Questions for ‘How sunshine may make boys feel hungrier’

four teen boys sit on a sunny roof and eat pizza

Summer means longer exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Scientists now have some evidence that this light may boost appetite in boys — but not in girls.

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To accompany How sunshine may make boys feel hungrier’  


Before Reading:

  1. When in the day do you tend to get hungry? For example, do you tend to be hungry when you first wake up? Or only later? Do you get hungry at mealtimes only, or do you get hungry and snack between meals? What are some factors that cause you to feel hungry? For example, do you eat more during or after certain activities?
  2. Look up the definition of a hormone and write it down. Then find a partner, and pick one of the following hormones to research further: thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), estrogen, ghrelin or growth hormone (GH). You and your partner must pick different hormones. Do a quick internet search about your choice. In one sentence, explain what your hormone does. Then, with your partner, take turns explaining your chosen hormones’ role in the body to one another.

During Reading:

  1. What was Carmit Levy studying before she “put her original plans on hold?” What unusual observation did she make that sparked her interest and changed the direction of her work?
  2. In the nutrition study from Israel, how many calories did the surveyed men consume during summer months on average? During non-summer months? How many calories did women consume on average during the same periods?
  3. During Levy’s mouse experiments, what three hunger-triggering links did her team discover?
  4. What is the p53 protein’s job in the body? 
  5. Which gender generally displays higher levels of estrogen? 
  6. Why does Zane Andrews describe the hormone ghrelin as “like a hunger thermostat”? 
  7. In male mice, what happens after sunlight activates p53 in their skin’s fat tissue? What’s different about this sunlight response in female mice? 
  8. Describe one reason males of some species may benefit from increased calories in the summertime. 

After Reading:

  1. Based on what you’ve read in this story, to what extent do you think gender affects how hungry people feel? Explain your answer using evidence from the story to back up your response.
  2. Imagine you were setting up a one-week experiment with 30 friends to test whether sunlight boosts appetite in boys but not girls. You and your test subjects agree to carry out this experiment at a summer camp. How would you set up your experiment? What instructions would you give your test subjects? What kind of data would you collect? Other than sunlight, what are two other variables that might affect how hungry someone feels?