Your endocrine system is made up of glands that release essential hormones. In this lesson, learn about the parts of the endocrine system, including the pituitary gland, thyroid, adrenal glands, pancreas, and reproductive glands.
Did you know there's a system in your body that acts just like the teacher in your classroom? Your endocrine system is your body's teacher. It gives organs and other parts of your body instructions so they know what to do. Just like your teacher controls activities in your classroom, your endocrine system controls many activities inside your body, like how quickly you grow and how your body uses food.
Endocrine System Function & Parts
Your endocrine system is made up of glands that release hormones into your blood. Hormones are chemicals that carry instructions, telling your body parts what to do. Hormones use your bloodstream to move around.
There are many endocrine glands spread around your body, and some glands are only in females while others are only on males. Let's take a look at the major glands.
Hidden underneath your brain is a small endocrine gland that's no bigger than the size of a pea. It's called your pituitary gland. There's a funny thing about it being so small - it makes a hormone that makes you grow big! That hormone is called growth hormone.
Another funny thing about your tiny pituitary gland is its nickname. It gives out so many instructions that it's nicknamed the 'master gland.' You might want to think of your pituitary gland as the head teacher or principal of your body. It's an endocrine gland that tells the other endocrine glands what to do.
Thyroid and Adrenal Glands
Your thyroid gland is another endocrine gland. It sits in front of your throat, down around where the collar of your shirt would be. Due to its shape and location, it's often compared to a bow tie. Your thyroid makes hormones that help your cells use energy. As a kid, your thyroid hormones play an important part in helping your nervous system and bones grow and develop.
Your adrenal glands sit right on top of your kidneys. They make your kidneys look like they're wearing helmets. Your adrenal glands make the hormone adrenaline, which prepares your body for something scary or exciting. Have you ever heard of an adrenaline rush? It's a term that people use to describe the excited feeling that comes when they do something brave, like riding a bike down a steep hill.
Over 79,000 lessons in all major subjects
Get access risk-free for 30 days,
just create an account.
Your pancreas is a big endocrine gland that sits near your stomach. It makes hormones that help balance your blood's sugar levels. One of those hormones is insulin. If there's too much sugar in your blood, insulin moves the extra sugar into your cells to be used for energy.
There are reproductive endocrine glands in males, called testes. The reproductive glands in females are called ovaries. In adults, these glands from men and women work together to help make babies.
There are two more endocrine glands in your body. One is in your head. It's called the pineal gland and produces a hormone called melatonin that helps you fall asleep and wake up. The other is called the thymus gland. It's found in the top part of your chest, and its hormones help out with immunity until you reach puberty. After puberty, the gland shrinks and becomes less important.
Okay, let's review what we've learned. Your endocrine system gives organs and other parts of your body instructions so they know what to do. Your endocrine system is made up of glands that release hormones, which are chemicals that carry instructions, telling your body parts what to do. The endocrine glands of your body include your pituitary gland, thyroid gland, adrenal glands, pancreas, reproductive glands, and others, including the pineal gland and the thymus gland. The human body is a really complicated thing, and now you know how a lot of it works - with endocrine glands!
Glands of the Endocrine System and their Functions
Create a Model of an Endocrine Gland
Select one of the following endocrine glands:
Once you have selected an endocrine gland, research what this gland looks like and create a model. Your model should also illustrate the important functions of the gland. For example, if the gland releases a specific hormone, illustrate this on your model. Label all of the important structures illustrated on your model. Some suggested materials for your model include: paper, cardboard, plastic containers, markers, balloons, pipe cleaners, craft sticks, etc.
Provide Information About the Endocrine Gland
Once you have created your model, research and provide written answers to the following questions.
Where is the endocrine gland you selected located in the body?
What are the major functions of this endocrine gland in the body? Why is this important?
What controls the actions of this endocrine gland in the body?
Does this endocrine gland work with any other structures in the body (for example, another endocrine gland)?
What can happen if this endocrine gland does not function properly?
What do all endocrine glands in the body have in common?
Register to view this lesson
Are you a student or a teacher?
Unlock Your Education
See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com
Did you know… We have over 200 college
courses that prepare you to earn
credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the
first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn
credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.