May 16 2015

Class Handouts

Exhibit Handout (will download as a .doc)

Living Systems Handout (will download as a .doc)

Do Plants have Brains? an article by Rob DeSalle

Visual Channels

Senses and Sensitivity - Neural Processing: Making Sense of Sensory Information
Part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) Holiday Lecture Series, Dr. Jeremy Nathan explains more about how we process auditory and visual cues.  (Intended for teachers – may be a bit slow for students).

In depth description of visual processing in the brain

Color Confusion AKA stroop effect

Stroop Test (multilingual) colors versus color words


Altered Reality Activity aka hoop nightmares

Hoop nightmares (Brain plasticity, wear goggles that deflect the visitors vision 30 degrees to one side and have them learn to shoot baskets.)
There are several write-ups out there for the altered reality goggle activity, including the Exploratorium’s “Hoop Nightmares.”  This particular guide from the University of Minnesota’s BrainU focuses on neural plasticity as the central theme.  The site includes teacher and student guides, notes for the teacher, and possible extensions.  And check out the rest of their site for some great inquiry-based neuroscience activities for middle and high school.

Making the Goggles
In today’s activity, we used 3M press-on Fresnel lenses with a 30 degree diopter.  The price of these have increased significantly over the past few years.  (Are you sitting?  $19 per lens.  That means $38 per pair!)  Not doable for most.  You might consider pooling resources to make a set and share them.  You will need to order by phone.  Information can be found here:

Use plastic prisms.  RAFT usually has them pretty cheap.  Check out the Exploratorium’s “Hoop Nightmares” exhibit on the floor, or the snack version for instructions on how to make the goggles using prisms.

You can use magnifying sheets that are sold at stationary stores and do some creative cutting (see description in the handout linked above).  Because these are curves, the effect is a bit off, but they work fairly well.  Make sure that you purchase the thin plastic sheets rather than the thick ones so that they can be cut.

Card Sort Activity
This activity explores the relationship between motor response time and cognitive load using a deck of playing cards. It offers opportunity to explore data analysis and critique experimental design.  The site includes teacher and student guides, teacher notes, and guiding questions for students.

Project Implicit
This research applies the ideas relating cognitive load and motor response time we explored in the card sort activity to take a closer look at our implicit associations about race, gender, sexual orientation, and other topics. This activity requires sensitivity and significant maturity from the students. 

At this page, you are able to select featured tasks OR a random social task will be selected for you.

If you would rather select which task you are assigned, try this link instead:

You can find an explanation of the test design and results here:

Learning and the Brain
This page developed by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Design (ASDC) has some great information on learning backed up with neuroscience.,_Learning,_and_Test-Taking_Success.aspx


After the break and lecture

Brain Zoo
In this activity, students observe external brain anatomy to identify the needs of various animals and identify the types of brains.  Intended for grades 9-12, but can be adapted for middle school.

Sheep Brain Dissection





Sound Uncovered
Find the highest note, a sheppard tone series acoustic illusion.
McGurk Effect, sound versus sight
It Takes two, how two ears combine sounds.

Color Uncovered
Shake My Colors, equiluminant time delay.
See the Blue Square, It's not there
Fade to Green, unchanging blue smear disappears over time.
When is Yellow Yellower than Yellow, adaptation of sensory neurons
Colorize this photo with your eyes, a type of afterimage.




Scientific Explorations by Paul Doherty

© 2015

16 May 2015