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Lesson Plan/Activity

Pipe Cleaner Neuron, Grades 6-8

September 25, 2023

Who this is for:

Science Communicators


The human brain is made up of approximately 86 billion nerve cells called neurons. Neurons are like other cells in the body in that they have a cell body and a nucleus and contain structures such as mitochondria. However, they also have features that make them unique. It is these specialized structures of a neuron that allow brain cells to communicate with one another in a process called “neurotransmission.” In this hands-on exercise, students will first learn about the structure and components of a neuron and how they facilitate neurotransmission. Then they have the opportunity to create a realistic model neuron out of colorful pipe cleaners.

Student Objectives

  • Understand the main components of a neuron and their functions.
  • Discover how neurons communicate with one another during “neurotransmission.”

Lesson Plan

  • Title: Pipe Cleaner Neuron
  • Setting: In Classroom Subject: Biology -Neuroscience
  • Grade Level: 6-8
  • Time Frame: 40 Minutes
  • Paired Dana Foundation Fact Sheets: 6th-8th Grade How Does the Brain Work?
  • Next Generation Science Standards: Meets MS-LS1-1, MS-LS1-3, & MS-LS1-8

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