by Greg Crowther
What do you call a cell that acts sort of like a neuron and sort of like an endocrine cell? This song, loosely inspired by the Meredith Brooks hit "Bitch," has an answer!
Well, up in the hypothalamus,
Thereís a neuron with a secret:
It's not creating neurotransmitter,
And it wonít secrete it.
Instead, it's making hormones
That travel in the bloodstream,
Where they reach distant targets
Of which other neurons can only dream.
Itís a neuron! It makes hormones!
But if "endocrine" and "nervous"
Are the groups from which you're choosing,
There's an option number 3
You should be using:
• MP3 (demo)
• music video
• sheet music
Songs like this one can be used during class meetings and/or in homework assignments. Either way, the song will be most impactful if students DO something with it, as opposed to just listening.
An initial, simple follow-up activity could be to answer the study questions below. A more extensive interaction with the song might entail (A) learning to sing it, using an audio file and/or sheet music as a guide, and/or (B) designing kinesthetic movements ("dance moves") to embody it. The latter activity could begin with students identifying the most important or most challenging content of the song, and deciding how to illustrate that particular content.
(1) Based on this song, how would you define a neuroendocrine cell?
(2) Are there neuroendocrine cells in locations other than the hypothalamus? If so, where are they?
(3) "Neuroendocrine" is an adjective that can be applied to things other than individual cells -- reflexes, for example. What do you think a neuroendocrine reflex is?
(4) This song focuses on one particular "neuron with a secret." From the clues given in the song, can we tell what hormone the neuron is making?
(5) This song focuses on one particular "neuron with a secret." How rare or common are neurons like the one described here?
(6) The lyrics mention "distant targets of which other neurons can only dream." In what sense is this fanciful? In what sense is this true?
(7) This song was inspired in part by a Meredith Brooks song whose chorus begins, "I'm a b****, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother...." How do those lines connect to the scientific meaning of the current song?
(8) Considering the specific content covered by this song, is there anything important that is missing, unclear, or misleading? If so, what?
(Answers may be found on the answers page.)