by Greg Crowther
This jingle was originally written for Biology 242 and 351 at UW-Bothell. Ideally performed in an angry punk-rock style, it quickly reviews the regulation of plasma glucose levels by glucagon and insulin. If instructors specifically want students to know that glucagon is produced by the islets of Langerhans' alpha cells, and that insulin is produced by the islets' beta cells, they can substitute "How do the alpha cells respond?" for "How does the pancreas respond?" and "What do the beta cells dump in?" for "What does the pancreas dump in?"
When there's too little glucose in the blood (in the blood),
How does the pancreas respond?
Glucagon-gon-gon makes blood glucose strong!
Glucagon (gon gon), glucagon!
When there's too much glucose in the blood (in the blood),
What does the pancreas dump in?
Insulin-lin-lin makes blood glucose thin!
Insulin (lin lin), insulin!
• MP3 (demo)
• sheet music (with melody play-back)
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.
(1) What is meant by the phrases "make blood glucose strong" and "make blood glucose thin"?
(2) Often people refer to glucose concentrations in the plasma rather than in the blood. What's the difference?
(3) What concentration of glucose would be too much? What concentration would be too little?
(Answers may be found on the answers page.)