This engaging lesson covers the detail of the 2nd part of specification point 6.2.2 of the AQA A-level Biology specification which states that students should be able to explain temporal and spatial summation as well as understand inhibition by inhibitory synapses. This is a topic which is generally poorly understood by students or brushed over so considerable time has been taken to design the activities to motivate the students so that the content is memorable whilst still being covered in detail. Links are continually made to earlier topics in this module such as synapses and generator potentials but also to topics covered in the previous year and still to be covered.
The lesson begins by challenging the students to recognise a description of generator potential and they will then discover that this is also known as an EPSP. Students will recall that a small depolarisation may not lead to the opening of the voltage gated channels and therefore the full depolarisation which is needed for the initiation of an action potential and will discuss how this problem could be overcome. Lots of discussion points like this are included in the lesson to encourage the students to challenge and debate why a particular process of mechanism occurs. Students will therefore learn that EPSPs can be combined and this is known as summation. A quiz round is used to introduce temporal and spatial summation. Moving forwards, students are presented with a number of examples where they have to decide why type of summation is involved. Again, the lesson has been written to include real-life examples such as chronic pain conditions so the chances of the content sticking is increased. The final part of the lesson introduces IPSPs and the effect of these on summation and action potentials is discussed.
This lesson has been designed for students studying on the AQA A-level Biology course and ties in well with the other uploaded lessons from topic 6 which include cholinergic synapses and neuromuscular junctions, sensory receptors and nerve impulses