The Machine Inside: Your Brain

The Brain

The brain is an organ that acts like the control centre or “boss” of the body. It has many functions:

  •  Receives information from the five senses (sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing)
    • E.g. the brain tells your hand to move away when it touches a hot object
  • Controls movement, balance, coordination
    • E.g. the brain helps you walk in a straight line
  • Allows us to learn, form memories, and use language
    • E.g. when you see or hear the word “cat,” your brain helps you think of a small furry animal

Fun Facts

  • The human brain weighs 3 pounds
  • There are 100 billion nerve cells (called neurons) in the brain
  • The brain creates enough energy to power a 25 watt light bulb
  • There are no pain receptors in your brain
  • The right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, and vice versa
  • You cannot tickle yourself because your brain knows you are going to and prevents your body from being surprised
  • The brain requires 20 percent of the heart’s output of fresh blood and 20 percent of the blood’s oxygen and glucose to keep functioning properly

Brain Hat colouring activity

brain hat

FRONTAL (orange)

  • Located just behind your forehead and extending to the middle of your head. Use orange to identify this part of the brain.
  • The part of the frontal lobe that is coloured red in the picture above is called the motor cortex.  It controls your movements.
  • The frontal cortex controls thinking, planning, short term memory, emotions, and personality.
  • We use the frontal lobe when we decide what to eat for breakfast, feel upset or shy, walk or run.

PARIETAL (purple)

  • Located behind the frontal lobe.  Use purple to identify this part of the brain.
  • The part of the parietal lobe that is coloured yellow is called the somatosensory cortex. It gets information from your skin and muscles so that you're aware of where your arms and legs are, and what you are touching.
  • Interprets sensory information from the five senses, attention, language.
  • We use the parietal lobe when we watch a movie and taste different foods.

TEMPORAL (blue)

  • Located in front of the occipital lobe and below the parietal lobe. Use blue to identify this part of the brain.
  • Interprets faces, memory, language and musical appreciation.
  • We use the temporal lobe when we remember what our friends look like or listen to the radio.

OCCIPITAL (green)

  • Located at the back of the brain, behind the parietal lobe and temporal lobe. Use green to identify this part of the brain.
  • Processes visual information from our eyes.
  • We use the occipital lobe when we see a stop sign and know to stop and to see colours or shapes.

University of Waterloo Department of Kinesiology is pleased to be the knowledge sponsor for Biomechanics: The Machine Inside, a special exhibition at the Ontario Science Centre, opening February 8, 2017.

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