Module 5.2

The Senses

Structure and Function – How are organisms structured to ensure efficiency and survival?

5.2 - Perceiving and responding to information about the environment is critical to the survival of organisms.

¨     The sense organs perceive stimuli from the environment and send signals to the brain through the nervous system.

 

B 1.      Describe how light absorption and reflection allow one to see the shapes and colors of objects.

B 2.      Describe the structure and function of the human senses and the signals they perceive.

 

 


 

Module 5.2

 

 

GRADE-LEVEL CONCEPT: u The sense organs perceive stimuli from the environment and send signals to the brain through the nervous system.

GRADE-LEVEL EXPECTATIONS:

1.     Animals have sense organs that are structured to gather information about their environment.  Information perceived by the senses allows animals to find food, water, mates and protection. 

2.     Each sense organ perceives specific kinds of stimuli. Some human senses are more or less developed than the senses of other animals. 

3.     Sense organs transfer information through a network of nerves to the brain where it is interpreted and responded to.   The brain responds by sending messages to all parts of the body.  The type of response and the amount of time it takes for the response to occur vary depending on the stimulus. 

4.     The human ear is structured to collect sound vibrations from the environment and pass them through the middle ear (eardrum and small bones) and inner ear (hair-lined tubes) to the auditory nerve where they are transformed into electrical signals that are sent to different parts of the brain.

5.     The human eye is structured to collect light through the cornea and the pupil.  The amount of light that enters the eye is controlled by the iris.  The cornea and the lens refract the light and focus it onto the retina and the optic nerve where it is transformed into electrical signals that are sent to different parts of the brain.

6.     For anything to be visible, light must be present.  For a person to see an object, the light it reflects or produces must have a straight, unobstructed path to the eye. 

7.     Human eyes have receptors for perceiving shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

8.     Sunlight (or “white light”) is a combination of colors.  White light passed through prisms, water droplets or diffraction gratings can be refracted to show its component colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

9.     The perceived color of an object depends on the color of the light illuminating it and the way the light interacts with the object.  The color humans see is the color that is reflected by the object.  For example, an object that appears green is absorbing all colors except green, which is reflected to the eye.

10.   Human skin is structured to detect information related to texture, temperature, pressure and vibration.  Each sensation has different receptors distributed around the body; some areas of the body have greater concentrations of receptors for certain sensations, making those areas more sensitive than others to texture, temperature, or pressure. 

11.   Human noses are structured to collect and detect chemicals floating in the air (odors).  Tiny hairs behind the nose have special receptors that respond to airborne chemicals and produce electrical signals that are transmitted to different parts of the brain by the olfactory nerve.

12.   Human tongues are sense organs that are structured for detecting chemicals dissolved in saliva (flavors).  Taste buds respond to 4 basic tastes: salty, sweet, sour and bitter.  Special receptors in taste buds respond to tastes and produce electrical signals that transmit information through nerves to different parts of the brain.

KEY SCIENCE VOCABULARY:  sense organ, receptor, stimulus, response, nervous system, vibration, reflect, refract, cornea, pupil, iris, lens, retina, white light, absorb

 


Lesson 5.2.1               Nervous System

Concepts

Performance Expectation

Structure and Function -How are organisms structured to ensure efficiency and survival?

5.2 - Perceiving and responding to information about the environment is critical to the survival of organisms.

·   The sense organs perceive stimuli from the environment and send signals to the brain through the nervous system.

B21  Describe the structure and function of the human

         senses and signals they perceive.


Science Materials:                
                        Four paper bags labeled A - D, each containing one of the following:

                                    salt

                                    baking soda

                                    powdered sugar

                                    cornstarch

                        Graph Paper

                        Science Journal (notebook)

 

Student Handouts:   Data Table, Schoolhouse Rock: Telegraph Line (Optional)

Vocabulary:  sense organ, receptor, stimulus, response, nervous system

Inquiry:  In this inquiry, students will explore human sense organs and how access to different stimuli in our environment enables an individual to respond with more accuracy.

