The Central Nervous System Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Did you ever wonder how your heart remembers to beat, how your leg knows to kick a soccer ball, or how you learn to spell big words? Your central nervous system controls all of these things and more. It's made up of your brain and spinal cord.

Central Nervous System

Have you ever watched planes flying in and out of an airport? If you did, you know that airports are very busy places! To make sure all of the airplanes land and take off the way they're supposed to, every airport has a central command center called air traffic control. Your body has its own command center called your central nervous system. It's made up of your brain and spinal cord.

Your Brain

Human Brain

When you're in elementary school, your brain is growing in size. By the time you become an adult, it will weigh about three pounds. It's not very impressive to look at; in fact, it looks like a bumpy, gray blob. But don't judge your brain by its looks or size - it's actually full of activity!

Your brain controls just about everything you do. It controls important things that you couldn't live without, like breathing and your heartbeat. It also does things that help you in school, like thinking about how to spell a word and figuring out the answer to a math problem. Your brain also helps you remember things that happened in the past, like the fun you had playing in the pool last summer.

Your Spinal Cord

Human Spinal Cord
spinal cord

Your spinal cord looks like a tightly woven ponytail hanging off the back of your brain. In reality, it's a bundle of thread-like nerves. This bundle of nerves is about as thick as your thumb. Your brain sends messages through the spinal cord. The spinal cord has many smaller nerves branching off of it. When your brain needs to communicate with a body part, the message gets there through these nerve branches.

How It Works

Some of the nerves that make up the spinal cord carry messages from your body to your brain, and other nerves carry orders from your brain to your body.

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