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Adrenal Cortex

by Greg Crowther

Context

The adrenal cortex -- that is, the outer layer of the adrenal gland -- produces both mineralcorticoids such as aldosterone, which stimulates the kidneys to conserve sodium, and glucocorticoids such as cortisol, which regulates fuel metabolism. This overview song was written for Biology 351 at UW-Bothell.


Lyrics

Aldosterone and cortisol
(AC, AC, AC!)
Are what the AC's pushing.
(AC, AC, AC!)
They're awfully low or crazy high
(AC, AC, AC!)
In Addison's and Cushing's.


Other Files

MP3

sheet music (with melody play-back)


Lesson Plan

Songs like this one can be used during class meetings and/or in homework assignments. Either way, the song will be most impactful if students DO something with it, as opposed to just listening.

An initial, simple follow-up activity could be to answer the study questions below. A more extensive interaction with the song might entail (A) learning to sing it, using the audio file and/or sheet music as a guide, or (B) designing kinesthetic movements ("dance moves") to embody it. The latter activity should begin with students identifying the most important or most challenging content of the song, and deciding how to illustrate that particular content.

This song lends itself to group or whole-class sing-alongs because the simple and repetitive "AC, AC, AC!" part can be quickly learned and repeated by a "chorus" of any size. The two notes of this part are A and C if the song is performed in the key of Dm/F.


Study Questions

(1) In your own words, what do aldosterone and cortisol do?

(2) How are the levels of these hormones perturbed in Addison's Disease and Cushing's Syndrome, respectively?

(3) Does the adrenal medulla produce the same hormones as the adrenal cortex?

(Answers may be found on the answers page.)