Begin the mission by asking students what practices people should adopt to stay healthy. Suggest that students focus on activities they think have something to do with the brain. Look for ideas like the following:
- Eat 3 meals a day. Make sure you eat food from each of the food groups at every meal.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes each day.
- Get 9-10 hours of sleep each night.
- Always wear a helmet when you ride your bike or scooter. When you go roller-blading, wear knee pads and wrist pads, along with a helmet.
- Never smoke cigarettes.
Make sure the class list includes the items above. Other items students may mention that are important but have less to do with the brain include the following:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Take a shower or bath at least 3 days a week.
- Show the students the Module 4 video. Have them watch while Corty explains the ways to keep your brain healthy.
- Make a class chart of healthy habits like the sample shown at the back of this Teacher’s Guide. The sheet includes such items as eating three meals a day, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep each night, and getting some exercise each day. Each day over the course of a week, ask students how many engaged in healthy activities. Make tally marks in each category. Encourage students to notice trends in behavior. For example, did more students get enough sleep at the end of the week than at the beginning? Were more students eating healthy foods?
- At the end of the week, make graphs in the following categories: Diet, Sleep, Exercise, and Safety. On the vertical axis, list the number of students. On the horizontal axis, list Day 1, Day 2, through to Day 7. Make a graph in each category of the number of students who engaged in healthy activities. What conclusions can students draw from the results shown on the graph?
- Congratulate the students. They have completed the fourth mission of the NIDA Brain Power! Program.
- What trends did students observe by the end of the week? Were students engaging in more healthy activities in every category? Almost every category? In what areas did students improve the most? In what areas do students still need to work to develop more healthy habits?
- Discuss how engaging in healthy habits specifically helps the brain. For example, how does good nutrition help the brain? What about sleep and exercise?