Skip Navigation
Search

The Learning Brain: Neuroscience

Loading Content

Out:

Understandings about brain function in health, aging, learning and disease are growing with breathtaking speed. The Learning Brain project is developing and evaluating science teaching resources on emerging areas in neuroscience for use with elementary and secondary school students. Topics include brain structure, neurons and the nervous system, human senses and movement, learning and memory, diseases of the nervous system, and the effects of drugs on the brain and body.

The links on this page contain complete teacher guides, individual lessons on the brain, digital slides, video presentations and related content to enhance your instruction. The Learning Brain project is part of the National Institutes of Health’s Blueprint for Neuroscience Education program, and is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Science Education Partnership Award program, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health.

Teacher Guides and Classroom Slides

Thumbnail Image for K-1: The Senses Teacher Guide

K-1: The Senses Teacher's Guide

Students investigate sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch, and discover how the brain and the senses are connected.

Thumbnail Image for K-1: The Senses Slide Set

K-1: The Senses Classroom Slides

This slide set is designed for use with activities found in K-1: The Senses Teacher’s Guide.

Thumbnail Image for Teacher Guide

Brain Chemistry Teacher's Guide

Students learn about the brain, neurons, chemical communication in the body, risk perception and how personal choices can affect brain function and performance.

Thumbnail Image for The Brain, Neurons and Brain Chemistry Slide Set

Brain Chemistry Classroom Slides

Did you ever wonder why you can respond so quickly when you are startled? Wonder why you can “see” a picture in your mind’s eye? Discover the brain and its powerful communicators, neurons.

Thumbnail Image for Train Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Learned Behaviors Teacher Guide

Train Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Learned Behaviors

How do we learn and remember things? Students investigate how some behaviors work without conscious thought, and how other skills can be newly acquired or improved upon. (11 activities)

Individual Lessons: K-1: The Senses

Download the activity slide set, What Sound Is It? which contains embedded audio files for use with the activity, "Our Sense of Hearing."

Thumbnail Image for The Brain: Control Central

The Brain: Control Central

Students explore the basic functions and characteristics of the brain and skull, and learn about three major structures in the brain: the cerebrum, cerebellum and brainstem.

View this lesson Download PDF
Thumbnail Image for The Brain: Protection

The Brain: Protection

Students learn that the brain is fragile and that it is enclosed by the skull, which protects the brain and forms the shape of the head.

View this lesson Download PDF
Thumbnail Image for The Brain: Communication

The Brain: Communication

Students discover that their brains receive and act on information from inside and outside the body, and that the senses gather and process different kinds of information.

View this lesson Download PDF
Thumbnail Image for Our Sense of Vision Lesson

Our Sense of Vision

Students make kaleidoscopes to learn that light is essential to vision, and that the brain processes information from the eyes, which are “light detectors."

Thumbnail Image for Our Sense of Hearing

Our Sense of Hearing

Students investigate hearing and discover that sensory receptors in the ears collect sound information and transmit it to the brain, and that the effects of sound can be seen using a tuning fork and water. 

View this lesson Download PDF Digital Slide Set
Thumbnail Image for Our Sense of Taste

Our Sense of Taste

Students taste four mystery substances and learn that the tongue is covered with taste buds, which contain taste receptors, and that the brain determines the flavors we experience.

View this lesson Download PDF
Thumbnail Image for Our Sense of Smell

Our Sense of Smell

Students use four different flavors of dry soft drink mix to investigate the sense of smell, and learn that the nose can detect very small particles in air and transmit the information to the brain.

View this lesson Download PDF
Thumbnail Image for Our Sense of Touch

Our Sense of Touch

Students explore the sense of touch by identifying mystery objects with their eyes closed and discover that the skin receptors communicate with the brain, which can discriminate among many tactile objects.

View this lesson Download PDF
Thumbnail Image for Using All the Senses to Understand Our World

Using All the Senses to Understand Our World

Students use all of their senses to understand that there are different types of sensory receptors in the body, and all of them work together to provide information to the brain, which interprets the signals.

View this lesson Download PDF

Individual Lessons: Brain Chemistry

Thumbnail Image for The Brain (pre-assessment)

Brain Chemistry: Pre-assessment

Introduce students to the brain and some its most important functions, and measure how much they already know about the brain and nervous system.

View this lesson Download PDF
Thumbnail Image for What Is a Neuron?

What is a Neuron?

Students are introduced to how messages are sent and received by neurons, and they build a model neuron.

View this lesson Download PDF
Thumbnail Image for Neural Network Signals

Neural Network Signals

Students create an electrical circuit and investigate whether or not different dissolved substances conduct electricity.

View this lesson Download PDF
Thumbnail Image for Neurotransmitters Contain Chemicals

Neurotransmitters Contain Chemicals

Students play a simple card game to learn the sequence of events in the transmission of nervous system signals.

