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Brain and nervous system

Content objective:

What are we learning and why are we learning this? Content, procedures, or skills.

Vocabulary objective

Tier II: High frequency words used across content areas. Key to understanding directions & relationships, and for making inferences.

Tier III: Low frequency, domain specific terms.

Building on what we already know

Make connections to prior knowledge. This is where we build from.

We will learn

How different parts of the brain have different functions

How the CNS (central nervous system) connect the brain and spinal cord

How the PNS (peripheral nervous system) reaches out from the CNS to the rest of the body.

How the nervous system can be considered a system for homeostasis,

The brain

This is where the “you” in you really resides.

All your thoughts, feelings, emotions and memories are created and work here.

Our brain interprets information from our eyes (sight), ears (sound), nose (smell), tongue (taste), and skin (touch), as well as from internal organs such as the stomach.

eloquent areas of brain

The brain is made of several types of nerves – billions of them – connected to each other in an intricate web, always creating new connections as we grow and learn.

Related – learn how nerves work here.

CNS (central nervous system)

The CNS consists of the brain and the spinal cord.

The spinal cord is the highway for communication between the body and the brain.

When the spinal cord is injured, the flow of information between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted.


PNS (peripheral nervous system)

The PNS is the set of nerves reaching from the CNS out to the rest of the body.

It sends information from the body’s sensory receptors to the CNS.

Once the CNS decides what to do about this info it sends a signal back to the muscle or organ through the PNS.

Sensory/Afferent neurons – Carry info from different parts of your body to your brain.

smell, taste, vision, hearing, heat, pressure

Motor/Efferent neurons – Carry info from your brain to muscles and glands

control speaking, walking, breathing, and swallowing.

Let’s look at a three dimensional view of the PNS


Learn how nerves work here.

What is consciousness?

What is consciousness?

Psychiatry and Psychology

Psychiatry is the medical field devoted to the diagnosis, study, and treatment of mental disorders.


Psychology is is the study of the mind and behavior.



How motor neurons branch into the somatic and autonomic systems


The Nervous System overview the-autonomic-nervous-system

How the autonomic nervous system branches into the sympathetic and parasympathetic system


Sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system

Related articles

The cortical homunculus

Michelangelo’s Secret Message in the Sistine Chapel: A Juxtaposition of God and the Human Brain (Scientific American)

Learning Standards


HS-LS1-2 Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms.  Emphasis is on functions at the organism system level such as nutrient uptake, water delivery, and organism movement in response to neural stimuli.

HS-LS1-3  Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that feedback mechanisms maintain homeostasis.  Examples of investigations could include heart rate response to exercise [This is sympathetic vs parasympathetic nervous innervation – RK]

2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework

HS-LS1-2. Develop and use a model to illustrate the key functions of animal body systems: Emphasis is on the primary function of the following body systems (and structures): digestive (mouth, stomach, small intestine [villi], large intestine, pancreas), respiratory (lungs, alveoli, diaphragm), circulatory (heart, veins, arteries, capillaries), excretory (kidneys, liver, skin), and nervous (neurons, brain, spinal cord).

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