 

Procedures and Directions:

  1. Explain the activity and ask the students to make predictions in their journal.
  2. Place students in groups of four and give each student a copy of Handout A, Data Table.
  3. Each group of four students will receive the set of 4 paper bags containing the samples.
  4. Ask each group member to take one of the bags and note what letter is written on it.
  5. It is important that they do not look in the bag at this time.
  6. Ask each student to feel the content of their paper bag without looking and record what they think is the unknown material. The volunteers are not to taste what is in the bag, and they are not to say aloud what they think it is.
  7. Have the students rotate their paper bag to the student at their right.
  8. Repeat step 6 and continue until each student has had a chance to guess the identity of all four substances using only the sense of touch.
  9. The students should now pass the bags around a second time, now using sight to guess the identity of the substances.
  10. Finally, circulate the bags allowing the students to use all other senses to identify the substances. If they suggest tasting, assure them that none of the substances is harmful to taste.
  11. When students have completed this last observation and recorded their guesses, provide them with the correct identity of each of the substances.
  12. Students should summarize the data in a graph for each of the unknowns. The x-axis will be the senses used and the y-axis will be the number of students that made the correct prediction of the substances identity.

Questions to Guide Student Inquiry:

·      What sense do you predict will most helpful in allowing you to identify the sample?  least helpful?

·      How accurate were the responses from the sense of touch alone? From the sense of sight alone? From a combination of these, and possibly with help from the sense of taste?

·      How do the senses depend on each other?

·      How do all five senses help us to know what is happening around us?

 

Extensions:

Share and discuss lyrics for “School house Rock”

(Optional)  Watch “Schoolhouse Rock: Telegraph Line” on the internet. The video is presently available at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6088150380611957379. The video can easily be found with a Google Video search.

 

This lesson was adapted from “The Five Senses – Lesson 7: All Together, Now” at Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, http://www.sedl.org/scimath/pasopartners/senses/lesson7a1.html, Last accessed July 11, 2005


Background for Teacher:

 

“Neuro” means relating to the nervous system.  People who study the nervous system are called neuroscientists.

 

The brain performs all of its functions by receiving and sending signals through a network of fibers called nerves.  Nerves are bundles of special cells called neurons. There are about 100 billion neurons in our bodies.  They transmit signals just like electricity is transmitted through a wire. For example, if you stubbed your toe, a sensory neuron in your toe would send a signal to your Central Nervous System to inform it what has happened.  You would perceive the signal as pain.  Neurons also send signals within the brain.

 

Example Graph:


Data Tables

 

 

Student Prediction of Sample Identity using

 

Touch Only

Sight Only

All 5 Senses

Bag 1

 

 

 

Bag 2

 

 

 

Bag 3

 

 

 

Bag 4

 

 

 

 

 

Number of Students who Identified Sample correctly using

 

Touch Only

Sight Only

All 5 Senses

Bag 1

 

 

 

Bag 2

 

 

 

Bag 3

 

 

 

Bag 4

 

 

 

 


 

Title  _______________________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Schoolhouse Rock: Telegraph Line

Music & Lyrics: Lynn Ahrens

 


Inquiry Lesson 5.2.2                         Nervous System and Information Flow

                     Concepts      

Performance Expectation

Structure and Function -How are organisms structured to ensure efficiency and survival?

5.2 - Perceiving and responding to information about the environment is critical to the survival of organisms.

·   The sense organs perceive stimuli from the environment and send signals to the brain through the nervous system.

B21  Describe the structure and function of the human

         senses and signals they perceive.


Science Materials:    

·      Signs that can hang around a student’s neck:

o      1 sign saying “Stimulus: Nail”

o      1 sign saying “Sensory Neuron”

o      1 sign saying “Motor Neuron”

o      1 sign saying “Neuron in CNS”

o      1 sign saying “Muscle”

·      A sign to be passed saying “Signal”

·      Access to the internet

           

Student Handouts:   Neuron Structure (A), Neuron Self-Quiz (B), Reflex Arc (C)

Vocabulary:  neuron, peripheral nervous system, central nervous system, cell body, dendrites, axon, glial cells, sensory neuron, motor neuron, receptor, effector, reflex arc

Inquiry:  In this inquiry, students will explore the structure and function of neurons to gain an understanding on how information travels in the nervous system.  They will use their knowledge to model information flow from the reception of a stimulus and the following response.

