Teacher's Guide for ODYSSEYTM Brain Matters

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"A Computer in Your Head?", pg. 6
"Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, How Do Your Dendrites Grow?", " pg. 8
"'Rewiring' the Brain," pg. 12
"Brain Trip" (Brain Strain), pg. 15
"Why We Remember . . . and Forget," pg. 16
"Brainy Experiments," pg. 21
"Violence!", pg. 24
"Pay Attention! Facts About Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder," pg. 28
"Beware of 'Brain Attacks'," pg. 31
"No-Brainers," pg. 34
"Mental Math and Mozart," pg. 38
"What's Up? (Planet Watch and Backyard Observations)," pg. 42
Think Tank (Discussion Starters to Use Before Reading the Magazine):
  1. Through discussion, compile a class list of what students want to know about the human brain. After reading the issue, look for answers to questions that remain unresolved.
  2. Science has long struggled with the debate over "nature versus nurture." Ask students to list human personality traits and emotions. Which of these traits, in their opinion, arise from the biology or chemistry of the brain? Which develop from how a person is raised or the experiences of that person's life? Discuss how biology (nature) and experience (nurture) affect both behavior and attitudes.
Classroom "Syzygy":     Talk, Connect, Assess
Pg. 10 - "TA Computer in Your Head?" pg. 24 - "Violence!"
Far Out!: Moving Beyond the Magazine

"Rudy, Rudy, neurological cutie,"

Whole-Class Project: Build an exhibit titled "The Living Brain" for your school. Break the class into teams charged with researching and depicting the structure and function of particular brain regions. Decide what text and visuals to put into your exhibit. Challenge each team to create a quiz or puzzle to accompany their part.

"How do your dendrites grow?"

Community Connection: Contact someone who works in a brain-injury rehabilitation facility to speak with the class. Ask your visitor to discuss brain trauma and safety issues and to tell stories of successful rehabilitations.

"Well, I think . . . oh, me . . . maybe I . . . gee. . . "

Small-Group Presentations: Break the class into groups of 3 or 4. Ask each group to find puzzles or activities like those in "Brainy Experiments" on pg. 21. Have groups organize activities for the class. After performing them, talk about the brain functions involved.

"I guess that I really don't know!"

Whole-Class Experiment: Research mnemonic (memory-enhancing) strategies. Conduct a series of memory experiments that yield individual scores and compute the class average. Practice the mnemonics and try the experiments again. Do individual scores improve? Does the class average rise? Make effective mnemonics part of the class routine.
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