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Your brain is in charge of telling the rest of your body what to do. Learn about the parts of your brain including the cerebrum, the cerebellum, the brain stem and the pituitary gland and how they help you live, play and grow.

Brain

When you sing ‘Happy Birthday,’ how do you remember the right words? How does your body keep breathing when you’re sound asleep? How do you balance on your bicycle? These jobs are all handled by the control center of your body known as your brain. Your brain is kind of like the boss that tells the rest of your body what to do.

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It tells your lungs when to breathe, your muscles how to move and your mouth what to sing when the birthday cake comes out. All human brains weigh the same, about three pounds, and they are made up of the same parts.

Cerebrum

If you pat your hands on top of your head, you’re making a drum out of your cerebrum, which is the part of your brain that controls your ability to speak, think and move.

Compared to animals, humans have pretty big cerebrums, which is why you can talk and do math problems and your dog can’t.Your cerebrum is split into two halves, giving it a right side and a left side. If you are good at music or drawing, then we’d say you’re right-brained because it is thought that the right half of the cerebrum controls creativity and artistic abilities. If you are good at math or solving problems, then you would be seen as left-brained because the left side controls more of these logical types of thought. Besides thinking and speaking, your cerebrum also controls your voluntary muscle movements. If you volunteer for something, you do it because you want to.

It is the same for your voluntary muscles because these are the ones that move when you want them to, like when you move your leg muscles to kick a soccer ball.

Cerebellum

Hanging down from the cerebrum like a bell is the much smaller cerebellum, which controls coordination and balance. If you are coordinated, it means you can make your muscles work together. So using your body to throw a baseball or sink a free throw requires good coordination. When you learned to ride a bike it took both coordination and balance, so you can thank your cerebellum for that skill.

Brain Stem

A part of your brain that looks like the stem of a flower is your brain stem. It controls breathing, digestion and your heartbeat.

The brain stem sits below the cerebrum, which makes the cerebrum look like the flower of the brain stem. And, the cerebellum comes off the back of the brain stem almost like a leaf. Your brain stem connects your brain to the rest of your body and allows messages to pass back and forth between these different parts of you.It helps keep you alive by controlling your involuntary muscles. These are the ones that work without you having to think about them.

You have involuntary muscles that help you expand your lungs and pump your heart and there are also involuntary muscles that help move food through your digestive tract. Thanks to your brain stem you can breathe, digest food and keep your heart pumping all while you get a good night’s sleep.

Pituitary Gland

Near the center of your brain there is a small gland that starts with a ‘P’ that is no bigger than the size of a pea. It’s called your pituitary gland, and it produces and releases hormones. Hormones are substances that regulate the functions of your organs and other tissues. It’s hormones from the pituitary gland that help you grow and bring about all of the changes associated with puberty. These hormones carry out many other roles as well, from regulating how much sugar stays in your blood after a meal to determining how much water your body should hold on to.

Being in charge of so many hormones is a big job, so even though your pituitary gland is small, it has earned the nickname the ‘Master Gland.’

Lesson Summary

Let’s review..

.Big or small, each part of your brain plays a role in keeping you alive. The two halves of your cerebrum sit at the top. This part of your brain controls your ability to speak, think and move. You can thank your cerebrum when you are thinking through a math problem, singing a song or using the voluntary muscles in your leg to kick a soccer ball.Your cerebellum hangs down in back of the cerebrum like a bell. It controls coordination and balance.

Without a cerebellum to coordinate your legs and keep you upright, you would have an awfully hard time riding your bike.Like the stem of a flower, your brain stem sits below your cerebrum where it controls your involuntary muscles and therefore, controls breathing, digestion and your heartbeat. Your brain stem connects your brain to the rest of your body and allows messages to pass back and forth.Near the center of your brain is the pea-sized pituitary gland that produces and releases hormones.

Because this is a big job, this little gland has earned the nickname the ‘Master Gland.’

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the video, you should be able to:

  • Explain the function of the brain
  • List the responsibilities of the cerebrum
  • Describe the role of the cerebellum
  • Recall how the brain stem is connected to involuntary muscles
  • Recognize the function and importance of the pituitary gland

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