View this lesson Download PDF
Thumbnail Image for Crossing the Synaptic Gap

Crossing the Synaptic Gap

Students conduct a simulation activity that demonstrates how multiple incoming signals influence the action of neurons.

View this lesson Download PDF
Thumbnail Image for Hormones and Stress

Hormones and Stress

Students describe a stressful situation and how their bodies responded to it.

View this lesson Download PDF
Thumbnail Image for Drugs, Risks and the Nervous System

Drugs, Risks and the Nervous System

Students estimate the risks associated with different events and compare their estimates to the real probabilities.

View this lesson Download PDF
Thumbnail Image for Food for the Brain

Food for the Brain

Students learn about nutrients important for health by dissecting a slice of pizza.

View this lesson Download PDF
Thumbnail Image for Brain Chemistry (post-assessment)

Brain Chemistry: Post-assessment

Students complete a post-assessment to demonstrate what they have learned about brain chemistry.

View this lesson Download PDF

Brain Chemistry Unit Components

The integrated components of the Brain Chemistry unit enable students to explore chemical communication in the brain and nervous system, while building a deeper understanding of the powerful effects of drugs in the brain and body. Unit materials are adaptable to a variety of grade levels and teaching and learning styles.

Thumbnail Image for Legacy of Lost Canyon Reading

Legacy of Lost Canyon

Legacy of Lost Canyon is an engaging mystery adventure story that also teaches science and health concepts related to the brain, central nervous system and chemicals in the body.

Thumbnail Image for Brain Chemistry: The Reading Link Worksheets

Brain Chemistry: The Reading Link

Collection of ready-to-use reading and language arts activities directly related to the book, Legacy of Lost Canyon, both of which are integrated components of the Brain Chemistry unit.

Thumbnail Image for Brain Chemistry Explorations Reading

Brain Chemistry Explorations

Magazine containing articles and activities on topics including plants which stimulate or depress certain aspects of the nervous system, the structure of the brain, neurons and the nervous system, and more.

Nature News Stories

BioEd Online is pleased to provide current biology and life sciences news stories from Nature News, the science syndication arm of the premier international science publisher, the Nature Publishing Group.

Genetic secrets of the healthy elderly unveiled First paralysed person to be 'reanimated' offers neuroscience insights Brain scans reveal how LSD affects consciousness

Related Video and Slide Presentations

Explore BioEd Online’s library of video and slides related to the brain and neuroscience. All are free for classroom use.

Thumbnail Image for Adult Neurogenesis

Adult Neurogenesis

The long-standing dogma that the brain of adult mammals is incapable of producing new neurons has been overturned. Explore the recent research and implications of this discovery.

Video Digital Slide Set
Thumbnail Image for New Hope for Fading Memories: Alzheimer's Disease

New Hope for Fading Memories

It is estimated that Alzheimer's affects as many as five million Americans, and 26 million people worldwide. Learn about its causes and symptoms, and work being done to better understand and combat this terrible disease.

Video Digital Slide Set
Thumbnail Image for New Insights into Autism (Part 1) Video

New Insights Into Autism: Part I

Learn about the causes, prevalence, impacts and treatment of autism in this research presentation from Baylor College of Medicine.

Thumbnail Image for New Insights into Autism (Part 2) Video

New Insights Into Autism: Part II

Explanation of the traits and diagnosis of autism, and current research being conducted to learn more about this disorder.

Thumbnail Image for Rett Syndrome, The Continued Search for Answers Video

Rett Syndrome: The Continued Search for Answers

Learn about the neurological disease known as Rett Syndrome, including the causes, symptoms, treatments and current research in the field.

Thumbnail Image for Sleep and Human Performance

Sleep and Human Performance

When sleep is disturbed or of inadequate duration, we become less alert and attentive, and generally perform at a lower level. Learn about studies being conducted to understand these problems for astronauts.

Video Digital Slide Set
Thumbnail Image for Sleep and Daily Rhythms Video

Sleep and Daily Rhythms

The body’s “internal clock” and sleep patterns are strongly impacted by the spaceflight and microgravity. What can be done to counteract these impacts?

Thumbnail Image for The Importance of Sleep Video

The Importance of Sleep

Daniel G. Glaze, MD, discusses the significance of sleep in our daily lives; and the causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention of common sleep disorders; particularly among children and teens.

Related Content

  • Brain Comparisons

    Brain Comparisons Teacher Guide

    Students learn the brain has three main parts, the skull provides protection for the brain, brains differ in size and shape among animals, and more. (6 activities)

  • Memory and Learning

    Memory and Learning Teacher Guide

    The Memory and Learning Teacher's Guide, lets students discover how their brains store and retrieve information, and subsequently, how to be more effective learners. (7 activities)