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In this unit, we will examine how the body can sense stimuli in the surroundings. We will focus on the eye and the ear, on their structure and function. We will also examine the various problems that may occur with vision or hearing.
This unit also presents an opportunity to learn about the two systems in the human body that are responsible for coordinating responses in the body to stimuli. The Nervous System is responsible for fast responses and uses a series of electrical messengers to send signals, whereas the Endocrine System is responsible for slower responses and uses chemical messengers to effect changes in the body. Both of these systems are important in keeping our internal systems constant and stable. This stability can be altered by drugs and during this unit we will learn about the proper functioning of these two systems and expore how drugs can help and hinder their functions.

Key words

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Eye (and all the associated terms), Ear (and all the associated terms), Stimulus, response, sense organs, central nervous system (CNS), peripheral nervous system (PNS), sensory receptors, sensory effectors, neuron, axon, synapse, interneuron, sensory neuron, motor neurons, nerve, reflex arc, cerebrum, cerebellum, brain stem, corpus callosum, negative feedback system, homeostasis, hormones, endocrine gland, coordination, conscious actions, involuntary actions, pituitary gland, adrenal gland, thyroid, hypothalamus, pancreas, adrenalin, insulin, glucogen, oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone

Student Work/Resources

The Senses
This is an introduction "Senses Challenge" to get you thinking about your senses

The EYE and Vision Problems

Activity - Eye Brainpop & Eye labelling worksheet:

Experiment - Eye tests, p110
At home, you may wish to watch the COW's EYE DISSECTION!

Activity - Vision Problems BrainPop worksheet:

What does the image look like if a person has a number of eye problems?

What is it? What causes it?
(It is genetic - sex-linked. It is very common, and occurs mostly in boys - 1 out of 12 boys are colourblind).

A colour blindness test for red-green colourblindness:

How does the eye focus on an object?
There are three steps.
A last step presented in this video shows how the lens of the eye changes shape to help us to focus on objects. This process is called accommodation.

Activity - Copy figure 4.1.11 from your textbook, p106, to show how the lens of the eye changes shape to focus on a near or distant object.
Highlight the contrasting terms in each of the diagrams (eg.suspensory ligaments are taut vs suspensory ligaments are slack)

Near & Far sightedness (Myopia & Hyperopia) and the use of corrective lenses:

Activity - Using information from that youtube and from your textbook (p107), write a summary and a diagram for each of myopia and hyperopia to show what causes each and which lenses are used to correct them.

Corrective laser surgery - LASIK

Here is a medical animation/explanation:

There are videos of the real thing on Youtube... caution to those with sqeemy tummies... now's the time to turn away!
You may also want to watch cataract surgery videos!


Here's a medical animation/explanation:

Here's the youtube 9X started watching in class...! Cover your eyes!

More information on myopia and hyperopia (and LASIK) to watch at home:

Here's an interactive which shows ACCOMMODATION in the eye:

Experiment: 4 - Lens & retina, p111 SF3
Think Quest -

Choose one of the ares to study from the left hand column and write notes about your findings.
Combine these with the person beside you.

The EAR and Hearing Problems

Activity - Watch the HEARING brainpop and take notes about the ear in your notebook. Fill in the Brainpop worksheets and the labelling the EAR worksheet:

American Sign Language(ASL) - the alphabet chart: http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/cedir/kidsweb/amachart.html
Activity: Work in pairs - create a short message and try to communicate with your partner using sign language".
  • How would your life be different if you couldn't hear?
  • What would you miss most? Why?
  • Give two examples of how you would need to compensate for behaviours you take for granted.

3D animation through the ear:

What does a hearing aid look like and how does it work?

What is a cochlear implant and how does it work? Here's an animation:

Here's an 8 month old baby boy who was born deaf... having his cochlear implant switched on for the first time! (Grab the tissues!)

