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Sensory Receptors and The Nervous System For Middle School Science NGSS MS LS1-8

middle school science sensory receptors

Middle school students are required to learn that stimuli hit the sensory receptors, which are specialized cells that take in the stimuli and convert it to an electrochemical signal that can be sent through the nervous system. Neurons transmit the signal from one neuron to another until it reaches the brain. Once it reaches the brain, the brain processes the signal and may send a signal to the body to react or it may store information as memory. Students will also love learning about Cells.

What are Sensory Receptors?

A sensory receptor is a structure that reacts to a physical stimulus in the environment, whether internal or external. It is a sensory nerve ending that receives information and conducts a process of generating nerve impulses to be transmitted to the brain for interpretation and perception. Sensory receptors vary in classifications but generally initiate the same process of registering stimuli and creating nerve signals.

In a sensory system, sensory receptors serve as the front-liners because they are in contact with the stimulus. Taste or gustatory receptors, odor or olfactory receptors have receptor molecules which undergo a process of binding to chemicals in the stimuli. For instance, the chemicals in food interaction with the taste receptors of the taste bud so that an action potential or a nerve signal can be created. Other sensory receptors function by means of transduction.

Middle School Science Resources for The Nervous System and Sensory Receptors

In this unit, middle school students will read passages, watch slide shows, do a lab, and complete response pages. This resource is available both in a digital Google Classroom Version and as a printable version. The two products are not exactly alike, but they do cover the same standards.


sensory receptors and the nervous system
A few pages from the unit.

The Nervous System In Middle School Science

Standard Addressed

NGSS MS-LS1-8 Gather and synthesize information that sensory receptors respond to stimuli by sending messages to the brain for immediate behavior or storage as memories. [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include mechanisms for the transmission of this information.]

Each sense receptor responds to different inputs (electromagnetic, mechanical, chemical), transmitting them as signals that travel along nerve cells to the brain. The signals are then processed in the brain, resulting in immediate behaviors or memories. (MS-LS1-8)

Also goes with


Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the conceptual understanding that cells form tissues and tissues form organs specialized for particular body functions. Examples could include the interaction of subsystems within a system and the normal functioning of those systems.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include the mechanism of one body system independent of others. Assessment is limited to the circulatory, excretory, digestive, respiratory, muscular, and nervous systems.]


Utah SEEd 7.3.3 Construct an explanation using evidence to explain how body systems have various levels of the organization. Emphasize that cells form tissues, tissues form organs, and organs form systems specialized for particular body functions. Examples could include relationships between the circulatory, excretory, digestive, respiratory, muscular, skeletal, or nervous systems. Specific organ functions will be taught at the high school level. (LS1.A)

sensory receptors printable unit
google Slice Unit on Sensory receptors
Sensory Receptors and the Nervous system

My printable unit is also available here on Both options give you the same exact resource.


My units also address the Human Systems and interactions between systems standards. NGSS MS-LS1-3. and Utah SEEd 7.3.3 and the digital version can be purchased as part of a bundle. Human Systems Bundle

Digestive System Online Unit

Respiratory System Online Unit

Circulatory System Online Unit


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