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Brain Chemistry

Author(s): Nancy P. Moreno, PhD, Barbara Z. Tharp, MS, and Tadzia GrandPré, PhD.
Brain Chemistry
  • Grades:
  • 6-8 9-12

Students learn about the brain, neurons, chemical communication in the body, and how our choices can affect brain function and performance. (9 activities)

The Learning Brain's Brain Chemistry Teacher's Guide, is a complete set of science lessons that enable students to explore chemical communication in the brain and nervous system, while building understanding of the powerful effects of drugs in the brain and body. This guide provides the following activities.

  1. The Brain - Which parts of the body govern movement, thinking and the senses?

  2. What Is a Neuron? - How do messages sent from the brain get to the rest of the body?

  3. Neural Network Signals - How are messages sent along neurons?

  4. Neurotransmitters Contain Chemicals - How are signals sent from one neuron to another?

  5. Crossing the Synaptic Gap - Can chemicals change the way signals are sent and received?

  6. Hormones and Stress - What role do hormones play in the body?

  7. Drugs, Risks and the Nervous System - Can risky behaviors be underestimated?

  8. Food for the Brain - What raw materials do the brain and nervous system need to function

  9. Brain Chemistry - What do chemicals, both good and bad, have to do with the nervous system and the brain?

The guide also is designed to be used with integrated components of the Brain Chemistry unit: Legacy of Lost Canyon (storybook), Brain Chemistry: Explorations (student magazine), and Brain Chemistry: The Reading Link (language arts activities related to the storybook).

Lessons in the Brain Chemistry Teacher's Guide are most appropriate for students in grades 6–8, but may be adapted for use with other grade levels.

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Download: Brain Chemistry Teacher's Guide Download: Classroom Slides

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Funded by the following grant(s)

NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research Science Education Award, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and NIH Office of the Director

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

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

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