Audiograms, range of frequency of hearing, decibels and hertz:

Activity - Graphing the range of frequency of hearing for various animals:

Experiment - Could try #1 - hearing tests & #3 measuring decibels, page 116

GIZMO - Simulation - Hearing: Frequency and Volume from www.explorelearning.com

Coordination and Control

STIMULUS/RESPONSE - Our bodies can respond to our environment in a variety of ways. We use our senses to detect what is happening around us. This allows us to detect dangers or can help to direct us to something we need or something of interest.
    • A stimulus from the environment is something we detect with our sense organs and then our bodies exhibit a specific response to that stimulus. For example, a loud crash (stimulus) may make us jump (response) Create a table to describe examples of a stimulus/response for each of the sense organs.
    • A stimulus response model that occurs without conscious thought is known as a reflex arc (see diagram above on a sneeze). This involves the following: stimulus, sensory receptors, sensory neurons, CNS, motor neurons, effectors, response. Create a flow diagram using these words that outlines a specific reflex arc.

Coordination - Nervous System and Endocrine System
ClickView video: "Control and Coordination" - A contrast between the nervous system (fast response) and the endocrine system (slow response).
This is a high level and challenging video, but it introduces key concepts for us to discuss.
Here is the worksheet:

Summary of key points of the nervous system -

Good animations of nerve impulse and synaptic action -->

Mimicking the Brain and how synapses communicate

Contrast a reflex response (involuntary response - reflex arc) with a response that goes to the brain for processing (voluntary response) by doing these experiments:

The pupillary and patellar REFLEXES
: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/chreflex.html

Voluntary responses: Prac #3 - Skin Receptors, p123 Science Focus andReaction Time(How fast are you?) http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/chreflex.html
Funny reaction test

Complete these worksheets to check your level of understanding regarding the nervous system and the hormonal (endocrine) systems:

The Nervous System: Skills - knowledge and understanding (SF 4.7 worksheet)

Endocrine System

(Questions to answer during the above video)

Chemical Control: Skills - Interpreting, numeracy, knowledge (SF 4.8 worksheet)

Ultimately, these two systems are working to keep the body in HOMEOSTASIS.

What is homeostasis? BrainPop worksheets:

GIZMO - Simulation on Homeostasis from www.explorelearning.com

Endocrine system worksheet and answers


Brain BrainPop


Lobes, Functions and Drug Effects on the brain - visit this site http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/introb.html and do the following:
  • go to "Brain Basics" and then "Lobes of the Brain" and draw a map of the lobes of the brain including short notes about the function of each lobe
  • go to "Drug Effects" and make a table of information about at least three different drugs and their effect on the body, then find out some more detailed information about one of them and be prepared to tell the class something interesting you have found
  • browse through "Higher Functions" to discover some interesting facts about the brain
Take this interactive quiz to find out if you are right-brained or left-brained, auditory or visual minded.


This Jeopardy game highlights 5 key areas of study for the test:


NERVE IMPULSE/SYNAPTIC TRANSMISSION (Advanced)- go to http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072495855/student_view0/chapter14/animation__the_nerve_impulse.html and watch the animation about a nerve impulse and answer the quiz below it. Then go to http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072495855/student_view0/chapter14/animation__transmission_across_a_synapse.html and answer the quiz on synaptic transmission. After the quizzes, write a short explanation of how a nerve impulse/action potential is carried along a neuron and what happens at the synaptic gap betwee neurons.

NEUROTOXINS - open this sheet and find the solutions by researching the internet. You can start here:

Some fun brain games here (only after you have finished all of your other work, please) - http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/chgames.html

HOMEOSTASIS - go to this website http://www3.fhs.usyd.edu.au/bio/homeostasis/Temp_Control_System.htm to explore animations which demonstrates and example of homeostasis, specifically, temperature control using a house as an analogy. Aftter looking at these animations, toggle through the pages by using the right red arrows at the bottom of the pages to learn how these analogies relate to the human body by reading and doing the activites. Write/type the answers and some notes about our body's temperature control in your notebook.

NERVOUS SYSTEM DISORDERS - go to http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/introb.html#di to find out about Neurological and Mental Disorders - Meningitis, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Schizophrenia and one other of your choosing. Create a table that includes information about the causes, symptoms and treatments.

HORMONAL DISORDERS - go to http://kidshealth.org/teen/diseases_conditions/ and under "Growth, Hormones and Diabetes" find out about Diabetes (Types 1 and 2), Thyroid disease and Dwarfism including symptoms and treatments. Summarise your findings into a table , case study or mind map.