Build-a-brain – 60 Informal Points (Clay Build) Introduction

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Name Fisher  KEY

Build-A-Brain – 60 Informal Points (Clay Build)


Your alarm goes off and your arm flies up to hit the snooze button. You drag yourself out of bed and decide what to wear and what to have for breakfast. Your sister’s pancakes smell good so you grab a few bites while she’s not looking and head out the door. Running late (as usual), you sprint to catch your bus. You struggle to keep your balance as you head to the back of the already moving vehicle. A younger kid slams into your side with his book bag. You are about to yell, but you figure it’s not worth it and grab a seat. You finish up the last of your math homework and turn on your iPod to clear your head. You have two tests and then a game after school. You think to yourself, “How am I going to get through the day?”

All the events of your morning and all the events of the day to come are controlled by your control center, the brain. The brain allows us to move, to breathe, to make decisions, to solve problems, to feel emotions and to interact with the world around us. This 3lb, jellylike organ is often compared to a computer, but the brain is so much more complicated than even the biggest, fastest supercomputer- thanks to the 100 billion nerve cells that keep our body functioning (that’s more nerve cells than stars in the galaxy!). The brain is the key to communication in the human body. This organ not only allows your systems to communicate with one another, but allows you to communicate with and respond to your surroundings.
The central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain and the spinal cord, while the peripheral nervous system (PNS) consists of a system of nerve cells that transmit information to and from the control center. These two systems work together to make sure important information gets to your brain to be processed and interpreted and to make sure that the correct response is generated.
In this activity, you will build a model brain and create the spinal cord on your Maniken®. As you build, you will begin to see connections between specific parts of the brain and specific actions, thought processes and functions that make us human.


  1. Research the structure and function of the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS). Use a reference textbook or a reliable Internet resource to fill in the table below.



Central Nervous System


Spinal Cord

*Protected by bone

Brain - Integrating most sensory information and

coordinating body function, both consciously and

unconsciously. Complex functions such as thinking

and feeling as well as regulation of homeostasis are

attributable to different parts of the brain.

Spinal Cord – Conducts signals from brain to body and

vice versa; also controls simple musculoskeletal

reflexes without input from the brain

Peripheral Nervous System


Consists of nerves and ganglia

outside of the brain and spinal


Sensory Neurons

Motor Neurons

*Not protected by bone

Sensory Neurons – Run from stimulus receptors that

Inform the CNS of the stimuli

Motor Neurons – Run from the CNS to the muscles and

glands and take action

Sub Divided into the Somatic Nervous System

and the Autonomic Nervous System and then the

Autonomic Nervous System is divided into the

Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems

Additional stuff to know:

*Visceral refers to internal organs.

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