Message in a Neuron

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In this activity, learners play a simple card game to learn the sequence of events in the transmission of nervous system signals. This lesson guide includes background information, instructions on how to introduce learners to chemical messengers, game rules, and game cards. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Game, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 24 sheets of white card stock, 8 1/2 x 11 in.
  • 6 bags, resealable plastic (approx. 4 x 6 in.)
  • transparency of Transmitters & Receivers student sheet (p. 10)
  • overhead projector
  • prepared copies of Locks & Key Cards and copies of Rules of Play student sheets
  • scissors


  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Cell Structure and Function
    • Human Body
      • The Brain and Nervous System
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
      • Electric Circuits

Informal Categories

  • Games


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes assesments for student learning:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Moreno, Nancy P. ; Tharp, Barbara Z.


  • All rights reserved, Baylor College of Medicine, 2003

Funding Sources:

  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Center for Research Resources
  • Science Education Partnership Award, R25 RR13454