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Human Brain

Faster than the fastest computer, your amazing brain controls every move you make. Your brain tells your muscles when and how to move. It lets you feel emotions, laugh and cry. It allows you to learn new things and get out of the way of danger. Your brain keeps working even when you’re asleep. It sends the signals that make your heart beat, your lungs draw in breath and your eyelids blink.

Brain Facts For Kids

  • The brain is like a computer.
  • It weighs about 3 pounds.
  • Has 100 billion neurons.
  • Uses 20% of your oxygen.
  • It can’t feel pain.
  • It has a left and right side.
  • Sleep helps your brain.
  • It makes you dream.
  • The brain loves to learn.
  • It’s mostly water.

Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity, a captivating feature of our brains, is a concept that children may find intriguing. It refers to the extraordinary capacity of our brains to continually adapt and evolve throughout our lives, likened to the pliability of clay.

Whenever we acquire new knowledge, our brain fosters new links amongst neurons, the minuscule cells that constitute our brain, supporting the adage that practice makes perfect. This is because the more we practice, the more robust these neuronal connections become, facilitating our ability to perform or recall.

Hence, every time we engage in learning a new sport, preparing for a test, or mastering a musical instrument, we are in essence, working out our brain and bolstering its strength courtesy of neuroplasticity.

Cognitive Function

Your brain, the command center of your body, is responsible for various tasks like thoughts, memory, speech, and movement, all of which are part of your cognitive function.

Cognitive function refers to how your brain assists you in comprehending and responding to your surroundings.

For instance, your cognitive function is engaged while solving a math problem. Interestingly, while your brain constitutes only about 2% of your body’s weight, it uses up 20% of your body’s energy. This is due to its continuous activity, even during your sleep!

Synaptic Transmission

Synaptic transmission, an intriguing phenomenon occurring in our brains, can be likened to the passing of a note in a classroom. This process begins when a message, originating from one neuron, traverses across a minuscule gap known as a synapse to another neuron.

This transmission is facilitated by minute chemical couriers, termed neurotransmitters, which can be viewed as the actual words inscribed on the note. Upon reaching the recipient neuron, these neurotransmitters latch onto distinct receptors akin to a friend interpreting the contents of your note. Remarkably, this intricate process is completed in less than one-thousandth of a second, illustrating the rapid speed at which our brain operates.

Therefore, any mental or physical activity, whether it’s thinking, moving, experiencing emotions, or recalling memories, involves hundreds of thousands of synaptic transmissions, akin to countless notes being passed around within your brain.

Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitters, the intriguing micro-chemicals, significantly influence our brain’s operation as they transmit information across our brain and body, functioning much like postmen delivering letters from house to house, with the houses symbolizing the brain cells or neurons.

With a variety of types, some neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, contribute to feelings of happiness and motivation, while others, like serotonin, foster a sense of calm and relaxation.

Therefore, the range of emotions we experience, whether joy, sorrow, anticipation, or tranquility, are all managed by these remarkable neurotransmitters operating within us.

Brain Anatomy

The human brain, an organ of immense complexity, acts as the body’s command hub. It is segmented into various sections, each assigned a unique function. The cerebrum, the largest section, governs cognitive functions such as thinking, learning, and memory.

The cerebellum, located at the brain’s posterior, facilitates the coordination of movement and equilibrium. Underneath these lies the brainstem, a crucial connector to the spinal cord, responsible for regulating automatic functions like the heartbeat and respiration.

Despite its comparably tender consistency, similar to tofu, the brain, ensconced within the protective skull, wields tremendous power, controlling all our thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Neural Pathways

Neural pathways serve as integral superhighways within your brain, consisting of specialized neurons that facilitate the conveyance of information across various sections of your brain, akin to a cerebral game of telephone.

These pathways play a crucial role in all activities, ranging from mundane tasks like tying your shoes to complex undertakings such as solving mathematical problems. Interestingly, frequent practice of a task or skill, such as piano playing or bike riding, enhances the strength of these neural pathways.

This improvement is a result of the constant fortification and development of your neural pathways, leading to enhanced proficiency in the skill being practiced.

Cerebral Cortex

The cerebral cortex, the brain’s outermost layer visible to the naked eye, serves an integral role in various cognitive functions including memory, attention, perception, awareness, thought, language, and consciousness.

Comprising of two parts- the right and left hemispheres, the cerebral cortex functions as the brain’s control center. It processes information from the body’s five senses, making it an interesting topic for kids.

