Thursday, October 4, 2012

Learning About the Brain 2

As promised, here are the activities that go along with my most recent post about the Brain. Some of these worked great with a larger group so we got to do them in class. However, in the interest of simplicity and saving my sanity (ha!) I tucked away some really great, more involved activities for our homeschool classroom.

Brain Games
I split the kids into 2 teams for this series of activities. On each turn, each student won a point for their team if they completed the challenge successfully. I used scoring and points to make it more fun but in the end, everyone got candy;^)...which is all that really matters, right??

Stroop test- I used a variety of colored dry-erase markers to write these out on the board. They had to tell me the color ink the word was written in, NOT read the word. For the little ones that couldn't yet read, it was a cinch. For the older kids, not so much, and I definitely saw some very funny brain twitching going on. 

Memory game- I read out a series of 5-10 words and had them (as a team) recall them back to me. They only had one shot to listen to and repeat the list back to me, after all, it's a memory test. You can also do this with pictures- show a series of pictures and have them tell you what they saw. For a challenge, require that they be told back to you in order. 

Memory tray game- I put a variety of 7 unrelated objects on a tray and allowed them a few seconds to look over them. They had to tell me what they saw. Since they're so young, I let them pool their memories and counted each right answer. They were great at backing each other up- if one forgot, another remembered. Great teamwork!

Reflexes protect the body automatically by protecting us, getting us away from danger, or preparing us to face it (think: fight or flight).

  • I cut the fluorescent lights in favor of a black light and took turns shining a flashlight into each student's eyes so the other students could see their  classmate's pupils constrict (the muscle is actually relaxing) and dilate (the muscle is actually contracting). I explained that the brain automatically blocks out excess light the eye doesn't need to see to prevent damage to it.
  • I distracted them by having them think about something else while I stepped to the back of the classroom and dropped a full pencil case unexpectedly (this was fun for me- is that bad? Probably.). I then surveyed them to see who:
    1.Twitched or jumped
    2. Moved their heads
    3. Blinked
    4. Put their hands up
    5. Screamed
  • I explained to them briefly what a Braille Cell is and what it's used for. I then had them close their eyes and feel the Braille letter I'd given them to glue to one side of an index-card-sized rectangle of construction paper. To make: The day before, I printed out these Braille letters, dabbed school glue on them, and let them dry overnight. I cut them up into individual Braille Cells to hand out in class once they were dry. 

  • On the other side of the construction paper "card" I had them glue the strips of paper I'd cut out beforehand that contained the symbols we used for the blind spot test. Here are the instructions I gave them for the test:
    1. Extend your left arm all the way out and hold the card.
    2. Cover your right eye while focusing on the plus, which should be on your right side.
    3. Slowly bring the card toward you and KEEP LOOKING AT THE PLUS!!!! You will notice the spot disappear after awhile.
    4. Congratulations, you've found your blind spot!

Here are some activities we didn't get to do in class or that I assigned for Homework:
  • Tactile Maze- Make a maze of dried glue on a sheet of cardboard in the same way you made the Braille dots. Have kids navigate the maze wearing a blindfold or with closed eyes. The pattern shouldn't be too difficult to figure out.
  • Two Images/Two nerves Instructions: 

    1. Make your right hand into a circle and put your open left hand next to it, palm facing outward. 
    2. Keeping your hands together, bring both of them close to your face, so that you are looking through the circle that your right hand makes, with your right eye, like a scope.  Make sure to keep your keep your left eye open! 
    3. What you should see is a hole in your left hand!! Why? Because your brain is getting two different of the hole in the paper and one of your left hand.
  • Ruler Test Instructions Test your reflexes! How fast are you?
    1. Have someone hold a ruler, largest numbers up, while you place your fingers near it, ready to catch it but DON'T TOUCH!
    2. They should drop the ruler at random times to see how fast you can catch it.
    3. Try catching it at least 3 times and write down your time, based on the chart below. Notice how quickly the brain is able to react. Its messages can travel over 200mph!!
    4. Did your reflexes get faster with practice? (If Yes, see how quickly your brain learned? If No, keep trying!)
2 in (~5 cm)
0.10 sec (100 ms)
4 in (~10 cm)
0.14 sec (140 ms)
6 in (~15 cm)
0.17 sec (170 ms)
8 in (~20 cm)
0.20 sec (200 ms)
10 in (~25.5 cm)
0.23 sec (230 ms)
12 in (~30.5 cm)
0.25 sec (250 ms)
17 in (~43 cm)
0.30 sec (300 ms)
24 in (~61 cm)
0.35 sec (350 ms)
31 in (~79 cm)
0.40 sec (400 ms)
39 in (~99 cm)
0.45 sec (450 ms)
48 in (~123 cm)
0.50 sec (500 ms)
69 in (~175 cm)
0.60 sec (600 ms)

Cool Links: 

Note: Although I like to put my own spin on the cool things I find and very often, create my own activities from scratch, not all of the activities above are my own ideas. I created some and some were inspired by, tweaked, or borrowed from the links I've included in this and related posts. Please visit the links I included for sources.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Do you have a comment, question or suggestion to share?