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Nervous System

This page authored by Jim Bidlack, University of Central Oklahoma, based on an original activity by Melissa Pickering, Innerbody Direct, and Scott Sheffield, Get Body Smart
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This page first made public: Aug 17, 2010

This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project

Summary

Discussion, along with artistic representations, are used to help participants understand the purpose of the nervous system, know the structure of a neuron and how it works, and list the components of the nervous system as well as their functions.


Learning Goals

  • Explain the purpose of the nervous system and its relation to other systems of the body.
  • Know the structure of the neuron and how it works.
  • List and describe different parts of the nervous system.
  • List and describe different parts of the human brain.

Context for Use

This teaching strategy for the nervous system provides a one-hour presentation, with artistic representations to better understand purpose, structure, and function of the nervous system and its components.

Description and Teaching Materials

  1. Explain the purpose of the nervous system (detection of stimuli, coordination, and response).
  2. Ask participants to discuss the nervous system and how it is different, but necessary for other systems such as the endocrine system (control of bodily functions).
  3. Discuss the neuron as the basic unit of the nervous system, draw a representative neuron, and show representations of nerve cells. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=482586
  4. Explain the mechanism of the neuron and how messages are transferred along a neuron. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=482586
  5. Discuss functions of the spinal cord and brain and then show how these parts are connected in the vertebrate nervous system. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=482581
  6. Draw a generalized depiction of the human brain, label the major parts, and provide a function of each. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=482586

Supporting Files:

Teaching Notes and Tips

This teaching strategy provides discussion, as well as artistic representations of the components of the nervous system. The introductory discussion helps students understand the basic structure and function of a neuron, and then use this information to learn how neurons work together to form nerve tissues and organs of the nervous system. Incorporation of artistic representations from learning sites, interspersed during discussion, helps participants keep actively engaged in the learning experience.

Assessment

Participants may be tested on their comprehension of this learning material through multiple choice, short-answer, or essay exams. A few example questions are embedded in this Activity Sheet, entitled "Questions – Nervous System."

References and Resources

MERLOT description and link to "Nervous System" which shows artistic representations for different parts of the nervous system. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=482586

MERLOT description and link to "Human Anatomy: Nervous System," which provides detailed artistic representations and descriptions of the nervous system. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=482581