Lesson Plan: The Nerve Impulse Biology

This lesson plan includes the objectives, prerequisites, and exclusions of the lesson teaching students how to explain how a resting potential is maintained and describe the electrical and chemical changes that occur during an action potential.


Students will be able to

  • explain what is meant by resting potential and how it is maintained by ion channels and the sodium–potassium pump,
  • define an action potential as the change in electrical potential as an impulse passes along the membrane of a neuron,
  • describe how the movement of sodium ions through voltage-gated channels depolarize the membrane,
  • describe how the movement of potassium ions through voltage-gated channels repolarize the membrane,
  • recall that the process of a nerve impulse include depolarization, repolarization, hyperpolarization, and a refractory period,
  • state the properties of nerve impulses, including the speed of propagation and the all-or-nothing principle.


Students should already be familiar with

  • the fact that the human body contains a nervous system.


Students will not cover

  • events that occur at a synapse.

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