Teaching Students About Knee Jerk Reflex
As much as we try to encourage thoughtful consideration and rational responses, there will always be moments when our bodies react instinctively and without much thought. One such example is the knee jerk reflex, a physiological response that occurs when the knee is tapped or struck.
While the knee jerk reflex may seem like a relatively trivial body response, it can actually be a useful teaching tool for educators looking to help students understand the workings of the human body and why it behaves the way it does.
For example, teachers might begin by demonstrating the knee jerk reflex to their students, using a rubber hammer or similar object to tap the tendon located just below the knee cap. As students observe the reflexive movement of the leg, teachers might explain how automatic muscle contractions are initiated in response to the sudden stimulus, and how this reflexive response is an essential aspect of our body’s ability to react quickly to potential dangers.
From here, teachers can explore other examples of knee jerk reflex in everyday life, from flinching in response to sudden noises or movements to the body’s reflexive responses to feeling cold or hot. By helping students understand the knee jerk reflex and other physiological responses in this way, teachers can lay the foundation for a deeper understanding of the human body and the many intricate systems that keep us functioning at our best.
Additionally, the knee jerk reflex can be a jumping-off point for discussions about the importance of self-control and introspection. Students may discover that they exhibit reflexive responses in certain situations, such as reacting with anger or frustration when someone disagrees with them. By acknowledging these knee jerk reactions and taking a step back to assess the situation with a cooler head, students can learn how to better manage their responses and make more thoughtful decisions.