This part of the brain is also responsible for sending signals to different parts of the body, aiding in our response to the environment. Furthermore, it plays a significant role in problem-solving, decision making, and creativity.

Despite being just about as thick as a stack of two pennies, the cerebral cortex is densely packed with over 20 billion nerve cells and 300 trillion connections, making it a bustling hub of activity.

Memory Formation

Did you know that our brain, specifically a part called the hippocampus, is the mastermind behind the creation and storage of all our memories? This fascinating process begins when we learn something new or have an exciting experience that triggers our brain cells, or neurons, to communicate with each other.

They do this by sending signals, creating a unique pattern that gets encoded as a memory. When we wish to recall this memory, our brain simply replays the same pattern of signals, almost like replaying a movie in our mind.

As we age and accumulate more knowledge and experiences, our brain’s capacity for memory formation and storage enhances. This underlines the significance of continuous learning and seeking new experiences.

Brain Development

The brain, an astounding organ, perpetually evolves and adapts throughout our lifespan, with its most crucial phase of development occurring in childhood. The rapid growth during this period, which sees a child’s brain size reaching almost 90% of an adult’s by the age of 5, facilitates swift learning and information absorption.

During this period, the brain constructs an extensive network of synapses, connections that enable us to think, learn, remember, and engage with the world. However, not all these connections are retained.

The brain instead fortifies frequently used connections while eliminating the less-used ones through a mechanism known as ‘pruning.’ Thus, early life experiences significantly influence the brain’s development, shaping the formation and preservation of these vital connections.

Neurogenesis

Neurogenesis, while initially seeming complex, refers to a fascinating process that occurs within our brains – the growth of new cells. Contrary to the long-held scientific belief that we were born with a finite number of brain cells, recent research has revealed that even juveniles can generate new cells.

This process is especially prevalent in the hippocampus, a part of the brain crucial for learning and memory. Therefore, the act of learning new information could potentially stimulate the growth of additional brain cells, a truly remarkable occurrence.

Human Brain Image - Science for Kids All About Your Amazing Brain
All About Your Amazing Brain – The three pound wrinkly mass in your head might not look like much, but it’s a powerful master control panel.

The three pound wrinkly mass in your head might not look like much, but it’s a powerful master control panel. One scientist called it “the most complex thing we have yet discovered in our universe.” Inside your brain are billions of microscopic cells called neurons. Neurons send electrical and chemical messages to your body.

Brain Quiz
Brain Quiz

Fun Facts about the Brain for Kids

  • The neurons in your brain make enough electricity to generate a low-watt light bulb.
  • Your neurons are joined by tiny pathways or roads. When you do something a lot – like ride your bike – the pathways in your brain that send messages about bike riding are strengthened. This is sort of like a walking path that you walk on every day.
  • If you don’t do something very often, the pathways become weak. Imagine an old pathway filled with grass and weeds. Practice really does make perfect because it strengthens neural pathways. If you’re not good at math, start practicing. Chances are, you’ll get better.
  • Your brain sends more messages everyday than all the phones in the world. Now that’s a lot of texting!
  • Messages can fly from the nerves in your body to your brain at more than 150 mph. Whew!
  • Exercising can make you smarter. When you exercise, blood flow to the brain is increased. Your brain also releases hormones that can help you learn. So, get moving to get smarter.
neuron image
Inside your brain are billions of microscopic cells called neurons. Neurons send electrical and chemical messages to your body.

Brain Vocabulary

  1. Signal: message
  2. Wrinkly: covered in wrinkles
  3. Complex: detailed, complicated
  4. Neurons: tiny cells in your brain
  5. Hormones: chemicals
Major Parts of the Brain and their Functions Image
Major Brain Parts and their functions.

Learn More All About Your Amazing Brain

Watch this cool video all about your amazing brain:

A video about the structure of your brain and how it works.

Brain Q&A

Question: Do certain parts of the brain have different jobs?

Answer: The cerebrum is the biggest part of your brain. It controls your thoughts and your movements. The cerebellum controls your movement and balance. The hippocampus is like a giant file cabinet that stores your memories. The amygdala controls your feelings and the brain stem is in charge of automatic body movements like breathing.

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Question: What does right brain and left brain mean?

Answer: The cerebrum has two halves. The right brain controls the left side of the body, while the left brain controls the right side.

 

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