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Visualizing How the Vestibular System Works

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Visualizing How the Vestibular System Works

In this activity (page 59 of the PDF), learners spin and observe false eyelashes in jars of water (prepared at least 1 day ahead of time) to investigate the effects of different types of motion on the hairs suspended in fluid in the inner ear. The model also demonstrates how the vestibular system maintains or restores equilibrium despite movement. The lesson guide, part of NASA's "The Brain in Space: A Teacher's Guide with Activities for Neuroscience," includes background information, evaluation strategies and handouts.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • One tube of super glue (should be water resistant and adhere to glass and hair-like fibers) OR a hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Automatic turntable (such as for pottery class), centrifuge, or other rotating device (such as a lazy Susan or old record player)
  • Set of false eyelashes or strands of another fuzzy or wispy material
  • Clear glass jar or cylinder with lid
  • Water
  • Watch
  • Note pad
  • Pen or pencil


  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Cell Structure and Function
    • Human Body
      • The Brain and Nervous System
      • Muscles and Skin
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Geometry
    • Measurement
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Rotation Motion
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results


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 alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • MacLeish, Marlene Y.; McLean, Bernice R.


  • Public Domain, NASA,


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