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The Learning Brain: Neuroscience

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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.

Complete Teacher Guide

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The Learning Brain: Brain Chemistry

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

Classroom SlidesSlide Set

Classroom Slides

Slide set containing information and images from the Brain Chemistry Teacher's Guide, for use in classrooms as needed.

Individual Lessons: Brain Chemistry

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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.

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What is a Neuron?

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

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Neural Network Signals

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

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Neurotransmitters Contain Chemicals

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

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Crossing the Synaptic Gap

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

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Hormones and Stress

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

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Drugs, Risks and the Nervous System

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

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Food for the Brain

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

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Brain Chemistry: Post-assessment

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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
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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
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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?

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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.

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.

For articles on a variety of topics, visit BioEd Online's Nature News library.

Running cures blind mice Sun-seekers court addiction Bees build mental maps to get home Flashes of light show how memories are made Human nose can detect 1 trillion odours Biomarkers could predict Alzheimer's before it starts

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Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH

National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH

The Learning Brain: Interactive Inquiry for Teachers and Students
Grant Number: 5R25DA033006


Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

 Filling the Gaps: K-6 Science/Health Education
Grant Number: 5R25RR013454