I. The Nervous System:
An introduction to body communication pgs: 4-12
II. The Central Nervous System pgs: 13-49
(includes brain flashcards!)
III. The Peripheral Nervous System pgs: 50-59
IV. Basic Neuron Structure and Functions pgs: 60-75
V. Cranial Nerves and Spinal Nerves pg: 76-100
(There is an easier way!)
E. Spinal Cord: The interstate that connects the brain to the body!
The spinal cord is much like an interstate that connects the brain to the body. It receives sensory input from the body and delivers motor output to specific areas of the body.
The following activity can give students a conceptual understanding of how the spinal cord works:
1. Sensory and Motor tracts:
Have students draw this simple outline of the brain.
Now, have them add this diagram attaching it to the bottom of the brain stem.
At the end of this tube, students need to write L1. The spinal cord actually ends at the 1st Lumbar vertebra (L3 for infants and young children).
Have students reach up with their right hand and find L1 on their own backs. WOW! Many students think that the spinal cord goes all the way down to the coccyx! They will be surprised to find out that it ends much farther up!
Have students add arrows pointing up to the brain.
These arrow and tube represent the SENSORY tracts (or pathways) going up to the brain with input. (Teachers…notice that we placed these sensory tracts dorsal.)
Have students think of these pathways as specific lanes on an interstate going to a specific city/town. (Use a common interstate located in your area. Pick a city/town that is the brain. The lanes or pathways going to that destination are the Sensory Tracts.)