Click on the links below to visit websites featuring neuroscience topics and activities:
Neurotic Neurons: An Interactive Explanation
Here is a great illustration of synaptic plasticity. Visit the Neurotic Neurons page to play the game, then follow the links there to explore further.
Wellcome Trust Funding Projects for Teachers
From Joseph Miller of the Wellcome Trust: "There is a real appetite from teachers to know more about the neuroscience and psychology research relevant to the classroom. However the reality is that not all ‘brain-based’ resources and programmes available are based on research. To support teachers to access, understand and utilise this evidence we have funded the below projects:"
- The Learning Zone will be a six month online engagement between teachers / neuroscientists / psychologists and educational researchers, where teachers can engage in discussion with researchers on fortnightly topics relating to learning in the classroom.
- The Learning Scientists are developing podcasts and running monthly Facebook Live events on the Science of Learning. The podcast is enabling teachers to engage with our material in a new format that has been very popular in the 21st century and is convenient for those with busy lives. In our Facebook Live events, teachers are able to submit their questions to us both prior to the event and in real time during the session, so we are in direct contact with teachers answering their questions with up-to-date information from research. Both formats are helping more UK teachers gain access to research on learning, and help teachers become responsible consumers of research on learning.
- The science of learning. This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) explores how teachers can use the science of learning to improve student academic outcomes in STEM subjects. Learners will address the question "what is learning?"
The course draws on educational neuroscience and psychology, to help interpret learning and behaviour in their class. The course supports teachers to reflect on their practice, to improve their approach and be better informed about how students learn. Students will benefit from teachers’ improved understanding of the plasticity of the brain, or with exposure to some of the ideas in the course will be better placed to understand their own learning potential. Learners will discuss insights, in particular combating neuroscience myths and being better placed to justify why certain teaching approaches are effective.
TestMyBrain provides a number of on-line brain tests for use by teachers, researchers, and individuals. From their web site:
TestMyBrain.org is a not-for-profit research initiative dedicated to providing measurement tools that allow people to engage in science and learn about themselves.
Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering
The Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering is one of several Engineering Research Centers across the country supported by the National Science Foundation. Of particular interest to teachers is their K-12 education content which contains resources for teachers and lesson plans. From their web site:
We educate young people about neural engineering and neuroscience. This includes discussing neuroethics, including concerns like identity, privacy and moral or legal responsibility.
International Youth Neuroscience Association
The International Youth Neuroscience Association (IYNA) site includes an on-line journal that is written, edited, and published by its members. The group has also started the MYELIN Initiative, with the goal of producing a comprehensive curriculum for a high school introductory course in neuroscience. They are looking for new members! From the site:
Our Mission: To advance the international collaboration of young neuroscientists from all backgrounds by educating them about the brain and inspiring them to fight neurological diseases.
Brainfacts.org has a pretty awesome 3D Interactive Brain, which allows you to rotate the brain, select structures, exploded the view, etc. If the brain model stops responding, try refreshing the page. They have also redone their Core Concepts as short video clips and interactives with links to other resources within Brainfacts.org.
Frontiers for Young Minds Just in time for your return to school - Dr. Dubinsky discovers a wonderful new resource. Frontiers for Young Minds: science edited for kids, by kids
This online journal offers a wide variety of scientific articles reviewed by and designed for kids. In the section titled Understanding Neuroscience, subjects range from Seeing with your Ears ("...Using a special method, named sensory substitution, researchers have been able to demonstrate that blind people could 'see' using sounds...") to The Amazing History of Neuroscience which tracks our curiosity about the brain from ancient Egypt, through Santiago Ramón y Cajal whose works are featured in The Beautiful Brain exhibit, right up to modern times.
Neuro-hit or neuro-myth? According to the Centre for Educational Neuroscience at University College London, researchers in educational neuroscience have begun to compile sets of resources, meta-analyses and reviews to address which neuroscience-inspired teaching techniques are supported by empirical evidence and which facts about the brain actually reflect current consensus within neuroscience. On their website, they provide access to some of these resources, themed around some of the main topics where neuromyths have arisen, and give brief overviews about the existing state of research – what is known and not yet known on these topics.
The 2015 Brain Awareness Week video winners have been chosen! And they are terrific:
- First-place winner "Do We See the Same Red?" is dynamite! It discusses the visual system and addresses NGSS standards 4-PS4-2 and 4-LSI-2.
- The second-place winner complements the first, further addressing the subject of color vision. In the third-place-winning video, we learn about sensory processing -- our sense of ourselves.
