Learn about the Brain: Lesson Plans for Grades 6-8 Now Available

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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.

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Back to School Materials for Teachers and Students

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With summer coming to a close, now it’s time for fall and a new school year to begin. To help ease the transition, why not stop by the Dana Foundation’s website and look over some fun, yet educational, activities and materials? The site has two separate sections designed specifically for educators and students, depending on what you’re looking for.

The Kids page is grouped into elementary, middle, and high school sections and offers students of different age groups a chance to explore games, quizzes, and online exhibits of most things covering the brain and human body. In the “Lab,” students can explore different types of brain maps and atlases to learn all the parts and differences between healthy and diseased brains. Digital dissections to discover how different parts of the body work, and a chance to have all of your questions about the brain answered by real neuroscientists, are also available!

For teachers, we offer resources from both Dana and outside organizations that cover various lesson plans, science news, and the history of neuroscience and human behavior. In this section, you can also find our Brain Awareness Week (BAW) Lesson Plans, designed for grades K-5. These classroom exercises incorporate fun activities using Play-Doh to create make believe brains, experiments to learn about our sense of smell, and a PowerPoint presentation to teach students about common brain injuries and how to stay safe.

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World Teachers’ Day 2015

For the past twenty-one years, October 5 has remained a significant date dedicated to teachers everywhere, acknowledging their efforts in making education accessible, understandable, and essential for growth. This year’s World Teachers’ Day slogan is: Empowering teachers, building sustainable societies.

Education does not have to be limited to the confines of a classroom; for students who are eager to learn, a good teacher is invaluable. According to UNESCO, “It is recognized that teachers are not only a means to implementing education goals; they are the key to sustainability and national capacity in achieving learning and creating societies based on knowledge, values and ethics.”

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Engaging the Next Generation of Neuroscientists

A major part of the Dana Foundation’s Brain Awareness Week campaign is to engage young students in activities and discussions about the brain. To aid in this endeavor, Dana publishes a few brainy booklets specifically geared toward kids – some of which are offered in multiple languages, as well as games and puzzles. We’re always keen to find new kid-friendly brain resources to add to our Brainy Kids section, and the other day my colleague found a cool new brain resource from the Wellcome Trust in London. The glossy publication offers students and teachers an overview of what imaging research has taught us about the brain, addressing different types of imaging, neuro-myths, and reflections from doctors and patients on the role their brains play in their lives. Check it out!

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– Ann L. Whitman

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