 

Procedures and Directions:

1.   Students complete Handout A.  Students can use Handout B to quiz themselves.

2.   Individual groups design a reflex arc

3.   Have a group act out the reflex arc they designed with the signs.  As the signal travels along      each student they can make statements similar to:

·      The information travels across the gap toward the next cell.

 

 

 

 


Questions to Guide Student Inquiry:

 

·      What is the pathway of information to withdraw your foot or hand from danger?

·      How does the brain receive information from the environment?

            Tell students to think of other scenarios that involve their sensory organs sending    information to their brains. 

·      What are possible results of nerve damage?

·      Diagram information flow for receiving and responding to something you detected with a sense organ.

 

Science Concept:   Information flows in a single direction in our nervous system: receptor → sensory neuron → neuron in the CNS → motor neuron → effector (e.g., muscle).  This internal means of communication allows an organism to respond to its environment.

      

Extension:

 

Have students watch the video on “Protecting your Hearing” available at NIHSeniorHealth.gov http://nihseniorhealth.gov/hearingloss/causesriskfactorsprevention/05.html

 

If access to the internet is not available then the teacher can print the transcript for the video.

 

 

Parts of this lesson were adapted from Traumatic Brain Injuries - Lesson 2: Making Neurons at Hall of Health.  http://www.hallofhealth.org/sepa/lesson_plans/brain/B2_LP.doc

Last accessed July 14, 2007.
Background for Teacher:

 

Key Terms:

Neuron: A specialized cell that can receive signals and transmit them to other neurons or muscle cells.

Peripheral nervous system:  The part of the nervous system that includes sensory and motor nerves that branch from the central nervous system to the rest of the body.

Central nervous system: The brain and spinal cord.

Cell body: This is the control center of the neuron.  Many branches extend from the cell body to receive signals.

Dendrites: signal input region of a neuron.

Axon: signals continue from the cell body down the axon which carries signals to effectors (i.e., another neuron, muscle, gland)

Glial Cells: fat containing cells associated with axons that increases signal transmission rate

Sensory nerve: Nerves that react to external stimuli and send signals to the brain.

Motor nerve: Nerves that send signals from the brain to the muscles to make them move.

 

The brain performs all of its functions by receiving and sending signals through a network of fibers called nerves.  Nerves are bundles of special cells called neurons. There are about 100 billion neurons in our bodies.  They transmit signals just like electricity is transmitted through a wire. For example, if you stubbed your toe, a sensory neuron in your toe would send a signal to your Central Nervous System to inform it what has happened.  You would perceive the signal as pain.  Neurons also send signals within the brain.

 

The neuron receives a signal from the brain or another neuron through the dendrites. The signal then travels to the cell body which is the control center of the neuron.  A signal then travels along the axon, which is like a trunk.  Glial cells, are fat containing cells on the axon, which increase the speed that a signal can travel down the axon.

 

When the signal reaches the end of the axon branches it can cause a response in the next neuron

or in another type of cell (e.g., muscle).   There are tiny gaps after every neuron.  Signals must travel across these gaps to another neuron or muscle.  Information travels in a one-way direction and move at speeds up to 268 miles per an hour.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions: Use the labeled figure above to fill in the blanks below.

A neuron receives information at the ______________.  Information moves down these branched structures toward the ______________.   The information may then travel down the _______________, a long trunk like structure which branches at its end.   This trunk may be covered with fat filled cells called ______________, which increase the speed which a signal can travel.

 

 

 

 

 

Handout A


 

 

 

1.    ________________                                             Label the drawing using the

2.    ________________                                             following words.

3.    ________________

4.    ________________                                             axon               cell body             

                                                                                    dendrite             glial cell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handout B


Handout C


Inquiry Lesson 5.2.3                         Human Sense Organs

                     Concepts      

Performance Expectation

Structure and Function -How are organisms structured to ensure efficiency and survival?

