Just like our stomachs, our hearts, our lungs and our kidneys, the brain is a very unique part of our bodies! It isn’t made of muscle or bone. It’s actually made of special cells called nerve cells. Every part of our bodies is made of cells. There are skin cells, blood cells, and muscle cells too. They are like the bricks that build our bodies. Often, cells are round or close-to-round in shape, but nerve cells have a really special shape!
A nerve cell has a bulb-like cell body attached to a long nerve fiber, which is like a wire, and it actually carries very tiny electrical signals. These signals are the information that tell us what we feel, what we think, what we see, what we touch. They also tell our bodies how to move and how to function. All this information is carried by nerve fibers to and from our brains.
Our brains are a big bundle of nerve cells, which are gray, white, and a little pink in color and have a texture like tofu!
There is another type of cell in our brains called glial cells. These cells don’t carry electrical signals, but they have a very important job of taking care of the nerve cells. They protect nerve cells, hold them in place, get rid of any dead nerve cells and they provide nutrients.
Test your brain cells! Get a deck of cards and lay each of the cards face-down on a table or on the floor. Turn over one card and look at the number or letter on it. Turn over another card and see if it matches that number or letter. If you get a match (2 sixes, 2 nines, 2 kings,) pick up the two cards and put them to the side. If they don’t match (a six and an eight, a nine and a jack, a four and an ace,) flip them back over and try again.
It’s going to take a lot of brainpower to try to remember where the cards are!
Sources & links
"cerebrum." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 27 Nov. 2009. "brain." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 27 Nov. 2009. “brain atlas.” (with pictures of nerve cells) BrainExplorer.org. 27 Nov. 2009.