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Neuroscience 101-

In this interactive lesson, students will learn the basic anatomy and physiology of the nervous system. Starting with structure of the brain, spinal cord, and nerve cells, students will then learn about neurotransmission, the electrochemical process by which neurons send signals. They will participate in several activities that model the functions of neurons.

 

Infusions & Decoctions: Preparing Plant Extracts

In this lesson, students learn that many plants contain chemicals with medical properties, including neuroactive properties.  In the lab portion, they use either an infusion or decoction laboratory procedure to make a liquid that contains these plant chemicals. These plant extracts will be used in other labs in the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience curriculum.


If Worms Drank Coffee: Investigating the Effects of Plant Extracts on Planaria Movement


In this lesson, students will explore how plant extracts act as stimulants or depressants and affect planaria movement.







Heads and Tails: Investigating the Effects of Plant Extracts on Planaria Regeneration

This lesson is designed to introduce students to the concepts of stem cells and regeneration using planaria as a model organism. In the lab portion, students will explore how the plant extracts they made previously in the Infusions & Decoctions: Preparing Plant Extracts lesson affect planaria regeneration.

 


Botanical Superheroes: Investigating the Antibacterial Properties of Plant Extracts


In this lesson, students learn that bacteria can cause illness, including neurological diseases such as meningitis. In the lab portion, they examine whether some plant extracts are effective at slowing down the growth of bacteria.







Botanical Heart Throbs: Investigating the Effects of Plant Extracts on Heart Rate in Lumbriculus Worms



In this lesson, students will observe and count the heart rate of Lumbriculus worms with and without the addition of a plant extract.



Chromatography: Observing Complex Combinations of Chemical Compounds


In this lesson, students learn that plant extracts are mixtures of many chemical compounds and it is possible to separate these compounds using chromatography.

 


SpikerBox: Listening in on the Neural Activity of Cockroaches

In this lab, students will investigate if cayenne pepper extract affects the electrical communication in the cockroach nervous system. They will use a SpikerBox, a “bioamplifier” that allows them to hear the spikes (action potentials) of live neurons in a cockroach’s leg.





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