K-1: The Senses
What Do You Know About the Brain?
Bring out the brain model (water-filled balloon) and have a student assistant hold it in his or her hands. Use the “Brain Facts” (below) to expand upon students’ earlier comments, and discuss the following questions.
- Did you know that the average adult human brain weighs about 1.45 kg? (3 lbs)? That is about the same weight as this balloon filled with water. (Allow students to feel the weight.)
- Did you know that the brain is about the consistency of cooked oatmeal, butter, or shortening at room temperature? (Allow students to touch the oatmeal.)
- So, is the brain strong or fragile? Heavy or light?
- The brain is the command center of the body.
- The average adult human brain weighs about 1.45 kg (3 lbs).
- The brain is about 80% water.
- The brain contains about 100 billion neurons (main kind of cell in the nervous system). This number is comparable to the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy.
- We each use 100% of our brains, not just 10%.
- Some people refer to the brain as “gray matter.”
- If you look at the brain from the outside, it looks like a mass of grayish-pink wrinkles.
- The brain is divided into left and right halves, or hemispheres, connected by a wide, flat band of neural fibers called the corpus callosum.
- The two sides of the brain work together. It is a myth that a person can be “right-brained” or “left-brained.” While certain functions tend to be concentrated on one side or the other, individuals don’t have a “stronger” left or right brain network.
- The brain represents just 2% of the body’s weight, but uses about 20% of the energy taken in as food.
Ask, Why do you think it is important to learn about the brain? Help students understand that the brain is the control center of the body, responsible for thinking, feelings and movements. It must be protected and cared for.
- Tharp, B., Vu, M., Mock, D., Burnett, C., and Moreno, N. (2015). K-1: The Senses Teacher’s Guide. Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. ISBN: 978-1-888997-87-3.
- Photo © Soultana Pappas. Licensed for use.
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Funded by the following grant(s)
National Institutes of Health: Blueprint for Neuroscience Education, National Institute on Drug Abuse and Science Education Partnership Award program, Office of the Director, Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives, Office of Research Infrastructure Programs.
The Learning Brain: Interactive Inquiry for Teachers and Students
Grant Number: RD25DA033006