Research Project

"Can you get the Rhythm?" An Interactive Lesson on Circadian Rhythms

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Megan Knoch

What is your research?

Our research this summer has revolved around learning and education techniques, as well as understanding how to judge student comprehension. Our final project created will develop and teach an innovative K-12 curriculum that introduces students to circadian rhythms. We have constructed a lesson plan and each learning aspect for teachers to use. The lesson will begin with a survey asking students to record circadian events in their daily lives. They will record empirical evidence including what time they go to sleep, what time they eat, when they wake up, etc. Students will also take their temperature at specified timepoints through the day for 5 days prior to the lesson and will write it down in a journal. The purpose of the survey is to provide students with examples of circadian rhythms in their everyday lives an opportunity to analyze the data collected from their classmates. We plan to create a 15-20-minute lesson highlighting important aspects of circadian rhythms such as how they are generated, how they respond to environmental cues, and why they are so important for health and well-being. This would include a few slides on the research currently done in the lab of Dr. Knoch and emphasize the cellular basis of circadian rhythms. Following the presentation, students will observe the cells that actually generate circadian rhythms and focus on analyzing the circadian data collected from their peers. The lesson will end with a review worksheet (quiz) to evaluate their understanding of circadian rhythms. We hope to conduct this research in schools within the next year.

Why is it important?

  1. This lesson will hopefully be taught in nearby schools to advocate for science curriculum at young ages. The content is applicable to daily lives and would hopefully gain an interest in the sciences.
  2. The lesson revolves around health sleeping and eating practices, by educating students on these practices and their effects we may be able to influence healthier living choices.
  3. The lessons we have created allow students to ask questions, figure out their own responses, and apply their knowledge to their own lives and practices.
Medeline Mark STEM