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The Nervous

and Its Function

Central Nervous System (CNS)

Made up of the brain and spinal cord.

Processes and responds to all messages coming for the

peripheral nervous system.

The Spinal Cord: An Extension of the


The Basis of the Nervous System:


Axon Connections

Synapses are what Connect Motor


How are Motor Neurons/Axons

Different Than Normal Cells?

There is one key difference between neurons and other cells.

Neurons are specialized to transmit information throughout the

Action Potentials

Its what sends the electrical signal from one neuron to another

Cell membrane

Resting Membrane Potential(mV) is approximately -60mV

Must become more positive in order to fire a signal (action potential)

Information Collection

Some neurons are sensory neurons

These neurons gather information about what is happening in

and around your body.

They have special nerve endings called receptors.

Example: receptors in your eyes detect light and then send the
information to the CNS for processing!

Sensory Nerve Cells (Neurons)

Activated by mechanic stress, temperature changes, and acidity


Mechanoreceptors, Thermoreceptors, pH receptors

Have graded potentials.

Citations for Pictures

Axon Connection)
Spinal Cord)

Lab Activities

Spiker Boxes w/ EMG: Correlation between contraction force and

rate of firing seen on the phone screen.


Changing contraction force

Angle of Contraction

Contraction Rate

Cockroach Legs: Different areas of sensitivity


Pressure Changes

Length of Stimulation

Whisking against leg sensory hairs


The students already knew a lot about the nervous system and
motor neurons.

We were able to reinforce and put the information into tangible

experiments that helped reinforce what they had learned prior to,
and during our presentation.

The students were very engaged. Several students raised their

hands to answer each question that we asked during the

Their attentiveness and comprehension during the experimentation

portion of our presentation showed that they did in fact learn more
about action potentials in particular.

Results continued

Questions Asked:

How do action potentials begin? receptors in the membranes of

sensory cells allow ion flow and positive change in membrane

How many times can a motor neuron fire an action potential? as

long as ions are available action potentials can occur.

Why do you still get burned if you pull your hand off the stove right
away? it takes time to not only sense the heat, but also to travel
along motor neurons and back to the hand to pull the hand away.


We got really good feedback from the students who said they had
a better understanding of the nervous system and action
potentials because of the experiments.

We received an email from the teacher thanking us for coming in

and presenting and providing a hands-on experience for the
students to learn more about topics they had covered previously
in class.

Suggestions for Improvement

Make sure you know that the cord connecting the EMG box to the
phone is connected correctly not a normal auxiliary cord.

We knew they had previously covered some of this material, so

we recommend making sure there is an understanding of how
advanced the students are in the topic. This would have helped
us in that we could have went more in-depth than we did during
our presentation.