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The Nervous System

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Nervous System

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The Nervous System

Life Science

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Learners identify the structures and functions of the nervous system.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Explain that the nervous system can be broken down into two major divisions, the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS).
  • Identify different structures that make up the central and peripheral nervous systems.
  • Explain the functions of the major parts of the nervous system including the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves.

Everything You'll Have Covered

The nervous system is a major part of the human body that consists of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. It is responsible for controlling, regulating, and communicating with all other parts of the body. Together, these organs form an intricate network of electrical signals that are responsible for coordination, the senses, emotions, speech, the thought process, and storing memories.

The nervous system is divided into two major divisions: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.

The central nervous system consists of the vitally important brain and spinal cord, both of which are protected by bones. The cranium protects the brain, and the spinal cord is protected by the vertebral canal. The brain consists of the cerebrum, cerebellum, brain stem, pituitary gland, and hypothalamus. All of which work together and serve a different function such as memory, thought, breathing, and storing memories. The spinal cord extends from the base of the skull. Its function and purpose is to carry impulses to and from the brain, and respond to reflex actions.

The peripheral nervous system consists of the nerves that branch out from the brain and spinal cord to form a network that communicates with the rest of the body. The peripheral nervous system contains two major types of nerves: the cranial nerves and the spinal nerves.

The cranial nerves consist of twelve nerves that pass throughout the head, neck, and facial regions. They have various functions, but are specific to the cranial area. Whereas, the spinal nerves consist of 31 pairs of nerves that are connected to the spinal cord laterally, and contain both sensory and motor components.

Overall, the nervous system is the control center of the entire body. The brain, spinal cord and nerves work together to coordinate all actions and reactions within the body, without it, survival would not be possible.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 30 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts nerves, stimulus
Course Life Science
Type of Tutorial Concept Development
Key Vocabulary brain, brain stem cell, central nervous system, cerebellum, cerebrum, coordination, nerve, nervous, neuron, organ, peripheral nervous system, spinal cord, tissue