Nervous System Experiments for Kids

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Kids can improve their understanding of the nervous system with these experiments. Read this article for step by step directions. You'll also find additional resources for teaching kids about this complicated body system.

Sensing Touch

Kids can get a better understanding of how the nervous system senses stimuli with this experiment. Get ready with these supplies:

  • Unbent paper clips
  • Millimeter rulers
  • Goggles

You can have students work in pairs for this activity. One child should close his or her eyes while the other touches the ends of two paper clips on the back of the child's hand. This should be done at about 5 mm apart. Check to see if the child can feel two points or only one. Have your students see how close the points can get before they cannot distinguish the two points.

Have the kids repeat the experiment on their forearms and cheeks (safety goggles should be worn at this point). Engage the kids in a discussion about the areas that were most sensitive and why they think this is. Consider some parts of the body that wouldn't benefit from a lot of nerves. Help your students find out more about this subject with this lessons on the nervous system and brain.

Nerve Speed

Help kids find out how quickly their nervous system can transmit information with this experiment. You'll need:

  • A stopwatch
  • A whistle
  • A measuring tape

Have all of your students join hands and stand in a line. The first student holds the stopwatch; the last child holds the whistle. Have the first child start the watch and squeeze the hand of the next student in line. That child squeezes the hand of the next child in line and so on. When the last child's hand is squeezed, he or she should blow the whistle, and the first in line stops the watch.

How long did it take? How far did the message have to travel? Have your students measure the distance up and down arms to find out just how quickly their nerves relayed this message. You can use this nervous system functions lesson for kids to give your students additional insight into the nervous system and what it does. Have students use the practice questions to confirm their understanding of this topic.

Additional Nervous System Teacher Resources also offers lesson plans that are useful for teachers who want to incorporate engaging lessons in class. For example, Human Brain Lesson Plan or Nervous System Games & Activities are options for active learning in the classroom.

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