Lights, Camera, Action Potential Set-up

a)      Use chalk or a piece of butcher paper to set up the inside and outside of a neuron’s axon as pictured below.

b)      In the top aluminum pan, place handful of lentils (the picture shows black eyed peas) which represent sodium Na+ ions and a large handful of black beans that represent Cl- chloride ions. Place a few red kidney beans (the picture shows lima beans) 5 or so also in the pan, the red kidney beans represent potassium ions K+.

c)       Draw the axon membrane pictured with spaces that represent gates or channels in the membrane on your butcher paper,  place toothpicks over the spaces to represent “gates” to the channels.

d)      Set up the inside of the axon (inside the neuron cell) with another aluminum pan a large handful of red kidney beans (pictured as lima beans) that represent potassium ions K+. Place a few black beans that represent Cl- chloride ions. Place a few lentils (the picture shows black eyed peas) which represent sodium Na+ ions. Also place some of colored construction paper pieces that represent large negatively charged proteins, amino acids, nucleic acids, and phosphate groups (they are TOO large to fit through the membrane).

e)      Use the “post-it” notes to represent the overall positive charge of “+” outside the cell membrane, and a “post-it” note to represent an negative overall “-“ charge inside the cell initially.