This lesson is an introduction to a unit on the nervous system for a biology class or a unit on the brain/nervous system for an anatomy class. This lesson has some interesting video components, as well as an inquiry-based investigation on brain components.
Students will be able to think critically about the brain and its functions by watching videos, completing a worksheet, and performing an investigation about the various parts of the brain.
Science: Biology or Anatomy and Physiology
9th grade Biology or upper level Anatomy and Physiology
One 90 minute lesson
Opening (15 minutes):
- Begin the lesson by showing the video clip, Scanning the Brain. Here we see how MRI machines were used to reveal the sophisticated circuitry of the brain’s cortex.
- Continue the lesson by viewing the video, The Brain in Action. In this video segment, host Alan Alda undergoes a series of cognitive tests to demonstrate how quickly the brain reacts, and in which location of the brain the reaction occurs.
- Guide students in a class discussion about the videos.
- Ask students what they found most interesting about the videos and the development of the brain.
Body of Lesson (70 minutes):
- Continue the lesson by showing the video clip, A Matter of Size. This video compares the size of a human brain with the brains of a chimp, a monkey and a rat.
- Provide students with a copy of the document, A Matter of Size Questions.
- Stop the video at various times to discuss the questions on their worksheet that they are completing during the video.
- The next portion of the lesson will involve research; therefore students need to have computers accessible.
- Research assignment:
- Divide the class into pairs. Each pair will be asked to research a different part of the brain. Have available a list of brain parts to ensure that the appropriate parts are covered.
- The students will have thirty minutes to research and make a visually appealing 8.5x11 poster of the brain part they have chosen. Each poster should contain: location of the part, what it controls, and what would happen if it were to be damaged.
- Each pair will give a short presentation about the brain part they researched. The posters are then displayed around the room as visual aids for the remainder of the unit.
Closure (5 minutes):
Exit ticket, “What part of the brain did you find most interesting? Explain one thing about brains in general that you learned today.”
- The videos of this lesson are extremely helpful in explaining some of the brain processes before the inquiry portion begins.
- The inquiry-based portion will be done in pairs, so the pairing must be done in a way to group SPED and ELL students with proficient students to offer some peer tutoring.
- The visual displays will serve as an aid for the remainder of the unit.
A Matter of Size Discussion Questions: PDF
- N.12.A.3: Students know repeated experimentation allows for statistical analysis and unbiased conclusions.
- L.12.D.1: Students know organisms can be classified based on evolutionary relationships.
- L.12.D.5: Students know biological evolution explains diversity of life.
Lesson Contributed by John Metzger
For a demonstration or more details, contact Karen Karst-Hoskins
at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 775.682.7805 or 775.544.9061.
Funding provided by NV Energy and the Walmart State Giving Program.