Lesson Plans

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience – Neuroscience 101

Created by : 
University of Washington

In this interactive lesson, students will learn the basic anatomy and physiology of the nervous system. Starting with the structure of the brain, spinal cord, and nerve cells, student will then learn about neurotransmission, the electrochemical process by which neurons send signals. They will participate in several activities that model the functions of neurons. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series

What’s In the Lesson Plan: 

  • Teacher instruction guide
  • Student handouts
  • Laboratory instructions
  • Extensions and additional resources

Grade Level(s): 


Student Skills Targeted: 

  • Knowledge of the structure and function of the nervous system
  • Understanding that the brain is the body’s most complex organ
  • Understanding that the brain communicates with the rest of the body
  • Understanding that thoughts and behaviors result from signals among neurons

Time / Duration: 

  • 2 class periods, plus time for homework


  • Student handouts
  • Rope (for dendrites and axon)
  • Plastic containers (for cell body and synaptic terminal)
  • Pool float (or another object that will slide along the rope; for the action potential)
  • Plastic balls (for neurotransmitters)

Alignment with National Standards: 

  • Next Generation Science Standards
  • Common Core Standards: English Language Arts


  • English