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The Invertebrates, specifically lumbricina, can serve as a model system for science education when studying neuron viability and the impact of various drugs on conduction velocity within the nervous system. Earthworms prove to be ideal candidates due to their easily stimulated and measurable large axon bundles. Earthworms are also inexpensive, noncontroversial, and easily sedated, making them suitable for STEM learning. Each earthworm underwent a standardized anesthetization procedure with an ethanol and water mixture before being placed on a nerve bath. They were then stimulated by an electrode to gather a control action potential. By measuring the speed at which action potentials propagate along the three giant neurons of the earthworm nerve chord, we were able to monitor the neurophysiological response of earthworms to different drugs. This data was then used to understand the effects of said drugs on invertebrates and applied to our existing knowledge of drug interactions within the human central nervous system. We visualized the effects of specific drugs, including ethyl alcohol, nicotine, and epinephrine. Because of the simplicity of invertebrate nervous systems, these lab experiments can be easily replicable in various levels of STEM education.

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Higher Education | Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Analysis of the Neurophysiological Responses of Lumbricina: An Invertebrate Model for STEM Education



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