5.2 - Perceiving and responding to information about the environment is critical to the survival of organisms.

·   The sense organs perceive stimuli from the environment and send signals to the brain through the nervous system.

B21  Describe the structure and function of the

         human senses and signals they perceive.


Science Materials:    

           

Student Handouts:              

Vocabulary:  sense organ, receptor, stimulus, response, nervous system, vibration, cornea, pupil, iris, lens, retina

Inquiry:  In this inquiry, students will explore the anatomy of human sense organs and how specialized structures in these organs can detect stimuli and bring about a response.

 

Procedures and Directions:

1.     What structures are unique to your individual sense organs?

2.     How do these structures allow the particular sense organ to detect a stimulus?

3.     What type of stimulus are these structures capable of detecting?

 

Questions to Guide Student Inquiry

 

Science Concept:  Sense organs are specialized to detect different types of stimuli that an organism will encounter in their environment.  Coordinated responses to varied types stimulus can increase an organism’s ability to survive. 

 

 


Inquiry Lesson 5.2.4                         Structure and Function of the Eye

                     Concepts      

Performance Expectation

Structure and Function -How are organisms structured to ensure efficiency and survival?

5.2 - Perceiving and responding to information about the environment is critical to the survival of organisms.

·   The sense organs perceive stimuli from the environment and send signals to the brain through the nervous system.

B21  Describe the structure and function of the

         human senses and signals they perceive.


Science Materials:     small flashlight of low intensity

           

Student Handouts:   Handouts A, B and C

Vocabulary:  sense organ, receptor, stimulus, response, nervous system, cornea, pupil, iris, lens

Inquiry:  In this inquiry, students will explore the anatomy of human eye and how specialized structures in this organ respond to different intensities of light.   

 

Procedures and Directions:

  1. In classroom light, have each student take turns looking into his or her partner's eyes in order to observe the partner's pupil size. Have each student draw the partner's pupil size on Handout A for "with Dim Lights."
  2. Explain that again each student will look into his or her partner's eyes in order to observe pupil size, this time in dim light with a penlight or small flashlight. The viewing time, however, will be limited to a 1-2-3 count. On the count of 3, students are to turn off their lights and again record their observations in their Handout A for "with Bright Lights."
  3. Working with their partners, have students compare and note pupil sizes between drawings 1 and 2. Ask them to discuss what they think made the difference in the size of the pupils they observed and drew for each exercise.
  4. Pairs of students are given a copy Handout B to complete. 
  5. Each student will be given a copy of Handout C to quiz themselves on eye anatomy.

Handouts B and C can be color coded using colored pencils by the students

 

Questions to Guide Student Inquiry

 

Science Concept:  The eye is capable of responding to various intensities of light.  This capability allows us to perceive objects across a broad range of light conditions (e.g., night, day, overcast, etc.) by controlling how much light enters the eye.   

 

 

Parts of this lesson were adapted from “Lights, Camera, Action!” at Institute of Atmospheric Sciences. http://www.ias.sdsmt.edu/RSEL/Outreach/ESC/ESC_CD/LESSONS/LIGHTS_CAMERA_ACTION/LESSON_PLAN.HTM  Last accessed July 16, 2007.

 

Parts of this lesson were adapted from “Can You See What I See” at National Teachers Enhancement Network

http://www.scienceteacher.org/k12resources/lessons/lesson10.htm  Last accessed July 16, 2007.

 

 

 

 

Background for Teacher:

The human eye is a remarkable organ that, through the sense of light, allows us to learn more about our surrounding environment.

Through the iris (colored part of the eye that control the size of the pupil through the contraction of muscles) and the pupil (the black circle that controls the amount of light entering the eye), the amount of light entering the eye is regulated.


1.     What did you observe happen to your partners eyes?

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.     What part(s) of your partner’s eye caused the change you observed?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.     Explain why your partner’s eyes responded differently to the two levels of light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handout A

 

 

 

Directions: Use the labeled figure above to fill in the blanks below.