- Honorable Mention went to “The More You Hear, the Less You Hear!” about auditory overload and the need for hearing protection.
Each video is about 5 minutes in length and entertaining as well as educational. You may watch them all on the Society for Neuroscience website.
Applying STEM: The Brain Safety Design Challenge Watch middle school teacher Channa Comer as she leads her class in an engineering project to develop a football helmet that will protect a player's brain. In this class, the students use eggs to represent the player's head and various found objects (cardboard, bubble wrap, etc.) as helmet-building materials.
In this 10-minute video, Ms. Comer describes the process - how much time is allotted for design, prototyping, and testing. We watch as the students discuss the outcome of the tests (what worked and what didn't), which parts of the brain would be injured in the failed tests and how the person would function as a result of that injury as well as how the students would improve their designs to avoid a bad outcome. Following this activity, a couple of her students told Ms. Comer they want to become brain surgeons and another said "they work better in a group than they do working by themselves."
Watch The Brain Safety Design Challenge video.
A 3-minute look at a 3-pound wonder: Zooming in on the Human Brain This video is 3 minutes and 45 seconds long and features stunning images and beautiful music. The first 3 minutes take you from gross anatomy of the brain to close-up views of neurons, proteins, dna strands, and genes and back. The last 45 seconds show you what researchers can do with the Brain Explorer 2 software created by the Allen Institute for Brain Science.
Zooming in on the Human Brain video on YouTube
NeuroPsyFi The Brain Science Behind the Movies: The NeuroPsyFi website will give you loads of ideas on how to incorporate popular movies into your classroom. Created by a clinical neuropsychologist, educator, and screenwriter, the website features movies with characters who have special brain abilities or neurological disorders. Movies are reviewed (Still Alice, Awakenings, etc.) on the site, several with related classroom activities.
The Power of Role Models: Meet Native American role models which include environmentalists, radiologists, nurses, doctors, teachers, dentist, agricultural managers, firefighters, astronauts, marine biologists, laboratory technicians, physicists, and more. Read and view videos about their chosen field, college of study, tribal affiliation, and their home town. Included are teaching points. Developed from the University of Nebraska Medical Center SEPA project Role Models in Your Community poster sets.
Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience seeks to increase student interest and understanding of neuroscience through simple, safe lab investigations using plants and herbs. Neuroscience for Kids director Dr. Eric Chudler is the principal investigator on this project. The site features 8 lesson plans introducing middle school students to neuroscience and the use of lab animals and plant extracts. The lessons are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core Standards for Math and English Language Arts, and the Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs): Science. Lesson plans can be downloaded and supporting videos are available.
This 9-minute video shows the life cycle and reproduction of C. elegans in graphical representations as well as footage of the worms under a microscope. The presentation is split into 6 sections and you can jump directly to the section you're interested in.
AlcoholFX from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA is a free mobile app for tablets to help fifth- and sixth-grade teachers educate their students about the consequences of alcohol use.
Several articles on alcohol's effect on the developing brain sent in by a BrainU visitor from Georgia.
Teen Drinking May Cause Irreversible Brain Damage from NPR's Morning Edition program, January 25, 2010. At this link, you may listen to an interview with neuroscientist Susan Tapert at UC-San Diego and pediatrician Ron Dahl from the University of Pittsburgh.
The Adolescent Brain - A Work In Progress is an article by former K-12 grade teacher and adjunct professor Pat Wolfe who studies the application of brain research to educational practice. Includes discussion of substance abuse and sleep deprivation.
Alcohol and Adolescent Brain Development is a 3-page PDF from the Maternal Substance Abuse and Child Development Project at Emory University School of Medicine. The article gives a brief description of the problem by asking "Is alcohol use more dangerous for adolescents than for adults?" and discussing specific regions of the brain and how they are affected by alcohol.
The Anatomy of Love is an educational and fun to read website that is the work of a neuroscientist and a biological anthropologist who study romantic love. By interviewing subjects and scanning their brains, these researchers are creating a map of the brain in love.
Particularly interesting is How We Study Love a series of pages with great pictures in which they walk us step-by-step through the research process from original question to final results, explaining fMRI and other subjects along the way.
In the video Christmas Lectures 2011: Speed of a Nerve Signal, Professor Bruce Hood measures the speed of a nerve impulse travelling the length of one arm. Dr. Dubinsky recommends this link and says, "It's a good demonstration of how long it takes for a message to travel down axons."
This video is one of many videos on The BrainBank - a site filled with teaching materials based on the Christmas Lectures 2011. You can find the nerve signal speed video on a page called Neurons, neural networks and the nervous system - scroll down to the section entitled How fast do neurons communicate? [Key Stages 2-4], about 1/2 way down the page.
