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Lesson Title: The Brain in Space
May 11, 2012

Unit: Life Science - The Body

Grade Levels: 7-9

Connection To Curriculum: Science and Mathematics

Teacher Prep Time: 2 hours

Lesson Time Needed: 4 hours

Complexity Advanced

Keywords: inner ear, human vestibular system, motion, fatigue, reaction time

Materials:

Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Lazy Susan or other rotating device
False eyelashes
Clear glass jar or cylinder with lid
Water
Watch
Notepad
Pen or pencil
Book
Blindfold
Protractor
Chalk
Yarn or string (approx. 1 m)
Push pin
Meter sticks
Scissors
Measuring tape
Graph paper
Bell
Calculator
 

Description
This lesson integrates a series of activities to investigate the effects of space travel on the human brain. Activities guide students to experience the challenges of spaceflight.

Objectives
Students will:
• Model the inner ear and investigate the effects of motion on the inner ear.
• Investigate the effects of motion on the human vestibular system and how that motion affects human actions.
• Explore the effects of fatigue on human reaction time.


First page of The Brain in Space

Lesson Guide
The Brain in Space Lesson
[101KB PDF file]

 

 

Professional Development Training Modules for This Lesson

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› Find Your Way Around training module  →
Note: Module may take a few minutes to load.
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› How Quick Are Your Responses? training module  →
Note: Module may take a few minutes to load.
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› Vestibular System training module  →
Note: Module may take a few minutes to load.
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› Vestibular Ocular Reflex training module  →
Note: Module may take a few minutes to load.
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› Help me! I can't access the training module.


Lesson Activities and Sequence
The listed sequence leads students from investigating basic reflexes to investigating the effects of motion on the human body.

  1. How Quick Are Your Reflexes?
    Students will learn what reaction time is and how it is measured and investigate the effects of fatigue on reaction time.
    Keywords: fatigue, sleep/wake cycle, reaction time

  2. Visualizing How the Vestibular System Works
    In this activity, students will learn about the effects of different types of motion on the hairs suspended in fluid in the inner ear. Students create a model that permits them to visualize the movement of fluid and bending of hairs in the inner ear in response to motion. It also demonstrates how the vestibular system maintains or restores equilibrium despite movement.
    Keywords: motion, inner ear, head movement

  3. Vestibular-Ocular Reflex
    Students will perform various investigations to understand the vestibular-ocular reflex and learn about the importance of visual cues in maintaining balance.
    Keywords: eye movement, head movement, nystagmus

  4. Find Your Way Around Without Visual or Sound Cues
    In this activity, students will play a series of simple games to investigate navigation without visual and sound cues.
    Keywords: inertial navigation, auditory, self-motion sensors, spatial orientation

National Standards:

National Science Education Standards, NSTA
Science as Inquiry
• Skills necessary to become independent inquirers about the natural world.
• Understanding of scientific concepts.
• An appreciation of "how we know" what we know in science.
• Understanding of the nature of science.
• Dispositions to use the skills, abilities and attitudes associated with science.

Life Science
• Characteristics of organisms.
• Organisms and environments.
• Structure and function of living organisms.
• Regulation and behavior.
• Diversity and adaptations of organisms.

History and Nature of Science
• Science as a human endeavor.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, NCTM
Measurement and Data
• Represent and interpret data.

Geometry
• Draw and identify lines and angles, and classify shapes by properties of their lines and angles.

 

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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator