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8.1: Planning

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Key Ideas

  • The primary job of the nervous system is to coordinate normal body functions.
  • Scientists continue to learn more about brain functions through the study of diseases and disorders of the nervous system.
  • There are some simple things that can be done to keep the nervous system healthy.


Students explore how the nervous system coordinates important life functions. They study effects of several diseases and disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, brain tumors, headaches, and drug addiction, that interrupt the functioning of the nervous system. They explore learning and complete activities to check and improve memory. Students investigate sleep, and they propose ways to take better care of the nervous system.



explain the term homeostasis and its relationship to the nervous system.

identify diseases and disorders of the nervous system.

describe how diseases and/or disorders disrupt the nervous system's homeostasis.

explain how drugs or alcohol can affect the nervous system.

identify ways to maintain a healthy nervous system.


anorexia nervosa, bulimia

Student Materials

Activity 7-1: Cortical Experiences

  • Activity Report
  • Brain models such as “Brain on a Stick” and “Thinking Cap”
  • Plastic wrap
  • Washable markers of different colors.

Activity 7-2: Improving Your Memory

  • Activity Report

Activity 7-3: Your Nervous System in Action

  • Activity Report
  • Models of the Brain (e.g. “Big Brain on a Stick,” “Thinking Cap”)
  • Text

Teacher Materials

Activity 7-1: Conical Experiences

  • Activity Report Answer Key
  • Large chart or transparencies showing regions of the brain and their functions.
  • Text reference on parts of the brain and their functions
  • (Optional) “Big Brain on a Stick,” “Thinking Cap,” or large model of the brain, for class demonstration

Activity 7-2: Improving Your Memory

  • Activity Report Answer Key

Activity 7-3: Your Nervous System in Action

  • Activity Report Answer Key
  • (Optional) Large charts of the brain and nervous system, other models students have made (e.g., neuron, reflex arcs)

Advance Preparation

See Activities 7-1, 7-2 and 73 in the Student Edition.

Activity 7-1: Cortical Experiences

  • Gather student materials (models, plastic wrap, and pens) for each student team, or ask students to bring them for each team.
  • Collect teacher materials for demonstration.
  • Remind students to have texts available for reference.
  • Provide storage or display space for students to place materials after the day's activity.
  • You may want to videotape presentations for use later, with other classes, or for assessment purposes.
  • Invite a guest speaker to talk about the brain and its functions. Suggestions for a guest speaker include a physician (neurologist), nurse, and neurobiologist.

Activity 7-2: Improving Your Memory

  • None

Activity 7-3: Your Nervous System in Action

  • Gather “Big Brain on a Stick” and “Thinking Cap” models, along with any desired preserved specimens or charts of the nervous system.

Interdisciplinary Connections

Health Research and discuss the causes, effects, and treatment for eating disorders.

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