Thursday, December 13, 2012

Homework for the night before classes resume

Your homework (which is the equivalent to less than one night of homework) for the night before classes resume is to answer question below.  You may opt to turn this question in earlier, which is fine.  Please make sure that if you email me your answer, the subject line says "Answer to the Big Idea."

You might have thought that you escaped the question, but that is simply not the case. You are encouraged to use your notes, information from the blog and/or the modules to answer the question.  Just make sure that you cite where the information came from.

A "Big Idea" of biolog is that living systems store, retrieve, transmit and respond to information essential to life processes.  Discuss how the structures from at least three different levels of organization (cell, tissue...) within the nervous system possess emergent properties that exemplify and contribute to an understanding of the big idea.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Your Brain on Ted Talks, Optical Illusions, Drinking Water & More!

Today in class we developed an appreciation for all that the brain can do without us even thinking about it.   In last night's reading, Pavlov was mentioned; you can see Jim and Dwight from the office display the Pavlovian response.

We watched and discussed Daniel Wolpert's TED talk: "The Real Reason for Brains" (movement!).  Visual stimulus is important in initiating an action, but what about organisms that can't see?  Ben Underwood was a boy who lost his eyes to cancer (and recently passed away), but that didn't stop him from finding an alternative way to see. 

And, to end of a fun note: 10 Amazing Optical Illusions

Further Watching & Doing:

TED Talk: Sarah-Jayne Blakemore: The mysterious workings of the adolescent brain
TED Talk: Allen Jones: Mapping the Brain
BBC: Sex I.D. - Find out how your brain works!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Functions of the Brain

Today in class you participated in a mock interview for the Applied Imaging Science Laboratory at Brigham & Women's Hospital.  As part of the interview process, you and your peers were given images of the brain, as well as symptoms of the patient and asked to determine what was causing these symptoms.

An overview of the parts of the brain and their functions can be found by click the image below.

Homework: Read Module 133 (our break from the modules is over).

Review session:  There will be a review session in our classroom tonight from 6:30-8:00PM.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Neurons in Series

Today in class you had a short quiz on action potentials.  After the quiz we reviewed how neurons communicate as well as how the nervous system provides examples for the major themes in the course (emergent properties, structure & function, etc).

Homework:  You have been emailed a worksheet and table to record your results of your attempts for the neurons in series activity from the NIH.

1. Review examples of neurotransmitters that are excitatory and inhibitory by looking at the animation below.

2. Examine the four cases of neurotransmission simulation.  In the table you were emailed, record your initial attempt in the first row for each case.  In the second row record the correct answer.

3. Complete and a print copy of your responses to questions 2, 3 and 4 for the blackworm post lab questions.  The post lab questions are on the last page of the Blackworm procedure packet.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Blackworm Lab & Neurotransmission

During lab this week, student investigated the effects of various chemicals on the heart rate of Blackworms.  The results from C period are below.

In our regular class period we reviewed how the sodium potassium pump works as well as factors that can disrupt signals between neurons.  

Reminder: On Wednesday you will have short quiz (2 modified multiple choice, one short answer) on objectives N.1-N.7.