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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Our Fun Brain Awareness Week

The Dana Foundation and BrainSMART helped my class celebrate Brain Awareness Week (BAW).  They provided cool pamphlets, brain erasers, and BAW pencils to add to our BAW fun!  We want to say THANK YOU!

Activities
We had a fun week learning more about how our brain works.  Early in the week we went over the senses of our body brain system.   Students experimented to see what it would be like to have to rely only on their sense of hearing.   They were amazed at what they could hear when focused.  Next we tried to plug our ears and close our eyes to ‘feel’ a loud sound.  Some enthusiastic students even tried plugging their nose while eating to see what happened to their sense of taste.  We read about Helen Keller to illustrate how the brain ‘reroutes’ information to make up for a loss of sight and/or hearing.

Students could not get enough of the optical illusions provided by Pro Teacher at: http://www.proteacher.com/redirect.php?goto=3621.  The kids were fascinated to see how the brain could interpret the same visual information differently.

Students saw pictures of brain scans to learn how different parts of the brain light up for different tasks and why.  We talked about bizarre examples of what can happen when the brain is damaged.  This led into a discussion about the importance of protecting the brain and wearing a helmet.

Protecting the Brain
To illustrate the point, on Friday we held an egg drop.  Student had two days to create protective ‘helmets’ for their eggs.  Friday morning dawned cool and windy.  Students were anxious to try out their creations.  With a supportive audience of parents, we dropped the eggs from about 10 feet.  Of 18 eggs, only about 5 broke.  Then we dropped an egg with no helmet.  That egg made a resounding SPLAT to a chorus of student cheers!  The kids got the point about helmets.  Students ended the day blogging about their egg drop at http://kidblog.org/mrsdahlsclass4. Stop by and leave a comment!

Why it is Important
Our brains are amazing.  It is our very own command center!  Learning how our command center works enables us to use it more efficiently.  Protecting our command center is equally important. Be sure to share these important lessons with your students.  For more information, visit The Dana Foundation.  Visit BrainSMART to earn your masters degree in Brain Based Teaching.

3 comments:

  1. More people out there should see this. I'll do my best to send it out. I love RTing things which inspire, educate, enliven, give hope, encourage us to believe in the present and the future. You and your 2nd grade class are providing all of this. Your work deserves to be seen, heard, and taken into consideration.
    Thank you for what you are doing.
    Wayne

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  2. Hi Diane,
    I'm glad we're now following each other on Twitter. I read your blog, and it's terrific. You provide an incredible amount of useful information. I share your passion for brain-based teaching strategies, and I look forward to visiting your blog regularly.
    I'm an NBC third grade teacher in Santa Monica, CA, and I write resource books for educators and the Chase Manning Mystery Series for kids 8-12. On my website, http://stevereifman.com, I provide free weekly Teaching Tips, and I just started blogging.
    Keep up the great work.

    Best,
    Steve

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