Sat, Jan 03, 2009 - Page 13 News List

WEEKEND SCIENCE: Learning about the rhythm of life 探索生命的節奏

Welcome to Weekend Science! Every Saturday we’re going to guide you through some cool experiments that you can do at home. It’s a good idea for you to keep a record of what you do in a Science Journal. That way you can record what you learn, compare results and maybe use them to design new experiments! Remember to always ask a grown-up’s permission before trying out an experiment.


A group of people look at the sun, standing on the rocky crest filled with astronomical markers at the megalithic observatory of Kokino, Macedonia, soon after sunrise on June 21, 2008, on the day of the summer solstice.


Although you may not be aware of it, your body goes through several changes in a 24-hour period. The purpose of these changes is to keep your body in harmony with the environment, specifically changes in daylight. These changes are attributed to the circadian rhythm. Some of the bodily functions that are affected by the circadian rhythm are body temperature, reaction times, blood pressure and muscle strength.

In today’s experiment you will attempt to find out how your own circadian rhythm affects your body temperature and reaction times.

You will need: a thermometer, a notebook and access to the Internet.







You are going to take your temperature and test your reaction times four times per day over a three-day period. You should aim to do the tests at the same time each day, so before you start, make sure you’ll be free at those times. Suggested times for the tests are 7.30am, 12am, 5pm and 9pm.

In your notebook, draw a results table. Try not to do anything immediately before the tests that might affect the results. For example, eating a large meal will slow down your reactions, whereas drinking a caffeinated drink will speed them up.

Step 1: At 7.30am, take your temperate using the thermometer. Digital thermometers are more accurate, but not essential. Record the results in your results table.

Step 2: The best way to test your reaction times is to use an online test. Search for “reaction times test” using your favorite search engine and you should be presented with dozens of suitable tests. Try a few of them until you settle on one that you like.


1. circadian adj.

全天的 (quan2 tian1 de5)

2. reaction n.

反應 (fan3 ying4)

3. aim v.i./v.t.

致力 (zhi4 li4)

4. immediately adv.

緊接地 (jin3 jie1 de5)

5. accurate adj.

精準的 (jing1 zhun3 de5)

6. suitable adj.

合適的 (he2 shi4 de5)

Step 3: Test your reaction times using the online test. Record the result in the results table.

Step 4: Repeat step 1-3 at 7.30am 12am, 5pm and 9pm for three consecutive days.





步驟二:測量反應時間最好的方式是利用線上測驗。用你平時愛用的搜尋引擎上網搜尋「reaction time test」,你應該可以找到一大堆合適的線上測驗。試試其中幾種,直到選定一種你最喜歡的測驗。





Put your findings in a graph. When was your body temperature highest? When were your reactions quickest? Perhaps there was no pattern. Why do you think that was? Think of ways to make the test more comprehensive. You could include more people or you could also test for muscle strength and blood pressure.


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