Student Activity – Learn the Cranial Nerves

On Old Olympus Towering Top, A Finn And German Viewed A Hop. 🐇

If this phrase is familiar to you, at some point, you had to learn the twelve cranial nerves. High school anatomy students will find it challenging to learn these nerves. I only require it from my honors anatomy students. This year, I created a guided learning activity for those students to learn the nerves by independent study.

My anatomy class is mixed, with both regular and honors students in the same class period. This way, I don’t need to use much time in class to teach the nerves that only half the class will need to know.

In this activity, students progress through slides that explain how the nerves are numbered and how to use the mnemonic. Slides have tasks on them, like labeling or filling in tables. In most cases, students can flip between slides to help them complete the tasks. That means, they don’t need to go outside of the presentation slides to complete the tasks.

I recognize that this level of detailed knowledge about the cranial nerves is not for every student. Anatomy requires a lot of memorization, and memorization is a skill. I teach students how to use mnemonics and word associations to learn complicated terms. They may forget the nerves after the test, but it will be easier to re-learn them if they end up in a medical or nursing program in college. They can also apply their memorization skills to other topics.

Other Resources

  • Brain Anatomy Coloring – learn basics of the brain by coloring major structures, lie the cerebellum, diencephalon, and thalamus
  • Brain Dissection – explore the anatomy of a sheep brain by following these basic instructions
  • Cranial Nerves Coloring – practice learning the nerves by coloring a human brain and comparing to a sheep brain

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