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Universe Within, The

Classroom Activity


Objective
To chart the electrical, chemical, and mechanical systems that are engaged in the brain and body when a person picks up a pencil.

Materials for each team
  • copy of "Pencil-Lifting Flow Chart" student handout (HTML)
Procedure
  1. Copy and distribute the "Pencil-Lifting Flow Chart" student handout. According to what they observe in the program, have students complete the flow chart of the series of events that takes place in the brain and the body when a person picks up a pencil. They should include as many electrical, chemical and mechanical systems as they can, in the proper order.

  2. After students have completed the challenge, discuss the other body systems (not directly covered in the program) that are crucial to the success of picking up a pencil, such as vision, balance, sensory input from fingers, and cognition.

Activity Answer

Student responses should reflect an understanding of the various systems of the body presented in this program. The first step in picking up a pencil happens in the brain, when the person decides to perform an action. The eyes locate the pencil. The brain sends a nerve impulse to the muscles of the arm. The arm muscles, connected to the arm bones, move, and the hand muscles and bones grasp the pencil. As the body's weight shifts, the other parts of the body shift to remain balanced.

Teacher's Guide
Universe Within, The
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Video is required for this activity