This first week will provide the students with an overview of the human brain, including its size and function from infant to adult. Students will learn that different regions of the brain serve different functions. This week students will conduct a series of activities including mapping the geography of the brain and taking an inside peek at the inner workings of the human brain. Students will keep a daily log of their activities from which they will then have to find out what part of their brain controls those actions. Students will use what they learned about the brain by creating their own three dimensional model.
The second week will focus on the brains' inner connections or synapses and how stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and other drugs affect these connections. Students will also investigate how addiction affects the brain and the long term behavioral consequences associated with it. Through this, students will understand the chronic effects of stimulant use on learning and memory. The students will watch an animation of neurotransmission. The students will study the effects of stimulants on the brain and how they disrupt natural brain chemistry. Activities will include integrating literacy as the students write and perform a class play about the brain that demonstrates how nerve cells talk to each other.
This week the students will learn about interventions and treatments for addictions to stimulants. They will focus on keeping the brain healthy through a balanced diet, exercise, maintaining a positive attitude and getting adequate sleep. They will plan "brain healthy" menus based on what is learned about a balanced diet complete with fruits, vegetables, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.