Nervous System

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Survival depends, in part, on the ability to respond to changes that occur both within the body and in the environment around the body. Many of these responses are functions of impulses being transmitted by the nervous system. The nervous system is subdivided into the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The CNS includes the brain and spinal cord. The PNS is comprised of two kinds of nerves; one type connects the CNS to all other parts of the body (the periphery) to collect stimuli for processing by the CNS, while the other conducts responses outward from the CNS. These nerves are either part of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), over which we have no control—the mechanism of involuntary responses—or the somatic nervous system (SNS), which we do control—the mechanism of voluntary responses.

The Nervous System study guide unit takes a cursory look at the CNS by considering some of the parts of the brain and their functions. Closer consideration is given to the spinal cord and its association with the peripheral nerves that comprise both the ANS and the SNS. Nerve impulses are also considered as they occur both within and between neurons. The final consideration in this unit is a look at the pituitary glands and their association with the hypothalamus.

Nervous System is excerpted from our Biology 12 Study Guide, which is the sixth edition of a student study guide written to match the curriculum of British Columbia. The concepts presented are applicable to the biology curricula of other educational jurisdictions as well.

As with each of the biology study guide units in this series, this unit contains:

  • Biological terms linked to a Glossary where they are carefully and contextually defined
  • Biological names in the Glossary linked to a useful Taxonomic Guide
  • Diagrams that display fullscreen views when double-tapped
  • Quiz-view formats of many diagrams in the enhanced version
  • Sets of Concept Check-up questions dispersed in the unit that are linked to their answers
  • Sets of Discussion Questions dispersed in the unit designed to challenge you as you work through it
  • A concluding set of Check Your Understanding of Concepts multiple choice questions linked to their answers
  • A set of Build Your Understanding questions designed to push you beyond the limitations of this unit.

Note: Discussion Questions and Build Your Understanding questions are not linked to their answers.