The front of the eye is protected by a clear layer called the ______________.  When you look at someone’s eyes, you will see a colored part called the ______________.  In the middle of this colored part is a black opening that allows light into the eye; it is called the ______________.  The ______________ is held by muscles and focuses light on the back of the eye.  The back of the eye is called the ______________.  Signals from the eye go to the brain through the ______________.  At the back of the eye is a place where there is o room for receptors called cones and rods.  This place is called the ______________.

 

 

Source: http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/eyediagram/index.asp

 

 

Handout B

 

 

 

 

 

1.    ________________                                             Label the drawing using the

2.    ________________                                             following words.

3.    ________________

4.    ________________                                             retina               pupil              iris

5.    ________________

6.    ________________                                             lens               cornea              

7.    ________________

                                                                                    blind spot              optic nerve

 

 

 

 

 

Handout C


Inquiry Lesson 5.2.5                         Perceiving Color

                     Concepts      

Performance Expectation

Structure and Function -How are organisms structured to ensure efficiency and survival?

5.2 - Perceiving and responding to information about the environment is critical to the survival of organisms.

u The sense organs perceive stimuli from the environment and send signals to the brain through the nervous system.

B20  Describe how light absorption and reflection

         allow one to see the shapes and colors of

         objects.

B21  Describe the structure and function of the

         human senses and signals they perceive.

 

Energy
Transfer and Transformations -What is the role of energy in our world?

5.1 – Light is a form of energy.

u Light is a form of energy that travels in a straight line and can be reflected by a mirror, refracted by a lens, or absorbed by objects.

B19  Describe how light is absorbed and reflected

         by different surfaces

 


Science Materials:    

           

            Per group

·      Items colored red, blue or yellow (i.e., primaries)

·      Items intermediate to the primaries (e.g., secondaries).

·      Color wheel

·      Packet of Colored Filters: Red, Blue and Yellow  (primaries)

           

Student Handouts:  Color Wheel (Handout A)  

Vocabulary:  sense organ, receptor, stimulus, response, nervous system, reflect, pupil, iris, lens, retina, white light, absorb

Inquiry:  In this inquiry, students will begin to explore properties of light.  They will discover that light energy varies and that this variation allows us to perceive the color of an object.

 

Procedures and Directions:

 

1.   Have student form groups of 4 - 5 individuals.

2.   Give each group a color wheel and packet of colored filters.

3.   Remind them of the information reported on light receptors by the group that researched eyes or if this information was not covered then explain to the students how there are 3 types of color receptors in our eyes. 

4.   Give each group an item whose color is not a primary color.

5.   Each group will formulate an explanation for their perception of the color of the object they were assigned.

6.   Each group will then report their findings to the class.

Questions to Guide Student Inquiry:

 

1.   Are the various colored objects around us light sources?  Explain.

2.   If receptors in our eyes respond to light stimuli then how could the objects not be light   sources?

3.   Why would an object appear black?  white?

4.   Why refer to the complete visible spectrum as white light?.

5.   Why do we perceive the objects around us as being different in color?

6.   If we only have three types of color receptors in our eye then how can we perceive colors so many colors (e.g., 64 box of crayons).

 

Science Concept:  The color of an object is perceived by which colors of the visible spectrum hit our retina.  Light that is not absorbed or transmitted by an object is reflected.  This reflected light stimulates the receptors of the eye and then our brain decodes this information.  The color we perceive is dependent on the degree that the individual types of receptors on the retina are stimulated.

 

This lesson was adapted from “Optics: Energy and Control – Transparency of Objects Subtask 7” at My Science Site  http://camillasenior.homestead.com/files/integrated_optics_unit.pdf

Last accessed July 14, 2007.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: http://faculty.fortlewis.edu/lancaster_k/video304/colorwheel.jpg

 

 

 

 

Handout A



"Stimulus Nail"

 

 

 

 

 

"Muscle"

 


"Sensory Neuron"

 

 

 

 

"Motor Neuron"

 


"Neuron in CNS"

 

 

 

 

"SIGNAL"

 

 

 

 

Exercises for Module 5.2

GRADE-LEVEL CONCEPT: u The sense organs perceive stimuli from the environment and send signals to the brain through the nervous system.

