5 Engaging Ways to Teach Students the Central Nervous System

Anjaney Kothari

The body’s command center – the central nervous system – is such a crucial topic in biology and medicine that educators must introduce it to students in the best way possible. From a bird’s eye view, the central nervous system may appear to simply be the brain and the spinal cord. But the biological reality is that the brain has different lobes and areas that serve distinct functions. Similarly, the spinal cord has different sections, each with its own role.

Thus, teaching students the central nervous system means covering all these complex topics. Here, we list five engaging ways to teach the basics of the central nervous system to students.

1. Use Interactive Models to Keep Students Engaged

One-on-one interaction with the subject matter gives students a sense of control over their learning. Interactive models can provide this experience while also arousing the students’ curiosity.

Take Labster’s central nervous system simulation, for example. In our simulation, students learn about the parts of the brain responsible for tasks like breathing, speaking, and doing math. They also identify the part of the brain involved in a virtual co-worker’s speech impairment. This investigative approach to learning can help students dig deeper into science while learning it at their own pace.

2. Make Learning Fun with Games and Activities

Games and activities have the power to stimulate both hemispheres of the brain and improve cognitive function. Incorporating them in the conventional classroom experience can make learning more effective.

You can use a variety of games and activities to teach your students about the central nervous system. For example, to explain the lobular architecture of the brain, you can use modular, 3D physical models. You can ask your students to assemble the lobes correctly to complete the brain model. You can also add to this activity some student presentations about the functions of the different lobes of the brain. Taken together, the components of this activity will activate both halves of the students’ brains. This will help them understand the topic faster and retain the information longer.

3. Infuse Technology into Lessons

Modern teaching technologies like animation and simulation are capable of taking us into domains that one cannot otherwise explore. This power is particularly helpful in teaching scientific concepts that require exploring the insides of an organ or a cell.

For example, Labster’s central nervous system simulation takes the students into the depths and entanglements of the brain. They learn the differences between the different areas of the cerebral cortex as well as different types of matter. The simulation further explains the different sections of the spinal cord and their distinct functions.

Discover Labster's central nervous system virtual lab today!

4. Inspire Students by Discussing Career Opportunities

Study topics become a lot more relatable when there is an awareness of the careers that they can help shape. To encourage your students to be more invested in studying the central nervous system, discuss the many professions that depend on it.

For example, talk about how neurologists cannot function without an in-depth knowledge of the central nervous system. Tell your students how neurobiologists studying the neural origins of learning, memory, curiosity, and other phenomena must first understand the basics of the central nervous system.

5. Connect Topic to Real-World Applications

Often, a subject’s real-world value gets lost in the sea of theoretical knowledge that educators unleash in the classroom. It is essential to connect all topics of study to their real-world applications to create awareness about their relevance.

Here are some real-world applications of studying the central nervous system that you can discuss with your students:

·   Many neurological problems, such as aphasia, occur because of issues in specific lobes of the brain. A knowledge of the lobular architecture and functional variation can help understand and treat these disorders.

·   Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases arise from abnormalities in the brain’s gray matter. Knowing the types of matter in the brain and their individual roles is crucial to our understanding of neurodegenerative diseases.

Final thoughts

The central nervous system may appear simple in a flow chart on paper, but it is anything but that. The five methods we have discussed here can help you engage your students in the intricacies of the central nervous system and facilitate more effective learning.

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