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The Peripheral Nervous System: Create a model of the nervous system Virtual Lab

Learn about the nerves that make up the peripheral nervous system and create a working model of the system. Test out your new model by tracking a motor signal traveling from the central nervous system to the thumb!

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The Peripheral Nervous System: Create a model of the nervous system

About this Simulation

In this simulation, you will learn about the peripheral nervous system by building a model of the system. You will learn about the structure of nerves that make up the system and how they connect to the central nervous system. Can you successfully complete the challenge by connecting all 12 cranial nerves (and 31 spinal nerves) to their correct positions?

Create a nerve model

To start, you’ll answer a few questions about the structure of nerves. Take a look at a cross-section of a nerve with a microscope to learn about the layers of connective tissue that surround nerve fibers. Now it’s time to build some nerve models! You can 3D-print these models in our virtual lab, then connect them to the central nervous system. 

Attach the cranial and spinal nerves

Ever wondered which nerve is responsible for the cozy feeling you get when sipping hot cocoa? In this simulation, you will. As your next step, connect the cranial nerves to the inferior of the brain and learn the function of each nerve. Once all the cranial nerves are attached, you will need to assign them a type: sensory, motor, or mixed. The final step to complete your peripheral nervous system model is to attach the correct number of spinal nerves to each region of the spine. 

Track a motor signal on its journey to the thumb

To test to see if your model works, track a motor signal as it travels from the central nervous system to the thumb. On its journey to the thumb, the motor signal will encounter ventral rami and a plexus. Will your model of the peripheral nervous system be a success?

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to:

  • Detail the general structure of a nerve and relate it to its role in the peripheral nervous system

  • Categorize the 12 cranial nerves by name, number, origin, and type and briefly summarize their functions

  • Classify the spinal nerves by region, explain the formation of the rami, and name the 4 plexuses

Techniques in Lab

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to:

  • Microscopy

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