birth Control WorksheetFemale Hormones and Birth Control Worksheet KEY

Using Diabetes as the Story to Discuss the Secretory Pathway of Proteins

Written by Kelly A. Hogan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Learning Outcomes:

– To use insulin as an example secretory protein

– To examine an analogy that the cell is a protein factory analogous to a manufacturing factory

– To learn about an important disease students may know little about

Activity Description: Students act out an interpreted case study and discuss answers to the questions. Lecture or animations may be interspersed in the discussion.

Time Needed: Approximately 50 minutes

Materials Needed: Copies of the case study and questions, 3 x 5 index cards

Activity Instructions: Choose 6 students to play the roles. Intersperse lecture, BioFlix animations, and discussion as needed. I always play the role ofLena, so that I can still play a “teaching role” and pull up animations while I say my lines.

OPTIONAL: The animation that could be shown to the class is located at:

For question 8, I have my students write their answers on 3 x 5 index cards. I ask them to swap cards several times with classmates. When I ask for people to read from their cards, I get a much better response. We then discuss whether the analogy is a good one or not.

Worksheet: Diabetes Case Study and Role Play Worksheet