GRADE-LEVEL EXPECTATIONS:

13.   Animals have sense organs that are structured to gather information about their environment.  Information perceived by the senses allows animals to find food, water, mates and protection. 

14.   Each sense organ perceives specific kinds of stimuli. Some human senses are more or less developed than the senses of other animals. 

15.   Sense organs transfer information through a network of nerves to the brain where it is interpreted and responded to.   The brain responds by sending messages to all parts of the body.  The type of response and the amount of time it takes for the response to occur vary depending on the stimulus. 

16.  The human ear is structured to collect sound vibrations from the environment and pass them through the middle ear (eardrum and small bones) and inner ear (hair-lined tubes) to the auditory nerve where they are transformed into electrical signals that are sent to different parts of the brain.

17.   The human eye is structured to collect light through the cornea and the pupil.  The amount of light that enters the eye is controlled by the iris.  The cornea and the lens refract the light and focus it onto the retina and the optic nerve where it is transformed into electrical signals that are sent to different parts of the brain.

18.   For anything to be visible, light must be present.  For a person to see an object, the light it reflects or produces must have a straight, unobstructed path to the eye. 

19.   Human eyes have receptors for perceiving shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

20.  Sunlight (or “white light”) is a combination of colors.  White light passed through prisms, water droplets or diffraction gratings can be refracted to show its component colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

21.   The perceived color of an object depends on the color of the light illuminating it and the way the light interacts with the object.  The color humans see is the color that is reflected by the object.  For example, an object that appears green is absorbing all colors except green, which is reflected to the eye.

22.   Human skin is structured to detect information related to texture, temperature, pressure and vibration.  Each sensation has different receptors distributed around the body; some areas of the body have greater concentrations of receptors for certain sensations, making those areas more sensitive than others to texture, temperature, or pressure. 

23.   Human noses are structured to collect and detect chemicals floating in the air (odors).  Tiny hairs behind the nose have special receptors that respond to airborne chemicals and produce electrical signals that are transmitted to different parts of the brain by the olfactory nerve.

24.   Human tongues are sense organs that are structured for detecting chemicals dissolved in saliva (flavors).  Taste buds respond to 4 basic tastes: salty, sweet, sour and bitter.  Special receptors in taste buds respond to tastes and produce electrical signals that transmit information through nerves to different parts of the brain.

KEY SCIENCE VOCABULARY:  sense organ, receptor, stimulus, response, nervous system, vibration, reflect, refract, cornea, pupil, iris, lens, retina, white light, absorb


Nervous System and Information Flow

Science Concept:   Information flows in a single direction in our nervous system: Receptor → sensory neuron → neuron in the CNS → motor neuron → effector (e.g., muscle or gland).  This internal means of communication allows an organism to respond to its environment.

 

The Reflex arc is the simplest demonstration of communication. Reflex actions are involved in most of our self-correcting actions. A brief introduction should be given describing the idea of a reflex and the basic types of neurons. Alternatively, this could be given as a pre-class reading assignment.

 

Place the students in pairs and have them perform two or three of the reflex tests noted below. Teachers should choose the test that they feel will work best with their class. As they work, students should record the stimulus, receptor (or receptor organ), effector and action for each test. It might be good to have them modify the drawing above for each of the reflexes.

 

Swallowing Reflex:

§       This reflex is one that is always active, but seldom noticed. Once a person begins swallowing (moving material to the back of the oral cavity) the reflex takes over and it is nearly impossible to stop. In addition, without material in your mouth to swallow the reflex does not occur.

§       Students should be told to swallow the saliva in their mouths and immediately swallow again. Challenge them to swallow in as rapid succession as possible. They should note a delay. Then have them consider how fast they swallow when drinking a glass of water rapidly.

§       Questions: Why can you swallow faster when drinking? What stimulates the swallowing reflex? (having something in your mouth)

 

Photo-Pupil Reflex:

§       This reflex is simply the adjusting of pupil size to light intensity.

