A great way to start each day would be to have one "weird" fact about our brains up on the board. For example, brains have enough electricity to run a light bulb; there are more neurons in one brain than stars in the Milky Way; and we have 600 miles of neurons in our heads. Once intrigued, students will see pictures of the various parts of the brain, paying close attention to neurons and how they operate. This will also include real images of brain scans and an explanation about how glucose and oxygen trails (hemoglobin) allow researchers to pinpoint the precise areas we use in living and learning.
The Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), a machine similar to an MRI, can monitor hemoglobin levels throughout the brain. Hemoglobin transports oxygen and glucose in the brain and its presents signifies the areas of brain activity. Images that are more precise give researchers a clear idea of which regions are active during a particular cognitive task. Electroencephalography (EEG) measures the presence of voltage in a certain area of the brain. When information travels along brain cells or neurons, it moves as a tiny spark of electricity. An EEG machine can create images that give researchers amazingly precise data on the brain areas activated when a person is engaged in activities like reading. Images from these different machines can be studied to compare the brain activity of good readers to those of struggling readers. This provides insight on why one person can comprehend text and another become confused. With this insight, researchers evaluate the validity of specific teaching practices. There are many beautiful pictures on the internet that can give students a visual image of the inner workings of the brain. At this time, I will let students handle models of the brain that show basic brain features such as brainstem, cerebellum, thalamus, occipital, parietal, temporal, and frontal lobes. Students will also draw a brain cell so that they can get a better understanding of how connections between neurons are made.