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  1. 1. Build-A-Brain • Hands-on activity for upper elementary-high school that focuses on neuroanatomy, vertebrate diversity, and brain evolution Developed by: • Laura Carruth, Ph.D. (Georgia State University Neuroscience Institute and the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience) • John Pecore (GSU College of Education and CBN) • Melissa Demetrikopoulos, PhD. (Institute for Biomedical Philosophy)
  2. 2. Why study the brain? • Because it is involved in the control of all of our other systems – Digestion – Respiration – Circulation – Movement – Regulates many aspects of behavior – Much more!
  3. 3. The Amazing Case of Phineas Gage “The man who hurt his brain” Did he live? Accident happened in 1848 with a steel tamping rod 1.25 inch (3cm) thick and 3.5 feet long What do you think happened to him after the accident? You’ll find out at the end of the session!!
  4. 4. Frontal Lobe • reasoning • planning • parts of speech • movement • emotions • problem-solving Temporal Lobe • Hearing or audition • memory Parietal Lobe perception related to: • touch • pressure • temperature • pain Occipital Lobe • Vision or sight The Cerebrum Lobes are only organized like this in the brains of mammals
  5. 5. Brain Stem and Spinal Cord Hypothalamus Thalamus—sensory relay station •Midbrain •Hindbrain •Cerebellum •Pons-”bridge” •Medulla oblongata Responds to visual and auditory stimuli Lower vertebrates = vision •Diencephalon
  6. 6. The Cerebellum • Functions: Involved in the coordination of balance, locomotion and movement • All vertebrates have a cerebellum which varies in size depending on the class of animals
  7. 7. How Do You Interact with the World Around You? What are your senses? What brain regions process sensory information? 2. Hearing (auditory or aural; ears or skin)-- Temporal lobe of cerebrum 3. Touching (tactile; skin)-- Parietal lobe of cerebrum 4. Tasting (gustatory; tongue, skin in some animals)— Limbic system and parts of cerebral cortex 5. Smelling (olfaction; nose)—olfactory bulbs 1. Seeing (vision)--Occipital lobe of cerebrum
  8. 8. What Do Our Senses Tell Us? 1. What is out in the environment 2. How much is out there 3. Is there more or less of it than before 4. Where it is located 5. If it is changing in time or place
  9. 9. Brain Diversity and Adaptations  Understanding an animal’s behavior or how it interacts with its environment can help you make predictions about what its brain might look like  Knowing about an animal’s brain can help you make predictions about its behavior or sensory systems  Relative brain size is more important than overall brain size  Brain Regions: Cerebrum Sensory systems Cerebellum, Brain stem
  10. 10. Dog vs. Cat How do they behave or act? How do they move? Who is smarter? What senses do they use?
  11. 11. Dog vs. Cat
  12. 12. Why study the Brain and Behavior? Many complex behaviors can be understood by looking at the brain regions or structures that control these behaviors.
  13. 13. Vertebrate Brains and Brain Diversity
  14. 14. Sharks--fish •Have specialized receptors for sensing the electrical field put out by prey •Can detect smells in the water at concentrations lower than one part in 10 billion •Some sharks sense light directly through the skull Snakes--reptile •Pit-vipers have a heat-sensitive organ that responds to very small temperature changes •A rattlesnake can detect a mouse 40 cm away •Snake tongues have no taste buds. It brings smells and tastes into the mouth which are then detected in two pits on the roof of their mouths. •Snakes have no moveable eyelids. Instead, they have a clear, scale-like membrane covering the eye. AMAZING VERTEBRATE BRAINS and SENSES
  15. 15. Bats--mammal •Can detect warmth of an animal from about 16 cm away •Can find insects up to 18 ft. away and get information about the type of insect using their sense of echolocation Birds of Prey—Hawks, Buzzards and Eagles •Retina has 1 million photoreceptors (to detect light) per square mm. •Can see small rodents from a height of 15,000 ft and has 20/5 vision
  16. 16. Brain Complexity and the Human Brain How does this brain compare to the vertebrate brains you’ve just seen? •Convolutions = folds •Increase surface area •Increase in brain complexity in the cerebrum and/or cerebellum only
  17. 17. Brains and Behavior of Aquatic Mammals: A Comparison of Dolphins, Sea Lions and Manatees Comparison Dolphin Sea Lion Manatee Class Mammal Mammal Mammal 1° foraging mechanism (how they find food) echolocation visual tactile Diet shrimp, fish fish sea grasses Vocalizations Complex, whistles barks mother-pup I.D. Territorial no yes no Dominance hierarchy yes yes no Tricks Acrobatic/balance Acrobatic/balance ? Olfaction Lobes and nerves absent Pup I.D. probably Cerebral cortex Guess! Guess! Guess!
  18. 18. Sea Lion Bottle-nose Dolphin
  19. 19. Marine Mammal: Florida Manatee
  20. 20. Compare Marine Mammal Brains
  21. 21. Carnivore vs. Herbivore How do their behaviors differ?
  22. 22. African Elephant Looking at this brain what can you say about an elephant’s balance? Sense of smell? People always say elephants have good memories. What region of the brain is involved in memory? Can we see it here?
  23. 23. •He lost almost the entire left side of the frontal lobe •He lost his left eye •His personality changed •He went from being mild-mannered, polite and likeable to crude, rude and unable to make or follow through with plans •He live for 11 years after his accident What did we learn from the brain of Phineas Gage? So, what did happen to Phineas Gage?
  24. 24. Websites about the brain • Neuroscience for Kids website: – • Brainy Kids – • Center for Behavioral Neuroscience: – • Comparative Mammalian Brain Collections –
  25. 25. Build-A-Brain • Make the brain of an imaginary vertebrate animal • Use colored play-doh • Work in group of no more than 4 students • Think about: – Where does your animal live, how does it move, what does it eat, when is it active………. – Use a different color for each brain part: • Cerebrum—mammals need to have the four lobes • Cerebellum • Midbrain • Brainstem • Spinal cord • Sensory systems (like olfactory bulbs) • Any other brain regions important for behavior – Does your animal have convolutions in the cerebrum or cerebellum?
  26. 26. Dog and Wolf
  27. 27. Domestic Cat and African Lion
  28. 28. Ungulates—hoofed mammals
  29. 29. •Live in forests or swamps, along coastal areas of islands. Roost in colonies by day, and may use the same roosting site for years. •Need a large body of water nearby for survival. •At night, they fly to neighboring fruit trees to feed. •Mainly drink the juice of the fruit, spitting out the pulp and seeds. Bats: Indian Flying Fox