Biology Field Trip~ Human Performance Lab {HomeSchool High Link-Up}

Our co-op biology class took the greatest field trip this spring! We went to the Human Performance Lab! I have been waiting patiently to share it with you, and today is the day!


Biology Field Trip- Human Performance Lab


Ball State University is very close to us, and they have one of the nation's top ranking Human Performance Labs. Not sure what a Human Performance Lab is? This is what the Ball State website says about it:


The Human Performance Laboratory has a long history of applied exercise physiology research and training graduate students at the master and doctoral level.  The program includes a large general testing lab, a strength testing lab, a general biochemistry lab, a single fiber physiology lab, and a molecular biology lab. These labs contain the equipment for exercise testing, metabolic measurements, studies of environmental heat and cold stress, cardiovascular measurements, strength evaluation, body composition and bone health, and biochemical analysis of body tissue and fluids.



Dr. Mahon took us behind the scenes at the lab where we not only got to have a look at all the equipment, we got to try out some of it!

The grad students explained lots of the tests, what they measured, how the equipment worked, and what the results told them. It was really fascinating!


Biology Field Trip- Human Performance Lab 3


Sean and one of the students' younger brothers got to have electrodes put all over them and then move around on the big springy floor. The computer only "saw" the electrodes and could then analyze their movements (above right). This type of data is used for several things including for therapy purposes. I never knew that if you were having a problem with gait or joint pain while running, you can go to a human performance lab for them to analyze the problem and help you fix it. Of course, this is often in conjuction with a therapist, but runners will often come in for help without being under a physical therapist.


Biology Field Trip- Human Performance Lab 2


Sean also got to be tortured… uh, I mean… try out this test to measure the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide that is exchanged while exercising. After he had all this gear on, he had to walk on the treadmill for several minutes while only breathing through the mouthpiece. Then Dr. Mahon showed us the readings on the computer and explained what they told the researchers.


Biology Field Trip- Human Performance Lab 4


We also got to try out this bicycle test that they do often with volunteers from the community, including children. Our youngest and oldest students volunteered to be tested, and Dr. Mahon compared the results for us. They had to ride for a few minutes just to get their muscles warmed up, then Dr. Mahon gave the signal and they had to ride as fast and hard as they could for two minutes. And we yelled and cheered for them to help encourage them! It's too complicated for me to explain everything here, but it was fun for our biology students to see some real applications for the information that they are learning with Apologia Biology.

We learned so much at the lab that it's just impossible to share it all here– without writing a very large book. {grin}

We also learned that Ball State's lab does work with NASA. How cool is that?! We were bummed that we were not able to tour that lab, but it's cool to know that work that benefits the space station is happening right here in our town.


If you have a university with a human performance lab near you, I would highly recommend setting up a field trip. It was more than worth the effort! And our biology students got an awesome view of why studying biology is important. What homeschooling parent wouldn't like that?







HomeSchool High is sponsored by Apologia.

I hope you'll tell them a big "thank you"!


Now it's your turn. What have you been doing this week with your high school teens?

Check out the Link-Up Guidelines, grab a button or banner for your post, and link up your post– old or new.

Be sure to visit some of the other ladies who have linked up! Leave them an encouraging word. Let's link arms, ladies! Spur one another on to the finish!

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