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Brain Power: Grades 2-3

Procedures/Discussion Questions


  1. Show the class the introductory segment of the DVD or read the story on page 1-16 of this guide. Make sure the students understand their mission.
  2. Divide the class into five groups of about five or six students. Give each group a bag of goo. Remind the groups of their mission - to figure out what the goo is made of.
  3. Tell the groups to observe the contents of the bags. Ask them to consider the following questions:
    • What does the goo look like?
    • What does it smell like?
    • What does it feel like?
    • Can you roll it into a ball? Does it break apart?
  4. After the groups have thoroughly observed the goo, have them record their observations on the log sheet.
  5. Have each group make a prediction of what they think the goo is made of. Have students write their predictions on the log sheet.
  6. Point out the ingredients on the table. Using their observations as a guide, have the groups select ingredients that they think they need to make a fresh batch of goo. If the two goos match, the students will have succeeded in uncovering the identity of the mystery material.
    Make sure you put each batch of goo in a plastic bag with a seal. If not, the water may evaporate, and the goo will dry out.

The biggest decision students have to make is which solid to use. There are equal measurements of three different solids - cornstarch, sugar, and talc - laid out on the table, as well as containers of water. If they pick the wrong solid, they will have to throw the mixture away and prepare another one using water and a second solid.

  1. Let students work independently as much as possible. After they have completed the investigation, have them record what ingredients they think are in the goo. Make sure they include reasons why they think the goo is made of those ingredients.
  2. Have each group present its findings to the class. Each presentation should include the evidence students have that supports their conclusions.

These presentations do not have to include any written materials, and they can be very short. The idea is for the children to try to articulate what they learned and begin to give reasons for their thinking.

  1. The mission is now accomplished!

Discussion Questions

  1. Discuss with the students what information about the mystery goo they got from their senses.
  2. Ask students what they think happens to the information their senses gather. Where does it go? Help students understand that the information is processed in the brain, the control center for our bodies.
  3. Ask students what they know about the brain. Record their responses on a piece of newsprint. You may want to revisit their ideas later in the program.
  4. Start a class list about the functions of the brain. Plan to add to this list in subsequent modules.

This page was last updated September 2012

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NIDA. (2012, September 1). Brain Power: Grades 2-3. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/brain-power/brain-power-grades-2-3

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Brain Power Video Modules: Grades 2-3

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