Introduction  

The brain works like a computer that answers questions and sends messages all over the body.  

It has the appearance of a wrinkled walnut shell. An adult brain weighs between two and three pounds. It is very fragile and soft and therefore, needs protection. This protection is provided by the skull which is a very hard bone. 

The brain contains nerves which are like little telephone lines that send messages all over the body. Some of these messages go to other parts of the body through the spinal cord. Messages from the brain move very quickly through the body. 

The brain keeps the heart beating and the lungs breathing. It enables the body to move. It facilitates thinking and remembering. 

 

Recognizing and Remembering   (Science/Social Studies Connection)  

Objective: to recognize that the brain helps a person to recognize and remember 
Materials: cloth or paper bag with familiar objects 
Procedures: 
Student Information:
1.  Put a group of different objects in a bag. These should be items that are familiar to the students.  

2.  Have students volunteer to identify the items using only the sense of touch.  

3.  Explain to the students that the senses send signals to the brain for interpretation and storage.  

4.  Hold up one of the objects. Ask a student to identify the object.  

5.  Lead the discussion of how the sense of sight sends a message to the brain. Further discuss that information obtained previously is stored in the brain helps a person to recognize and recall the name for the object being identified. 

Assessment: Each student should use two different sense organs to name two separate objects and explain how the sense organs rely on the brain for aid in recognition.
 

Brain Control    (Science/Social Studies Connection)  

Objective: to state that different activities are controlled by different parts of the brain. 
Materials: 
Student Information:
  • a large "cutout" representation of the brain with six different colored circles with the following labels: 
    • red - hearing
    • yellow - seeing
    • blue - taste and smell
    • green - speaking
    • orange - thinking
    • purple - feeling
  • small cards
  • container for cards

  • Procedures: 1.  Display the large "cutout" representation of the brain.   

    2.  Provide students with small cards. Have each student write the name of a pleasurable activity.  

    3.  Deposit cards in a container.  

    4.  Let students take turns drawing a card and attaching to the correct circle on the brain "cutout." 

    Assessment: Remove the brain "cutout" from view of students. Provide students with a list of the six areas. Each student should individually name one activity for each category.  
      

    Your Strong Sense of Smell (Science/Social Studies Connection)  

    Objectives:
  • to state that the sense of smell is controlled by the brain
  • to use the sense of smell to identify familiar items

  • Student Information: Humans are able to recognize smells because of receptor cells located at the back of the nose. As the air passes by the receptors, they send messages to the brain to help identify the smell. Scientists think that we can identify about 3,000 smells. 
    Materials: 
  • samples of various substances with distinctive smells

  • (Some suggestions are lemon, peanut butter, vinegar, peppermint, chocolate, baby powder, cheese, and alcohol.) 
  • recording sheet with four columns for recording the following information. 
    • container number
    • smells like
    • easy to recognize
    • hard to recognize
    Procedures: 
     
    1.  Place a small amount of each substance in a separate container. Number each of the containers and keep a list of the substance and the number of its container. 

    2.  Place each container at separate stations throughout the room.  

    3.  Divide the class into pairs. Provide each pair of students with a recording sheet for their answers.  

    4.  Have one of the partners wear a blindfold. The other partner acts as the "helper" and leads the blindfolded "detective" to a smell station. The "helper" uncovers the container and allows the "detective" to smell. The "detective" then attempts to identify the substance by smell only. The "helpers" record the "detective's" guess and whether it was hard or easy for the "detective" to identify. When a pair of students reaches the halfway point in the investigation, have them switch roles. 

    5. When the activity is completed, check the lists with the students and ask for their responses. 

    Assessment: Students respond orally to the following questions. 
    • Why were the "detectives" blindfolded?
    • Which things were easiest to identify?
    • Which things were hardest to identify?
    • Did some people recognize more substances than others?
    • Why do you think some people were better able to recognize more substances?

    • How might a cold interfere with your ability to recognize smells?
      

    Smell Is Stronger than Taste (Science/Language Arts Connection)  

    Objective: to recognize that some senses which are controlled by the brain are stronger than others 
    Materials: 
  • Jello in several flavors
  • blindfold

  • Procedures: 
    Student Information:
    1.  Blindfold a student. 

    2.  Have the student smell one flavor of the Jello while tasting another flavor. Let the student guess which flavor is being tasted.  

    Most often students will name the flavor smelled. 

