Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Action Potential Lesson using Educreations

Mr. Strand's class used the app Educreations to make videos explaining their lesson on action potential.   I totally had to email Mr. Strand and see exactly what the kids had to do - he gave me a "simple" version which is what I need, and then he gave me the "science" version, which is what some of you might need:):

Simple version

The students had to draw and explain how our nervous system sends and receives messages via something called an action potential.  To do this they had to understand both the structure (anatomy) and function (physiology) of neurons and how they connect at a synapse.  The whole system works because nerve cells are both "irritable" meaning that they can detect/respond to a stimulus and "conductive" meaning that they can transmit impulses.  Because of these two properties our nervous system is able to sense and respond to thousands of different complex stimuli all at the same time.

More complex, detailed, sciency version
They had to draw and explain how nerve cells communicate by sending electrical impulses which is called an action potential.  Synapses are places where two nerve cells communicate with each other using chemicals called neurotransmitters.  These neurotransmitters are detected by the receiving neuron (nerve cell) and that initiates the action potential (explained shortly).  When the neuron is at rest (not being stimulated) there charge difference between the inside and the outside of the nerve cell membrane.  The outside of the membrane has a high amount of Sodium ions which are positively charged (Na+).  This makes the outside have a slight positive charge.  The inside of the cell membrane by comparison is slightly negatively charged.  When the receiving neuron detects the neurotransmitter it becomes "switched on" and begins to send its message by allowing sodium to pass through the membrane down the length of the cell.  The sodium makes the inside of the membrane positively charged and that positive charge is carried down the nerve.  This positive charge ends up reaching the end of the nerve (axon terminal) where more neurotransmitter is released and the signal gets passed on to the next nerve via the release of neurotransmitters again.

Regardless of the version - here is the student sample: 

Make it a great day,
Mrs. I:)

No comments:

Post a Comment