Lesson Title: The Brain in Space
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.
• 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.
Professional Development Training Modules for This Lesson
Lesson Activities and Sequence
The listed sequence leads students from investigating basic reflexes to investigating the effects of motion on the human body.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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 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.
• 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.
• Draw and identify lines and angles, and classify shapes by properties of their lines and angles.