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The Nervous System: How Did My Body Just Do That?

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Objectives:

  • The students will be able to identify the features of the nervous system.

  • The students will be able explain the parts of the brain: cerebrum, cerebellum, brain stem, pituitary, gland, and hypothalamus.

  • The students will be able to explain the difference between motor nerves and sensory nerves.

  • The students will be able to explain the difference between autonomic nerves and somatic nerves.

  • The students will be able to explain how the brain sends and receives messages.

  • The students will be able to explain parts of a neuron.

  • The students will be able to explain the levels of consciousness.

Questions that encompasses the objective:

  • Think about the following questions:

  • How do you think our heart knows to beat?

  • How do you know when to wake up in the morning?

  • How do we know when something we eat is too hot?

  • How do we control our body temperature?

Prepare the Learner: Activating Prior Knowledge. 

How will students prior knowledge be activated?

Warm up by asking students:

  • What do you know about your brain?

  • What do you know about the nervous system?

Common Core State Standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.1

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.1 B

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.4

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.2

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2 B

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.1

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.4

Materials and Free Resources to Download for this Lesson: 

Input:
What is the most important content in this lesson?
To reach this lesson’s objective, students need to understand:

  • The parts of the brain.

  • How the brain sends and receives messages.

  • The differences motor and sensory nerves and between autonomic and somatic nerves

  • The parts of a neuron.

  • The levels of consciousness.

How will the learning of this content be facilitated?

  • On the board, draw two columns. Label one column “Fact” and the other column “Fake”. On a desk in front, have a pile of cards. On each card there will either be a real fact about the brain or one that is made up.  Pick up each card and read what is on it. Ask the students to identify if what you read was a fact or if it was made up. Have a student come up to the board and place the card in the correct column. The students will engage in this activity for about 10 minutes.

  • Fact or Fake Answers:

    • The brain is the center of the nervous system. FACT

    • The largest part of the brain is the brain stem. FAKE- the largest part of the brain is the cerebrum.

    • The cranium or skull protects the brain. FACT

    • An adult brain weights about 10 pounds. FAKE- an adult brain weighs only 3 pounds

    • Being conscious means being awake. FACT

    • The brain is separated into six lobes. FAKE- the brain is separated into four lobes

    • The pituitary gland controls growth. FACT

    • The neurons are in charge of the involuntary actions that occur in our body (i.e., heartbeat). FAKE- the reflexes are in charge of the involuntary actions that occur in our body

    • When our brain stops working, our body shuts down. FACT

    • Drugs and alcohol do not affect consciousness. FAKE- drugs and alcohol do play a role in consciousness.

 

Information Sources:

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/humanbody/brain.html

http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/brain.html#

  • After the activity, the teacher should begin a discussion about what the students learned. A discussion about the nervous system should begin with the teacher explaining about it more in-depth.

  • The teacher should hand out the “Our Amazing Brain” worksheet packet. The packet consists of four worksheets: “Our Nervous System”, “Parts of the Brain”, “Parts of a Neuron”, and “Levels of Consciousness”. If it is possible, project each worksheet onto the board using a projector or put into a PowerPoint document and project so that the teacher can point to the while they explain. The teacher should begin with the “Our Nervous System” worksheet. As the teacher explains, the students will fill in their worksheet. From this activity, the students will learn about the parts of the nervous system and the function of each part.

  • Our Nervous System:

    • The nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and a network of nerves.

    • The brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system, while the peripheral nervous system is made up of nerves.

    • Nerves or neurons carry impulses (communication signals) around the body.

    • The two main types of nerves are motor nerves and sensory nerves.

    • Motor nerves allow the brain to control the muscles (i.e., heart)

    • Sensory nerves allow the brain to control how we react to the outside world (what we see, hear, feel, taste, and smell—the 5 senses).

    • Signals go in only one direction: motor nerves go from the brain to the muscle, while sensory nerves go from the sense (hand, nose, mouth, ear, eye) to the brain.

    • Our peripheral nervous system has two sets of nerves: autonomic and somatic.

    • Autonomic nerves are automatic—we do not tell these nerves to do their job (i.e., heartbeat, digestive system).

    • Somatic nerves are voluntary—we control these nerves (i.e., jumping, walking)

    • Messages from the nerves travel to your brain at a rate of 200 mph.

Information Sources:

http://www.ducksters.com/science/nervous_system.php

http://easyscienceforkids.com/all-about-your-nerves/

  • The next worksheet that should be presented is Parts of the Brain”. As each part is explained, the students should write the name on the line. The function of each part of the brain will be provided on the back of the worksheet (**If possible, print out the worksheet as two-sided**).

Parts of the Brain

  • Cerebrum: makes up 85% of the brain’s weight; controls voluntary muscles; thinking part of the brain; short and long term memory is located here; separated into two halves: left and right; left is more analytical and helps you with math, science, logic, and language; the right is more abstract and helps you with colors, music, and shapes; the right half of the brain controls the left side of the body and the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body.

  • Cerebellum: located in the back of the brain; much smaller than the cerebrum; controls balance, movement, and coordination; allows you to stand upright.

  • Brain Stem: located beneath the cerebrum and in front of the cerebellum; connects the brain with the spinal cord; responsible for breathing, digesting, and blood circulation; controls involuntary muscles.

