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Nervous System PSAs

Context for this Lesson

Teaching Strategies: 

Topic: Nervous System

Focus Question: What are the parts and function of the Nervous System? Why is it important to the function of the body as a whole?

Prior Knowledge: Students must have been at least introduced to the Nervous System. If not, then an introduction must happen before the lesson begins. 


  • Sample PSA videos (youtube & projector access)


Machines (Hybrid w/ Group Shapes) (10 min)

PROCEDURE: Tell students we are going to use our voices and bodies to make a machine. We don’t have to know what type of machine it is or what it’s making yet. Ask a volunteer to come to the playing space and make a simple sound and motion that can be repeated comfortably; this is the first piece of the machine. Player 1 continues while other players add on to the machine with their own sounds and motions. (Ideally, each player’s motions should relate to what the other players are doing—as the pieces of a machine do.) When several students have joined in, freeze the action and ask individual players to comment on their creation. Play a second round for other students to participate.

Next, divide class into groups of 5-6 people. Tell them they will now make machines in their small groups, but with some guidelines. Offer them different types of machines to make and count to ten each time. Machines could include a washing machine, a car, a toaster, an ice cream maker, etc. Next, invite students to make a machine of the nervous system. If they get stuck, freeze the action. Ask students for the function and parts of the nervous system. How do those things work together to make a machine? Invite the students to try the machine again. Briefly ask each group to show their machine to the class.

Activity Reflection:

·      What did you have to do to be successful in that activity?

·      How did you make the machines together?

·      How is the nervous system like a machine? Are the other body systems? How not? (review parts and function here)



Public Service Announcements (20 min)

Ask students what is a Public Service Announcement (PSA)? How is it like a commercial? How is it different? Explain they are going to watch a few short video examples. They should look for tools the actors use to get across their point and what the goals of the video makers are. Show 2-3 example videos from YouTube. What are the goals of each PSA? What strategies did the PSA creators use to win over the audience?

Explain that students will now create their own PSA in groups for the nervous system. Divide class into groups of 4 or 5. The task of each group is to decide on what the goal of the PSA is, what the message is, and how they will get the message across. Students rehearse their PSAs in groups to present to the class.

Once ready, each group will share its PSA for the class. Questions after each group might include:

·      What did that group want us to know about the nervous system?

·      What was the purpose of the PSA? What was the message?

·      Did you believe the message? Would it change your behavior or thinking?


Describe: What activities did we do today? What were they about?
Analyze: We said the nervous system is like a machine. What are its parts? What are its functions?
Relate: What other metaphors can you think of to describe the nervous system?