Daily Journals: Students will record their hypnosis, predictions, procedures, questions, observations, and results of activities. Students should be encouraged to include detailed illustrations in their records.
Activity: Clay Model of the Brain
Objective: Students will build a brain constructing each anatomical feature as it is learned and label with toothpick flags. Students will understand that the brain has a unique anatomy made up of many parts with specialized functions. Each anatomical feature will be a different color.
Materials: modeling clay of varied colors.
Lesson 1: Brainstem: Midbrain- Pons - Medulla
The medulla is an extension of the spinal cord, where the spinal cord changes into the brain. The medulla becomes structurally thicker; the pons is like two thick stalks with bulges on the side near the top of the medulla the size of a large gumball about 2.5 cm. The pons lies behind the medulla and cerebellum connecting the medulla to the midbrain.
Objective: Student will understand the anatomy and functions of the brainstem.
Students will roll out a coil of clay that is thicker at the top to show the medulla extending out of the spinal cord. The length should be about 10 cm. Students will shape a bulge on the side top of the medulla to form the pons, which serves as a relay station of sensory information between the cerebrum and cerebellum and the rest of the central nervous system.
Lesson 2 Cerebellum
Objective: Students will understand that the cerebellum is located at the nape of the neck and behind the medulla.
Students will make a cerebellum with two symmetrical parts (about 4 cm) that look like small clams and know that its main functions involve muscle movement, coordination, and balance. Student will make two oval shapes and attach them to back of the brainstem and label it with a toothpick flag.
Lesson 3 Thalamus
Objective: Students will understand that the thalamus consists of two oval shaped masses that sit above the medulla side by side, one in each hemisphere. Students will understand that the thalamus sorts information from the four senses, sight, hearing, taste, and touch.
Students will make a thalamus by rolling and shaping clay into two ovals, 1.5cm x .75cm. Then, place the two ovals side by side on above the pons and medulla and label with a toothpick flag.
Lesson 4 Hypothalamus- Hippocampus- Amygdala
Objective: Students will understand that the hypothalamus is the size of a dime and is able to keep homeostasis within our body, regulating and controlling autonomic functions and conscience function of behavior and instinct releasing hormones as a result of sensory input. Students will shape an amygdala like a little ball and hippocampus like a seahorse and place it above the thalamus.
Lesson 5: Cerebrum
Objective: Students will understand that the cerebrum is a thin flat organ that has many folds so it can fit in the skull.
Students will roll clay to 12" diameter circle 1/8 inch thick. Cut the circle in half and fold. Wrap each folded half around the each side of the thalamus on top of the brainstem, making the cerebral cortex covering each right and left hemisphere separately. Label with toothpick flag.
Lesson 6: – Evolution of Brain: Timeline
Objective: Students will understand that the brain's anatomy and function has evolved over time.
Hand our pictures of a fish, worm, amphibian, reptile, mammal, and human as well as pictures of their brains. Ask students to match brains with species, then compare and contrast the physical features of the brains with the animal function using what they have learned about that anatomy of the brain. Then distribute reference guides with dates for the development of each species. Divide students into groups. Instruct students to draw a timeline marking dates, and label date with species. Ask students to list characteristic of each group in relation to its environment. Discuss characteristic of each brain in relation to the environment and species. Hypothesis reasons for change, examine evidence. Make predictions. Encourage use of resources during exercise, ie classroom computers and library.
Lesson 7: The Neuron
Objective: Students will understand that a neuron is a special brain cell with unique features designed to communicate messages in electrical neural pathways as they illustrate and act out its function.
Draw two neurons on the board and label the parts while explaining their functions. (Soma, axon, dendrites, neurotransmitters, vesicle, synapse) Illustrate how a message is sent. Ask students draw and label the parts of the neuron in their notebook. Divide the class into groups. Hand out chart paper, scissors, and colored paper for the vesicles with neurotransmitters molecules in them. Ask students to work together to make two neurons sending a message. Outside on the basketball court, ask student to draw several neurons (4-5) with colored chalk. Students will be neurotransmitters and demonstrate a neural pathway as a neurotransmitter moving down the axon, across the synapse to the dendrite of the next neuron. Ask students to make different pathways.
Lesson 8: What is in the Bag? Sensory Integration- Thalamus
Objective: Students will learn that the senses work together gather information.
What's it the bag? Put popcorn in paper bags. Working with a partner, ask students to use their sense to make hypothesis about the contents of the bag. Open bag to verify prediction. Enjoy the contents with multisensory experience. Variations: Senses and objects can vary. Make guesses by feeling what is in the bag
Extended reading: Louis Braille
Lesson 9: Memory: Practice Improves
Objective: Students will understand that when practicing recalling information it creates stronger pathways that are faster and more efficient.
Time each trial and graph results to show improved speed and accuracy. Ask student to write down a sentences then pick one. Line up ten students. Ask only the first person to read the sentence and then whisper the sentence to the next student, passing the message along to the end just like a neural message. Ask the last student to write what was heard after the message passed through the ten of them. Compare the beginning message with the end message. Repeat trial 3 times timing each. Compare the speeds and accuracy.
Lesson 10: Memory- Build a Memory House
Objective: Students will understand that memories are stored in associated sensory areas
Draw a memory house. Pick a significant memory. Illustrate each part of the memory in relation to each of the senses you remember during the experience. Draw a house with each room being a different sense- smells, tastes, feelings, sights, sounds. Draw or list all the related memories associated with each sense.
Lesson 11: Attention/memory
Objective: Students will understand that they will remember what they give their attention to and miss what they do not.
Partner students. Ask students to face each other and each taking turns and ask 5 questions about their favorite foods. Next, tell students to turn around and change 3 things about themselves, physically- secretly. (ex: remove glasses, hold a pencil, roll up sleeves) Ask students to turn back to their partner and ask what changes they noticed. Students will have difficultly as their attention was focused on questioning. Record observations and hypothesis.
Lesson 12: - Thinking Creatively
Objective: Students will understand that creative thinking involves organizing and sorting information in a variety of ways, different uses for an object, new ways to look at things, breaking down ideas into parts and trying new ways to put the parts together.
Give students the Stroop test
measuring cognitive control and flexibility. Give students 9 object. Ask them to sort items into categories. Label and explain sorting. Repeat three times. Grouping items in different ways exercises creative thinking. Pass out ordinary objects. Ask student to see how many uses they can you think of for, popcorn, a newspaper, pencil, paperclip, a thumbtack. Share ideas. Thinking of objects in a variety of way exercises creative thinking because helps us see, question, and move beyond assumption.
Lesson 13: Creative Creatures
Objective: Students will apply what they have learned about the brain's anatomy as it relates to function in a novel way by creating fictitious creatures. Encourage, humor and exaggeration, "super human qualities," gently nudging students, "outside the box." Ask student to write a description of what their creature can do and why. Extension: Create super heroes with "super human qualities," with a written description of the abilities and physical characteristics based on anatomy and function of the brain. Ask students to illustrate and describe their character including a magnification the brain structure with captions that describe the super human qualities of this brain anatomy and functions.