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K-1: The Senses

Author(s): Barbara Tharp, MS, Michael Vu, MS, Delinda Mock, BA, Christopher Burnett, BA, and Nancy Moreno, PhD.

The Brain: Protection

Guiding Questions
What protects the brain? Why does the brain need to be protected? 

The skull protects the brain.

The brain is 80% water, and it is fragile. It is enclosed within the skull dome, or cranium, a bony shell that protects the brain and forms the shape of the head.

Animal brains fit snugly inside their skulls, which have a size and shape to afford maximum protection. Animal brains are further protected by a cushion of fluid and a covering of three thin, tough membranes, called the  meninges. 

Still, our brains are vulnerable to injury. For safety, helmets should be worn when skateboarding, riding a bicycle or playing contact sports, such as hockey, baseball or football. Seat belts should be worn at all times when riding in a motor vehicle, to protect the brain from injury during a collision. 

Note: Before class, create a life-sized outline of a child on butcher paper (use a student model or draw the outline free-hand). Be sure the head is turned to the right to match the illustration on “Brain Diagram 2.” This will serve as a classroom human body diagram. Display the diagram on a wall or bulletin board in the classroom. You will add information to it throughout the unit, as students learn more about the brain and senses. 


Ask students, What protects the brain? Discuss their answers. Then, have students place their hands on their heads and ask, What do you feel? Tell students that the hard surface is the skull, which is made of several bones.

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