Brain and Spinal Cord (CNS)

Graduation Requirements
Field & Cluster
Health and Bio Science
Equipment/Materials Needed
No special equipment or materials are required
The brain is the center of the nervous system. A three-pound structure that decodes information from the internal and external world and the spinal cord, the communication system.
Badge Completion Requirements

Introduction to the Brain

The nervous system is an important part of the anatomy and physiology of the human. The brain and nervous system are enclosed within a protective case. The brain is enclosed in the cranium and the spinal cord within the vertebra.

The spinal code passes out of the skull through magnum foramen. The nerves of the spinal cord pass through the vertebral foramen. 

Demonstrate your understanding of the brain by developing and submitting a presentation that includes the following:

Compare and contrast the two nervous systems: CNS and PNS 

Identify the two major structures of the CNS 

List the six major sections of the brain

List the four lobes of the cerebrum

List two functions of the cerebellum

Identify the two parts of the diencephalon  

What is the basic function of the midbrain

Identify the function of the pons

What is the basic function of the medulla oblongata

Anatomy of the Spinal Cord

Please review the following video (the Spinal Cord section begins at 4:15)

Please review the image of the spinal cord and the vertebra.

spinal cord

Closer examination of the spinal cord.

The spinal cord extends downward from the medulla oblongata through the vertebral column and ends between the 2nd and 3rd lumbar vertebra.  

The spinal cord has 31 pair of spinal nerves that extend out of the vertebral column through foramen created by the individual vertebra.

Spinal Nerves:

8    cervical 

12  thoracic

5    lumbar

5    sacral

1    coccygeal


spinal cord nerves

The spinal cord and spinal nerves function are to transmit information from the body to the brain. The brain will send a response back to the effectors or cells with an action potential (skeletal and visceral muscles)

sensor nerve

Please develop and submit a presentation demonstrating your understanding of the spinal cord please include the following in your presentation:

Explain the PNS and its two sub-divisions the somatic and autonomic nervous system

Explain the two sub-divisions of the autonomic system

Compare and contrast the afferent sensory neuron and efferent motor neuron

Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)


Cushions the brain from injury

Provides a constant pressure

The cerebrospinal fluid is produced in the ventricles of the brain.

We normally think of the ventricles as open areas of the heart. Ventricle means an open area. We have open areas in the brain called cranial ventricle. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is produced just under the corpus callosum in an area called choroid plexus.

Please review the following video:

CFS image

Is similar to tissue fluid. CSF does not contain proteins like blood. Proteins and red blood cells are too large to escape the circulatory system to enter the CSF.

dura matter

The spinal cord and brain are covered with a protective membrane called meninges. The three layers of meninges are the dura mater (tough mother), arachnoid mater (spider mother) and the pia mater (soft mother). 85% of the CFS flows through the sub-arachnoid space and 15% through the interior of the spinal cord. The CFS begins the recycling below L2 and L3. 

This area below L2 and L3 provides a safe area to withdraw the CSF without risk of injuring the spinal cord. 

Lumbar Puncture (spinal tap)

Insertion of a needle into the space between the L-3 and L-4 used

To determine bleed of the brain, spinal meningitis and other infectious


Clinical Considerations:


Lumbar Puncture (spinal tap)

Insertion of a needle into the space between the L-3 and L-4 used

 Determine bleeding of the brain, spinal meningitis and other infectious


Drugs design to block pain.

Please develop and submit a presentation that demonstrates your understanding of the CFS. Please include the following information:

Explain the function to the CFS

How does it circulate in the CNS

How is it produced

Why would someone need a lumbar puncture