  • Pituitary Gland: the size of pea; responsible for growth; also controls the amount of sugar and water in the body; also helps with metabolism.

  • Hypothalamus: controls your body temperature; when you are cold, it tells you to shiver and when you are hot, it tells you to sweat; also helps when you have a fever—when you are sick, it tells your white blood cells to work harder to fight off the germs.

  • The next worksheet that should be presented is “The Parts of a Neuron”. As each part is explained, the students should write the name on the line.

  • A neuron has four parts: dendrites, cell body, axon, and axon terminal

  • Dendrites: branches on the cell body where impulses from other cells are received and sent to the cell body.

  • Cell Body: also called the soma; where the nucleus is located; sends messages to other neurons

  • Axon: threadlike part of a nerve where impulses are conducted.

  • Axon Terminal: transmits a neurotransmitter from neuron to neuron.

 

Information Source:

http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com

  • The last worksheet that should be presented is “The Levels of Consciousness”. As each part is explained, the students should write the name in the box.

Levels of Consciousness:

  • When we are conscious, we are awake. Our brain is responsible for our conscious state. There are eight levels of consciousness.

  • Conscious: awake and responding properly.

  • Unconscious: state of being unaware and unable to respond to stimuli.

  • Lethargy: lowered level of consciousness—when we are very tired or drowsy.

  • Stupor: unresponsive state where the person can only be awaken for a brief time

  • Syncope: also known as fainting; brief loss of consciousness

  • Coma: deep form of unconsciousness; a person in a coma does not have eye movement, does not respond to stimuli, and does not speak.

  • Persistent Vegetative State: form of a coma where the person has a cycle of sleeping and then waking up; however, when the person is awake, they are still unconscious

  • Delirium: acute condition of delusion, confusion, memory loss, and hallucinations.

 

Information Source: Medical Terminology for Healthcare Professionals by Ann Ehrlich and Carol L. Schroeder. © 2012.

  • Once the worksheet packet is explained, tell the students they will be looking at optical illusions. Explain that an optical illusion is an image that can be misleading to the brain. The picture and what the brain perceives it do not match up. The students will break into groups of three or four. Each student will be given a “What Did You Notice?” worksheet. On desks throughout the room will be pictures of optical illusions. Allow the students about 15 minutes to go around the room and look at the pictures and write their observations. Reconvene when 15 minutes is over and review the worksheet/ activity.

**Hold the pictures at a distance to get the full effect of the illusion**

 

  • The final assessment will be for the students to answer the question:

Think about what you learned in class today. Why is our nervous system important? What purpose does our brain serve? What would happen to our body if our brain stopped working? What is the difference between autonomic and somatic nerves and motor and sensory nerves?

free lesson plan and resources for the nervous system

Time/Application
3-5 minutes
Guided Introduction

Review the class/ agenda with the students:

  • Introductory Activity: Fact or Fake?

  • Discussion about the Nervous System

  • “Our Amazing Brain Packet”

  • Group Activity: “/”

  • Discussion of Group Activity

  • Independent Assessment

5 minutes

Introductory Activity:

  • Draw two columns on the board: “Fact” and “Fake”.

  • Have the “Fact or Fake?” cards on a desk in front.

  • Read through each card, asking the students if they think the fact about the tongue is real or made up.

25 Minutes

Parts of the Nervous System | Diagram of the Brain | Parts of a Neuron | Levels of Consciousness

  • Give each student the “Our Amazing Brain” worksheet packet.

  • Topics Discussed: Nervous System, the Brain, Neurons, Levels of Consciousness

  • Project the worksheets (as presented) onto the board either through a projector or PowerPoint presentation.

15 Minutes

Group Activity: “Optical Illusions”

  • Give each student a “What Did You Notice?” worksheet.

  • Instruct the students to break into groups of three or four.

  • Set up the “Optical Illusions” pictures on desks around the room. Have the students circulate around the room and look at each picture. The students should write their observations on their worksheet.

  • At the end of 15 minutes, have the students return to their desks and discuss their observations.

Closure/Assessment
10 minutes

Independent Assessment:

  • The final assessment will be for the students to answer the question:

Think about what you learned in class today. Why is our brain important? What would happen to our body if our brain stopped working?What is the difference between autonomic and somatic nerves and motor and sensory nerves?

  • Appropriate answers should include (but will vary):

Our brain is important because it controls everything our body does. Without our brain, we wouldn’t be able to perform actions such as walking, talking, writing, or eating. Our brain also controls the movement of our internal organs, such as our heart and digestive system. If our brain were to stop working, our body would shut down.  Autonomic nerves are automatic—we do not tell these nerves to do their job (i.e., heartbeat, digestive system). Somatic nerves are voluntary—we control these nerves (i.e., jumping, walking). Motor nerves allow the brain to control the muscles (i.e., heart). Sensory nerves allow the brain to control how we react to the outside world (what we see, hear, feel, taste, and smell—the 5 senses).

  • If there is additional time, discuss any additional questions the students may have.


Individualized Instruction/Scaffolding

English Language Learners will be supported in this lesson through data-based heterogeneous grouping, verbal and written repetition of new vocabulary words, and multiple representation of vocabulary words through printed images and video.