Neuroscience for Elementary School Students

Researchers at the CSNE are interested in discovering ways to connect the brain and nervous system with computers and machines to improve the lives of people with neurological and mobility disorders.

How is the human brain similar to a computer? How is it different? Discuss the questions below, using a T-chart to record students' responses.

  • Do they both use energy?
  • Do they store information in the same way?
  • Do they have parts?
  • Do they use electricity?
  • Do they contain chemicals?

                                                             Brain vs. Computer

Similarities Differences

Brains and computers both...

  • Store lots of information.
  • Work automatically.
  • Can adapt and learn.
  • Use electrical signals to send messages.

The brain...

  • Can feel pain.
  • Doesn't do the same thing every time.
  • Uses chemicals to transmit information.

Visit Neuroscience for Kids for more information about the similarities and differences. This site also has a helpful overview that explains How the Nervous System Interacts with Other Body Systems. Teachers can use this resource for upper elementary students studying the systems of the human body.

Neuroscience for Kids founder Dr. Eric Chudler, who is also one of the leaders at our center, introduces students to the basics of neuroscience with a video. The show begins with an introduction to the nervous system. The kids then visit laboratories, where they learn about automatic functions of the brain and how the electrical activity of the brain is recorded. They also get to see a real human brain and build their own model nerve cells and brains. The video runs just over 28 minutes. 

In addition, check out these other resources from Kidshealth.org: