Students will make bead neurons and use them as models to understand the specialized cellular structure and function of neurons and how neurons communicate with each other.
Taking the time to construct a bead neuron gives students the chance to think about the anatomy and function of this structure. Using different color beads to represent the various parts (cell body, axon, dendrite, nerve terminal, etc.) may help students to identify each part more easity during discussion.
Once several neurons have been completed, they can be used to create a variety of circuits which students can then describe and use to trace the flow of neural messages (see Bead Neuron Throw-Down in the attachments and videos for more information).