Neurotransmitters, Drugs, and the
Nervous System By Eric Renfro
Objectives: Given the name of the neurotransmitter
or psychoactive drug/chemical students will:
1) Utilize the Internet and other sources to categorize assigned chemical/neurotransmitter.
2) Utilize the Internet and other sources to determine the effect of
the assigned chemical/neurotransmitter.
3) Utilize the Internet and other sources to determine the receptor
type, neuron type, and action stimulated by the assigned chemical/neurotransmitter.
4) Design a functional 3-dimensional model of a receptor that binds
the assigned ligand.
5) Recognize that the behavior of drugs emulates the behavior of neurotransmitters.
6) Visually model the reaction of the assigned drug/neurotransmitter-receptor
Previous Student Learning/Mastery
1) Cell structures
2) Cell membranes and transport
3) Neuron structures
1) Receptors are 3-dimensional.
2) Model the receptor ligand interaction.
3) Neurotransmitters communicate.
4) Neurons communicate.
5) Drugs mimic neurotransmitters.
Products to be Constructed and Evaluated
1) 3-dimensional receptor and ligand.
2) Poster board that illustrates assigned ligand-receptor complex stimulus.
This can be in the form of a storyboard or cartoon. Legend needs to
Materials and Resources
2) Cups (plastic and paper)
3) Snap beads
8) 1/2 sized poster boards
9) Color markers/pencils
10) Any other items brought by students
Timeline (Modifications may be Required Depending on
A) Review the idea of a receptor
· Why do cells have receptors?
· What are receptors made of?
· Are receptors general or specific?
B) Assign each group a neurotransmitter or a drug. They must answer
the provided questions:
· What is the effect of the assigned
neurotransmitter/drug on the nervous system?
· What is the target of the assigned
· What receptors do the assigned
· When bound to a receptor, what
specifically does the assigned neurotransmitter/drug signal for a neuron?
C) Check each group for accurate responses for each of the assigned
D) Explain to students that each group will design their own 3-dimensional
receptor as well as a 3-dimensional ligand that represents the assigned
neurotransmitter/drug. Students need to bring ideas and materials the
following school day if they choose not to use materials provided.
A) Teacher will clarify the model design with a rubric. The ligand-receptor
complex must signal an action. A labeled visual will need to accompany
the model to demonstrate that action. Example, caffeine-hyper!
B) Students must provide a design by the end of the period. The design
must be sketched, and labeled by the end of the period. A materials
list will also be provided on this rough draft.
C) If students accomplish this task, then they may begin the project.
Students will be instructed that the following day will be devoted to
A) Students work on receptor model.
B) Indicate to students that the final product will be due the later
half of the period tomorrow.
C) Projects will be evaluated using the rubric.
A) Students complete models.
B) Groups explain the models to the class.
C) I will allow each group to grade projects with rubric. These evaluations
will be incorporated into the final grade. I monitor this process with
D) After evaluation, I will review receptor specificity and that drugs
Day 4 (continued)
E) The teacher will indicate that the drugs/neurotransmitters assigned
each had a sister in class. For example, nicotine will bind to acetylcholine
F) A list of the group assignments will be given. The homework will
be to match the neurotransmitters to their mimic (drugs) and evaluation
of group members.
· You could have this assignment
in the beginning of the lesson and require the "sister" groups to design
similar receptors and ligands.
A) Randomly choose groups to answer matching list.
B) Turn in group member evaluations.
C) Review concepts
Others? Refer to www.ultranet.com/~jkimball/BiologyPages/D/Drugs.html
Match the following neurotransmitters to appropriate mimic
3) Dopamine C)
4) Acetylcholine D)
5) Could acetylcholine and nicotine bind to the same receptor? Yes or
no? Show a labeled illustration that supports your answer.
6) Could acetylcholine and cocaine bind to the same receptor?
Yes or no? Show a labeled illustration that supports your answer.
7) The matching section lists 4 neurotransmitters and
4 mimics. Each of these has specific psychoactive effects. Briefly explain
the effect that each of these has on the body.
Rubric for Design a Receptor
CONTENT (10 Points)
1) Conveys a clear message
2) Stands alone, independent of verbal expression
3) Contains accurate information
ORGANIZATION (10 Points)
1) Exhibits a logical and explicit sequencing of ideas
2) Enhances communication of the content
CONVENTIONS (10 Points)
1) Exhibits care resulting in a neat, attractive product.
2) Includes title, labels, and legend when appropriate
IMPACT (10 Points)
1) Attracts and engages viewers' attention
2) Uses color, graphics, lettering for maximum impression
3) Exhibits some originality
TASK-SPECIFIC CRITERIA (10 Points)
1) Three dimensional
2) Visual and labeled reaction to neurotransmitter/drug-receptor complex
(ligand bound to receptor)
3) Group oral explanation
ASSIGNED DRUG/NEUROTRANSMITTER _________________________________________________
GROUP MEMBERS PERIOD____