For teachers who want to incorporate lessons about the brain into their classrooms, we have new and exciting lesson plans available on our website, which can be downloaded for free. Geared towards grades 6-8, each lesson plan comes with a PowerPoint presentation and includes a hands-on activity to get students as involved as possible in learning about the brain.
The first lesson, Design an Imaginary Animal, gives students a breakdown of how different animals’ brains are composed and why. Paired with our fact sheet How Does the Brain Work?, students go over basic neuroanatomy and are then split into groups of three to come up with their own imaginary animal, and build its brain using Play-Doh, enlarging parts of the brain that correlate to a heightened brain function. For example, animals with a strong sense of smell would have a large olfactory lobe.
The second lesson plan, titled Touch-A-Brain, is an extension of the previous lesson. Building on the information learned by designing an imaginary animal, this lesson gives students the opportunity to be extremely hands-on and actually touch and examine a sheep and/or a human brain! Also utilizing the How Does the Brain Work? fact sheet, this lesson explains the different parts and functions of the brain.
The third lesson, Pipe Cleaner Neuron, combines a lesson on neurons and neurotransmission by giving students a chance to create a neuron model using different colored pipe cleaners. The lesson explains the different parts of a neuron, noting what each of them do, and how neurotransmission works between neurons.
Now You See It, Now You Don’t is a lesson on memory and the stages of memory formation, explaining not only how the brain stores memories but also the different parts of the brain involved in the process. Students get to participate in a fun activity that tests their short-term memory at the end of the lesson as well (their results can then be compared with those of their classmates).
The final lesson plan, Optical Illusions, explains the visual system. The lesson gives an overview of the eye itself, and from there explains how the eye is connected to the brain and how the information the eye receives is transmitted and processed. At the end of the lesson, students look at different optical illusions and receive explanations on how they trick our brains.
These lesson plans and more can be found on our Lesson Plans page, and all are great resources for anyone who is interested in learning more about the most complex organ in the body.
– Megan Messana