Learning Exercise

Nervous System Assignment for General Biology

Your assignment is to navigate to the following site, read through the materials presented, and take the practice exam. The site is at http://serc.carleton.edu/sp/merlot/biology/visualizations/examples/48556.html



This site is part of a larger site Called "InnerBody," which is a guide to human anatomy online. This particular section... see more


  1. Explain the purpose of the nervous system (detection of stimuli, coordination, and response).
  2. Ask participants to discuss the nervous system and how it is different, but necessary for other systems such as the endocrine system (control of bodily functions).
  3. Discuss the neuron as the basic unit of the nervous system, draw a representative neuron, and show representations of nerve cells. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=482586
  4. Explain the mechanism of the neuron and how messages are transferred along a neuron. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=482586
  5. Discuss functions of the spinal cord and brain and then show how these parts are connected in the vertebrate nervous system. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=482581
  6. Draw a generalized depiction of the human brain, label the major parts, and provide a function of each. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=482586

Technical Notes

No technical notes are needed for this activity.


Requirements include access to the Internet as well as paper and pencil in hand to sketch material.


Human Anatomy, Nervous System

Type of Task

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the purpose of the nervous system and its relation to other systems of the body.
  • Know the structure of the neuron and how it works.
  • List and describe different parts of the nervous system.
  • List and describe different parts of the human brain.


Here is a a practice quiz that can be used to assess student learning:

1. The basic unit of the nervous system is the A) cell B) brain C) dendrite D) neuron E) synapse

2. Nerve cells that function as integrators and can be found in the brain and spinal cord are referred to as A) interneurons B) sensory neurons C) reflex neurons D) motor neurons E) dendrites

3. Message transfer from one axon terminal to another neuron is called A) brain power B) a thought C) conduction D) synapse E) relapse

4. At rest, the inner membrane of the neuron is A) negatively charged B) positively charged C) neutral D) open E) non-existent

5. What part of the brain is responsible for automatic functions such as breathing and heart rate? A) Cerebelum B) Cerebrum C) Thalamus D) Hypothalamus E) Medulla oblongata

Answers: 1-D, 2-A, 3-D, 4-A, 5-E