Main Brain Parts

cerebral cortexCerebral cortex: The wrinkled outer part of the brain is the largest part of the brain. It is also where we do all our thinking. It is used to read this story and also to do math and any homework you might get from your teacher. This part of the brain also controls your voluntary muscles. These are the muscles used to click a computer mouse button, ride a bike, run a race, or kick a ball.

Are you using your left or right brain?

There are some scientists that think the right and left sides of the cerebral cortex specialize in different work. The right side works on abstract things like colors, shapes, and music. The left side is busy with math and speaking and is the analytical part. It is also known that the right side of your brain controls the left side of the body and the left side of the brain controls the right.

Main jobs: sensory integration, thought, voluntary movement, language, reasoning, perception

Cerebellum: At the back of the brain, the cerebellum helps you make smooth, coordinated movements. Walking, running, writing . . . without the cerebellum, movement would not happen properly.

cerebellumMain job: proper movement

Thalamus: With all the activity going on in the brain there needs to be a switching station and this is the job of the thalamus. This part of the brain takes information coming from the body and sends it on to the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex also sends messages to the thalamus which then sends the information to other areas of the brain and spinal cord.

Main jobs: sensory integration, motor integration, sleep, consciousness.

Hippocampus: Located deep within you brain, the hippocampus works with the cerebral cortex to create memories. From five minutes ago to five years ago, the hippocampus is responsible for helping you remember everything that happens in your life. The hippocampus also helps you remember how to navigate, or move around, your environment based on how you have moved around in the past.

thalamusMain jobs: creating memories

Hypothalamus: In your house is a thermostat. This is the control on the wall that you can change to make the room warmer or cooler. The hypothalamus is the thermostat for your body. When you get hot it sends signals to your skin to sweat. If you get cold it makes you shiver and get goose bumps.

Main jobs: body temperature, emotions, hunger, thirst, circadian rhythms

Corpus callosum: Connecting the right side of the brain with the left side is the corpus callosum. This lets the two sides of the brain talk to each other.

Main jobs: connecting the left and right brain

Pituitary gland: This tiny part of the brain is about the size of a pea. It is smallest part of the brain and also the one that controls when and how fast we grow. It releases special hormones that help you grow. It also is at work during puberty.

hypothalamusWait, there's more...

The pituitary gland also uses hormones to control how much sugar and water is in your body. It also is one of the areas that controls the body's metabolism. It helps control the digestion of food, breathing, and moving your blood around. Without strict control of your body's metabolism it would not be possible to stay alive.

Main jobs: controls hormones

Brainstem: The brainstem is a collection of three areas of the brain. These parts are the Medulla, Pons, and the Midbrain. The brainstem is located below the cerebellum and connects the brain to the spinal cord. It has the job of running all the involuntary muscles. These are the muscles you don't consciously control, such as the muscles which make your heart beat. Together, these three parts of the brain help keep us alive by controlling our breathing, digestion, and blood circulation.

Main jobs: breathing, heart rate, blood pressure

Spinal cord: This is the main information highway. All the information from parts of the body move from and to the brain through the spinal cord. It is connected to the brain through the brainstem. It is protected by the vertebral bones that make up the backbone.

hypothalamus corpus collosum pituitary gland brainstem

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Q&A

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Should I do my project on Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch

I think you should do it on Amnesty International. Although both would be very interesting and useful for you to know about.

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