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Key Ideas

  • The nervous system triggers movement of many muscles for normal activities and to help with survival in the environment.
  • Some muscles move automatically to help maintain your body functions. Other muscles involve conscious coordination by the nervous system of many muscle groups at once.
  • Learning new movements requires practice to develop new connections between neurons in the brain.

Overview

Students incorporate their study of the structure and function of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves to examine how the nervous system coordinates simple and complex movements of the body. They build a life-size map of the nervous system to explore how the brain, nerves, and muscles connect. They analyze the coordinated action of both walking and writing. Students perform experiments to explore the effects of practice on the coordinated movement of muscles.

Objectives

Students:

\checkmark identify sensory and motor nerve connections to the brain and spinal cord.

\checkmark distinguish between the three types of muscle cells (skeletal, striated, and cardiac) and their respective functions.

\checkmark compare voluntary and involuntary muscles regarding function and control.

\checkmark explain how the coordination of the brain and spinal cord controls muscle movement.

\checkmark trace the sequence of events performed by motor neurons and muscles that enables someone to walk

Vocabulary

cardiac muscles, involuntary, voluntary, skeletal muscles, smooth muscles

Student Materials

Activity 6-1: Connecting Your Brain and Muscles

Per student

  • Activity Report
  • Colored marking pens (black, yellow, green, and brown); Butcher paper; “Big Brain on a Stick” model (from Activity 2-1); Transparent tape; Colored yarn or string (green and yellow); Meter stick

Activity 6-2: Moving Muscles

  • Activity Report
  • “Thinking Cap” from Activity 2-2; Yellow and green yarn; Scissors

Activity 6-3: The Nervous System and Muscles Working Together

  • Activity Report
  • Writing paper; Tape; Marking pens

Teacher Materials

Activity 6-1: Connecting Your Brain and Muscles

  • Activity Report Answer Key

Activity 6-2: Moving Muscles

  • Activity Report Answer Key

Activity 6-3: The Nervous System and Muscles Working Together

  • Activity Report Answer Key

Advance Preparation

See Activities 6-1, 6-2, and 6-3 in the Student Edition.

Activity 6-1: Connecting Your Brain and Muscles

  • Be sure students have completed the text through Section 6.
  • Provide ample floor space by rearranging furniture or using the gym or hallway.
  • You may want to cut large pieces of butcher paper before class.
  • Determine where to store or display completed maps of the nervous system.
  • Gather marking pen sets (black, yellow, green, and brown).
  • If you decide to videotape this activity, have camera and tape available.

Activity 6-2: Moving Muscles

  • Be sure students have completed the text through Section 6.
  • Suggest that students wear PE clothes for this activity.
  • If you decide to videotape this activity, have camera and tape available.
  • Consider and arrange for a guest speaker (or student) who is knowledgeable or able to demonstrate how a physically challenged person can show mastery of writing and drawing. Be sure to prepare your students thoroughly for this guest speaker's presentation.

Activity 6-3: The Nervous System and Muscles Working Together

  • Be sure students have completed the text through Section 6. Suggest that students wear PE clothes for this activity. If you decide to videotape this activity, have camera and tape available. Consider and arrange for a guest speaker (or student) who is knowledgeable or able to demonstrate how a physically challenged person can show mastery of writing and drawing. Be sure to prepare your students thoroughly for this guest speaker's presentation.

Interdisciplinary Connection

Physical Education Students connect the nervous pathways on their maps with body motions used in running and walking. They can chart the effects of practice on improvement of a sport skill.

Image Attributions

Description

Authors:

Grades:

6 , 7 , 8

Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Feb 23, 2012
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