    Assessment: Students will recognize that some senses are more powerful than others. They will make a journal entry explaining the procedure from the activity and the results. 
      

    Conscious vs. Unconscious  (Science/Social Studies/Language Arts/Art) 

    Objectives:
  • to recognize that the brain controls both conscious and unconscious activities 
  • to differentiate between the two types of activities 

  • Student Information: Establish the idea that as babies we were able to do certain things without being taught. As we grown older, we learn many behaviors. Discuss actions that are automatic and those that are learned or conscious.  
    Materials: 
  • cards
  • markers
  • crayons

  • Procedures: 
     
    1.  Have students work together to make a set of flashcards for conscious and unconscious activities. On one side of the card, have students draw a picture of the activity and write a complete sentence telling about the activity. The other side of the card should remain blank.  

    2.  Divide the class in teams of four or five students. A student from each team chooses a card and acts out the activity while other members in the group try to guess the activity. 

    Assessment: The students will read the following selection and identify the conscious and unconscious activities.  

    Directions for students - Underline the conscious activities with a red crayon. Underline the unconscious activities with a blue crayon.  

    Dan walked through the house. He picked up some books that were on the living room floor and replaced them on the bookshelves. He opened the curtains and as the bright sun shone through the window, he blinked his eyes. He turned and walked into the kitchen. 

    Dan immediately began to sneeze. His eyes began to water. He knew that mother must be making spaghetti for dinner. He quickly left the room. 

     

    The Brain:  Keeping You Safe   

    (Science/Health and Safety/Social Studies/Language Arts/Art Connection)  
     
    Objective: to recognize ways in which our brain helps to keep us safe 
    Student Information: Students have identified conscious and unconscious activities in previous lessons. Using this knowledge, students will draw from their own past experiences to recognize ways in which the brain has helped keep them safe. 
    Procedures:  1.  Instruct students to think of a situation in their past where they were in danger. This could include an accident or a "near accident."  

    2.  Using the writing process, students will develop a finished product to tell about this incident. This should be in booklet form and include illustrations. 

    Assessment: The finished product will be assessed on the following points. 
    • correct capitalization, punctuation, and spelling
    • ideas expressed in sentence form
    • ideas organized effectively
    • addresses the part the brain played in the event
    • references to good health and safety practices

    • addresses the role of others or surrounding circumstances in the event
      

    Your Problem-Solving Brain   (Science/Social Studies/Language Arts) 

    Objective: to recognize that the brain enables us to think creatively and solve problems 
    Student Information: Students need to be encouraged to think creatively and solve problems relevant to situations that they encounter. They need to recognize the fact that we operate from a "knowledge base" and that no one person has all of the answers to problems that arise. Provide examples of how adults must solve problems creatively based on their past experiences. Allow children to brainstorm and share personal experiences where they have been forced to solve problems creatively. Promote discussion of other possible solutions and how choices effected the end result. 
    Procedures:  Each student identifies a scenario which calls for a creative solution. Options for their choices may come from 
    • teacher list
    • personal experiences or experiences of others
    • events in the news
    • events from a story
    • "creative" ideas
    Students write scenario on a chart or paper. Divide the class in two or more groups. Students take turns presenting their scenario and the group offers possible solutions to the conflict. Each idea should be considered in terms of practicality and effectiveness. As a group, students select the best choices. They must state why or why not a solution is acceptable.  

    Individual groups present their problems to the class.  

    Assessment: Students are presented with the following situation or one selected by the teacher. They must independently solve the problem using the considerations addressed in the activity.  

    Mrs. Smith's second grade class is planning a party to celebrate the completion of their unit on the human body. Students must decide on the theme for the party. One group suggested a "Tasting Party" since the sense of taste was addressed in the unit. Another group wants to have use "Dem Bones" as the theme. A third group wants to focus on "Healthy Eating." Come up with a creative solution to this conflict. Remember that you need to something to make everyone happy.  

    Assess on the following : 

    • chooses an appropriate solution to a problem
    • follows instructions
    • communicates effectively using correct capitalization, punctuation, and spelling
    • expresses ideas in sentence form

    • organizes ideas for effective communication
      
    Remember to add the brain to your paper bodies!
     
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    This integrated instructional unit was designed by teachers of the:
     
    Henry County School System
    396 Tomlinson Street
    McDonough, Georgia 30253
    USA
    Telephone:  770/957-6601

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     Updated 4/19/98