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Brain Power: Grades 4-5

Procedure/Discussion Questions


  1. Begin the mission by asking the students what they know about the brain. Do they know the names of any of its parts? Do they know what the different parts do? Write down their ideas on a sheet of newsprint. It might be helpful to create a chart for this information. The chart can hang on the wall in the classroom.
  2. Project the transparency of the brain. Go over each part and describe its function. After discussing all the parts, ask the students to think of examples of different activities that each part controls. For example, they may say that the cerebral cortex enables them to play card games, and the cerebellum is involved in their ability to play soccer.
  3. To make sure the students know the parts of the brain, pass out the Brain Instruction Sheets and Brain Fact Sheets from the guide. After splitting the class into pairs, ask the students to label each part of the brain and jot down some activities for each part. After they have completed the sheet, tell them to keep it for reference during the second part of the activity. The students can practice sharing what they learned by teaching someone else the information (e.g., parent, sibling, or friend).
  4. Tell the students that during the second part of the mission, they will be learning about some different tools available to scientists for studying the brain. For this activity, it would be preferable for them to work in the computer lab, if possible.
  5. Have the students watch the DVD. Stop the DVD at the break.
  6. Divide the students into pairs. Have them visit the following Web site: faculty.washington.edu/chudler/image.html. Give the students a few moments to look at the images on the Web site developed from each brain imaging tool. Using their Brain Instruction Sheets, have them identify the different parts of the brain. They can write their responses on a separate piece of paper. Tell them to make sure to indicate to which image their labels are referring.
  7. Have the students watch the remainder of the DVD. Conclude the lesson by asking them what they think of the different machines used to study the brain. How do they all work together to give scientists a more complete picture of the brain?

Discussion Questions

  1. Tell the students to use the information they learned in the DVD to fill in the following chart. They can watch the part showing the researchers again if they need to.
Simple chart with columns for researcher name, brain part studied, machines used, and drug studied


  1. Discuss the findings with the students. What role do the different tools play in allowing the scientists to study the brain? What do they learn from the images produced from these tools?
  2. Tell the students to keep this chart for further reference. They may need it when they start studying different drugs and how they affect the brain.


This page was last updated September 2012

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NIDA. (2012, September 1). Brain Power: Grades 4-5. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/brain-power/brain-power-grades-4-5

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