The Brain Power curriculum is designed for grades five through eight. The curriculum offers a combination of teacher taught and student taught lessons. The lessons were designed to be hands-on, fun, inexpensive and easy to implement.
Lessons cover such topics as brain structure and function, how we learn, how we perceive the world around us, the biology of drug dependency decision making and health-related choices.
The Macrobrain of Brain Basics uncovers the four major parts of the brain by constructing a model out of clay. Through the construction of a model of a neuron, the Microbrain of Brain Basics examines the composition of neurons and the extensive neural connections established throughout the brain and body.
The complexity of the connections between the structures of the brain and between the brain and body is illustrated here. In a relay type exercise, students represent parts of the brain and body. These parts are connected and signals are sent through the maze of connections. One relay takes the brain through the process of ordering a pizza, from the realization of hunger to the first bite.
To recognize some common neurotransmitters in the brain and their functions, this lesson utilizes kinesthetic motions and a matching activity. The process of neurotransmission is demonstrated with a tossing activity.
Students brainstorm and demonstrate the possible mechanisms by which drugs interfere with normal neurotransmission. Then they formulate a hypothesis on the effects of different drugs by utilizing a model of the synapse and manipulatives representing neurotransmitters, receptors and drugs.
Get a Clue
Students investigate how different drugs affect different parts of the brain and the body by using clues to discover the drug they are "on." Students summarize their learning through mapping the regions of the brain that the students' drug affects.
Students consider the concept that health and well being are affected by both chance and choice. The Riskier Business board game demonstrates how a person's life is affected by the choices made along the way. Each choice throughout the game has both short-term and long-term consequences. The game shows that some things that happen in life are based strictly on chance.
Identify the definition of homeostasis and examine how drugs disrupt the natural homeostasis of the body. The consequences of drug effect, tolerance, dependence and withdrawal are displayed by utilizing a homeostatic balance and synapse manipulatives and by collecting data.
Student taught lessons provide hands-on activities for participating students to teach to their peers. The lessons are fun and informative. Peer teaching is an esteem-building experience, as well as an opportunity to reinforce student learning.
A change in visual input (through the magic of our "vision goggles") temporarily alters the student's reality. Students experience how fast the human brain can adapt to changes it faces.
This lesson gives an introduction to projective tests, the inkblot test in particular. Students are given a sample inkblot test, followed by discussion of how psychologists use tests like this to reveal clues about personality. Students then make their own inkblots.
Students discover the power of their imagination and how they can use it in their daily lives. Students discuss how visualization can help them to improve mental and physical skills. Students then take part in a science experiment using an ordinary cup and ball toy to test the power of visualization. To conclude, students discuss aspects of their lives where visualization might help them achieve their goals.
Strive to Survive
Students discover the importance of the brain's reward system and learn how drug use fools the brain's reward system into thinking basic needs are being met.
Get Your Kicks
Students learn how different activities are rewarding for different people by conducting a reward system survey. Students visualize the stimulation and firing of neurons in the brain's reward system.