§       One member of each student pair should close their eyes for two minutes. When the two minutes is up, the other student should examine the first student’s pupils as he/she open their eyes while facing a bright light or window. An alternative method is to have the partner shine a flashlight into the first student’s eyes to see the change in pupil size.

§       Repeat the process with the students switching roles.

§       Describe the response with scientific terminology.

§       Questions: What is the purpose of the photo-pupil reflex? How quickly does the reflex occur?

 

Accommodation Reflex:

§       This reflex adjusts the amount of light that is entering the eye based on distance of objects

§       In moderate light, the first student should focus on an object across the room (20 feet or more is best) while the second student examines their pupils.

§       Then they should switch to a pencil 6 to 12 inches in front of their face and the partner should note the pupils’ reaction.

§       Repeat the process with the students switching roles.

§       Describe the response with scientific terminology.

§       Questions:

 

Convergence Reflex

§       The students take turns noting the change in position of the eyeballs while focusing on a pencil at various distances.

§       The student starts by focusing on a pencil about 3 feet away.

§       While observing the first student’s eyeballs, the partner brings the pencil slowly closer, until it is just in front of the subject’s nose.

§       Repeat the process with the students switching roles.

§       Describe the response with scientific terminology.

 

Patellar Reflex

§       This is the knee jerk response. It is detecting a change in the shape and tension in the muscle and compensating.

§       The student must sit with legs hanging freely, while their partner strikes the ligament just below the knee cap.

§       This works better if the subject is distracted.

 

These reflex responses can then be compared to the reaction time embedded task. How does process of reacting differ from reflex?


The Sense Organs

The sense organs are each highly specialized for their specific roles. These activities will allow students to explore the organs’ function and organization. It would be most effective if the flip book activity can be used as a language arts module in combination with this exercise. The eyes and sight are given individual coverage in other lessons so this will focus on hearing, touch, smell and taste.

 

Hearing

 

Testing hearing

 

Taste and Smell

 

Mapping the tongue and its receptors

 

Sense of touch

 


Detecting color

 

Afterimages

 

Card Color

Afterimage Color

Afterimage Shape

Blue

 

 

Yellow

 

 

Red

 

 

Green

 

 

 


Application Problems

Module 5.2 (The Senses)

 

These assessment items are intended to provide closure for each lesson and help teachers determine how well the students understand the science concepts. The assessments are also intended to provide students additional practice with the lesson content. Teachers should use the assessment items as they deem appropriate. For example, teachers may wish to assign them for homework, assign them as an additional class activity or “quiz” at the end of a lesson, or ask students to answer them individually as they leave the class (as “exit passes”). Teachers may wish to use the problems as a closing class activity, asking students to solve the problem in groups and then share their answers in a whole group closing activity.

 

 

  1. Students are tasting various foods and classifying them into 4 categories according to taste: bitter, sweet, sour, and salty. Here are the results: bitter (lemon, vinegar), sweet (chocolate, sugar, candy, cake), sour (grape), and salty (potato chips, pretzels, salted peanuts). Graph the results below:

 

5

 

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

bitter

sweet

sour

salty

Number of foods

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The power of observation depends on

      a) sight only

      b) sight and sound

      c) listening and wondering

      d) all five senses

 

  1. Sense organs transfer information to the brain through

a) a network of nerves

b) the skin

c) blood vessels

d) major arteries

 

           


 

  1. The human eye acts similar to a cat’s eye, when it responds to light. Your friend has noticed that her cat is bumping into furniture. She thinks that her cat may be losing her eyesight.  Explain how you could test the cat’s vision. Use at least two scientific terms in your response.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Traffic lights are important signals. Explain how the eye can distinguish the colors (red, yellow, and green) in a traffic light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. A green filter would absorb which of the following colors?

a)    red

b)    yellow

c)     blue

d)    green

 

 

 

 

  1. You are icing a cake and you want to use green icing. You do not have any green food coloring left. Which two colors could you mix to make green?

a)     red and blue

b)    purple and yellow

c)     orange and red

d)    blue and yellow

 

 

8. What is an advantage of having two ears to hear, rather than one? (Excerpted from TIMSS Grade 8 Science Assessment released items, 2003)