Project Neuron, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, offers a fun, interactive Brain Quiz and other simulations, games, and lesson plans.
Brain Awareness Week, in March, is a worldwide celebration of the brain for people of all ages. Ideas for how you can get involved are on the Society for Neuroscience website.
The Hawaii Electric Light Company brings us The Body Electric: a short article about how electrical signals travel along nerves to muscles. One of the accompanying activities, Nervous Energy, shows you how to set up an experiment to simulate nerve impulse travel between neurons. A teacher guide is also available.
Brain Myths - Sayings like "you only use 10% of your brain" may be common but are they accurate? The two documents linked below examine some popular brain myths and offer accurate analysis.
Neuromyth Busters: 9 Myths About the Brain from the Society for Neuroscience's BrainFacts site www.brainfacts.org/Neuromyths
Brain Myths from BrainU
Neuroscience for Kids - an excellent resource for both teachers and students who want to learn more about the brain and how the nervous system works. It is full of neuroscience activities and information.
BrainWorks TV Program produced April 13, 2006; time: 28:30
Neuroscience Laboratory and Classroom Activities - high school neuroscience curriculum developed by the National Association of Biology Teachers in the 1990s. The book is available to members to download.
The other virtual neuron - courtesy of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Multimedia Library at BrainFacts.org
Additional Neuroscience Educational Resources are available from the Society for Neuroscience
erin.sfn.org Educational Resources in Neuroscience
SEPA Science Education Partnership Award supported by the National Institutes of Health
Free online neuroscience videos
Changing Brains: University of Oregon Watch online videos and explore the effect of experience on the development of brain systems important in vision, hearing, motor skills, attention, language, reading, math, music, and emotions and learning.
Brain Art "This is the world's largest extant collection of anatomically correct fabric brain art..." and it has a link to the Wood Brain Art site.
The Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah has a wealth of information about the brain, for example, The New Science of Addiction: Genetics and the Brain
The AAAS Science Inside Alcohol Project offers an online interactive e-book that guides students (grades 6-12) through the effects of alcohol on the body.
CCSI Consortium of Cognitive Science Instruction - Long-Term Potentiation LTP animation
The MIND Project - Classic chemical synaptic neurotransmission flash video
On-Line Multimedia Teaching tool for Neurobiology NSF-funded multimedia Neuroscience education tool in development
Save This Brain
Comparative Mammalian Brain Collections - one of the best comparative neuroanatomy sites on the Web
For more in-depth pursuit of neuroanatomy, visit BrainMaps.org - an interactive high-resolution digital brain atlas and virtual microscope - www.brains-minds-media.org/archive/1426
NIDA National Institute on Drug Abuse Lessons from Prevention Research
Drug Abuse, Addiction, and the Adolescent Brain available from BSCS (Biological Sciences Curriculum Study)
MIND OVER MATTER by NIDA, 8 booklets in an envelope as part of NIDA goes back to school
Classroom resources from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences: lesson plans, interactive games, video and audio
Resources and lesson plans for teachers from NIH's Office of Science Education
Mindboggling publications from DANA Foundation, Dana Press including It's Mindboggling! glossy pamphlet, ¡Es increíble! same thing in Spanish, and Q&A: Answering your Questions about Brain Research
The Brain Chemistry Teacher's Guide - available from Baylor College of Medicine Center for Educational Outreach - offers a series of inquiry-based lessons on the subject of the brain on drugs. Visit BioEd Online to access lesson plans and videos.
The Dana Initiative - information about the programs, activities, and publications of the Dana Foundation and the Dana Alliance, as well the latest news about the brain. Teachers can also order classroom kits and videos about the brain.
The Brain Connection - tons of brain facts, games, and news about the latest in brain research
Brain Briefings published by the Society for Neuroscience - a clearing house on general neuroscience topics like Alzheimers' Disease, prenatal care of the brain, and brains in space
Brain Awareness Week is an international effort every March to expand the public's knowledge about neuroscience.
For local Brain Awareness Week activities coordinated by the University of Minnesota, visit www.neuroscience.umn.edu/outreach/brain-awareness-week
Kids! Here is BrainPop! - an interactive fun website where you can take quizzes about the brain and learn about other science, health, and technology topics
NIDA for Teens: Test Your Knowledge, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse - a good site for looking at how different drugs affect the brain
The Exploratorium's online exhibit about memory - fascinating games involving memory and how it sometimes isn't as accurate as it seems
Jill Bolte Taylor, My Stroke of Insight