What a Pain: Lesson Plan

Neurons in the body’s nervous system alert the brain when an injury or other instance of acute pain occurs. But when neurons become overly sensitized, chronic pain can result. Researchers are currently studying ways to calm the neural response and ease chronic pain.

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Alignment to NC Essential Standards

  • 7.L.1.4 — Summarize the general functions of the major systems of the human body and ways that these systems interact with each other to sustain life.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will list the major body systems and describe their function.
  2. Students will describe the basic ways in which body systems interact to maintain homeostasis.
  3. Students will describe the pain pathway that occurs after a basic injury.


Lead the class activity Body Control Center from PBS LearningMedia.

Discussion Questions for Class: 

  1. What happens to blood pressure when the heart rate rises?
  2. What happens to respiration rate when the heart rate rises?
  3. Judging from this activity, how difficult is it for the body to maintain homeostasis?


Go through interactive The Pain Pathway. Then, have the class discuss: What’s the worst injury you’ve ever had? Do you still suffer pain from it?


Have students read and study the Body Systems PDF.

Discussion Questions for Class:

  1. What is the essential function of the nervous system?
  2. What is the essential function of the respiratory system?
  3. What is the essential function of the skeletal-muscular system?
  4. What is the essential function of the digestive system?



Have students watch the video “What a Pain!”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is the difference between acute and chronic pain?
  2. Illustrate the path of information from a stubbed toe to the brain.

Additional Resources:


  1. Name four major body systems, and describe their basic function.
  2. Define the following: A) myocytes B) neurons C) alveoli D) hepatocytes.
  3. Write a paragraph in which you describe what would happen to the human body if neurons could no longer detect pain.