Copyright: Gary E. Duncan, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.

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General Introduction

Grade 3 Introduction - The Brain & Skull

  • Lesson 1 - Animal Skulls - Students become aware of the relationship between the skull and the brain, and to begin thinking about how humans are both alike and different from other mammals.

  • Lesson 2 - Wonders of the Brain - Students become aware that the human brain is an amazing organ. The differences between human and animal brains are what allows us to do these things.

  • Lesson 3 - Clay Brains - Students learn basic brain anatomy.

  • Lesson 4 - Brain Trace - Students learn basic brain anatomy and terms and become more aware of how the brain's structures are situated in relation to one another.

  • Lesson 5 - Brain Remembers - Students gain a better grasp of brain anatomy through the use of notetaking.

  • Lesson 6 - The Magic Wand - Students gain an understanding that there is localization of function in the human brain.
Grade 4 Introduction - Reaction Time

  • Lesson 1 - Catch a Ruler - Students are introduced to neurotransmission in the context of a reaction time experiment that demonstrates the concept of gravity and the reaction of the nervous system.
  • Lesson 2 - Quick Communication - Students experience the body reacting, while also increasing their awareness of body systems in the context of the scientific method.

Grade 4 Introduction - Neurotransmission

Grade 4 Introduction - Nicotine

  • Lesson 1 - Nicotine in the Body - Students will understand how cigarette smoke travels through the respiratory system and bloodstream to the brain.

  • Lesson 2 - Nicotine in the Brain - Students will understand the biological changes that take place in neurotransmission in the presence of nicotine that lead to dependence and addiction.

Grade 5 Introduction - Sleep

  • Lesson 1 - More to Discover - Students are introduced to the topic of dreams, turning students' attention to themselves and their body processes as they begin to link dreaming to the brain.

  • Lesson 2 - Frequency Counts - Students are introduced to the concept that quantitative descriptors describe things numerically and that electrical activity in the brain corresponds to our state of consciousness.
  • Lesson 3 - Quantify Your Dreams - Students gain experience in graphing quantitative data and begin to understand the cycling of electrical activity in the brain during sleep.

  • Lesson 4 - Musical Dreams - Students gain experience in the scientific method with the collection and interpretation of data, which they then use to make predictions or hypotheses about the outcomes of future tests. They also tie musical rhythms to body rhythms through a mini-play.
  • Lesson 5 - What Do We Know - Students play a board game to review concepts related to electrical energy in the brain and body.

The development of the Brain Explorers curriculum was funded by a Science Education Drug Abuse Partnership grant (5 R25 DA11657-03) from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health.

BACK TO: Experiments and Activities Exploring the Nervous System Table of Contents

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