Your Brain


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.

Curriculum Topics: 
Science: Biology or Anatomy and Physiology 

Grade Level: 
9th grade Biology or upper level Anatomy and Physiology 

Suggested Time: 
One 90 minute lesson 


Lesson Outline:

Opening (15 minutes):

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. Guide students in a class discussion about the videos. 
  4. Ask students what they found most interesting about the videos and the development of the brain. 


Body of Lesson (70 minutes):

  1. 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. 
  2. Provide students with a copy of the document, A Matter of Size Questions. 
  3. Stop the video at various times to discuss the questions on their worksheet that they are completing during the video. 
  4. The next portion of the lesson will involve research; therefore students need to have computers accessible. 
  5. Research assignment: 
  6. 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. 
  7. 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. 
  8. 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.” 


  1. The videos of this lesson are extremely helpful in explaining some of the brain processes before the inquiry portion begins. 
  2. 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. 
  3. The visual displays will serve as an aid for the remainder of the unit. 


LearningMedia Resources: 


Supplemental Material: 
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 or call 775.682.7805 or 775.544.9061.

Funding provided by NV Energy and the Walmart State Giving Program.