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Brain Power: Grades K-1

Procedures/Discussion Questions


  1. Begin the lesson by telling students that they will be learning about the brain and what it does, then show the class a small clip from the videotape that highlights Corty. Have students watch while Corty introduces himself and explains a little about the functions of the brain. Make a class list of these different functions.
  2. When the video is finished, split the class into small groups. Each group will complete a body outline to work with throughout the lesson. Then, take a large piece of paper and lay it on the floor. Have one child from each group lay on a piece of paper while either parent volunteers, instructional assistants, or the other children begin making outlines of the students by tracing the body.
  3. When the groups have completed their body outlines, pass out the outlines of the brain. Tell them to cut it out and color it in. Then, have them put the brain outlines aside until their body outlines have been done. Students can begin looking through magazines for pictures illustrating the brain’s different activities.
  4. When all the body outlines have been done and decorated, and all the brain outlines cut out, work with the other adults to tape the outlines around the room. Then, ask the students where they should put the outline of the brain. Most will know to put it in the head of the body outlines. Tell them to tape the brain outline where it belongs.
  5. Have a brief discussion with students about what the brain does. Remind students that the brain is responsible for many activities, including thinking, talking, running, jumping, breathing, digesting food, and experiencing emotions. Give students a few minutes to look for pictures in magazines illustrating these different activities.
  6. After the groups have found several pictures, have the students cut them out and paste them on their body outlines. Students can then draw a line from their brain to the picture, indicating that the brain plays a role in the activity shown.
  7. Show students the pictures of the different faces illustrating different emotions, which are found on the Limbic System Trading Card. Ask students what these pictures tell them. Help students recognize that the images show emotions, which the brain is also in charge of.
  8. On a separate piece of paper, ask the students to draw a face showing how they feel right now. Have them paste the face onto their body outlines. Tell students that every day, they will have a few minutes to look at their face and either keep it or change it to reflect their feelings that day. In this way, students will come to see that emotions change all the time and are an important element of who we are as individuals. Keep the body outlines for the Module 5 activity.
  9. The students have just completed the third mission of the NIDA Brain Power! Program.

Discussion Questions

  1. Ask students to name the most surprising thing they learned about the brain during the lesson. Did most students name the same thing or was there a wide range of ideas? Overall, were students surprised about everything the brain can do?
  2. Discuss with students what happens each day to cause their emotions to change. For example, if they have candy in their lunchboxes, they will probably be happy. But if a friend ignores them at recess, they will probably feel sad. Make a list of the different emotions students experience each day. How many emotions were on the list? Were students surprised at the number?
  3. Focus on the senses of taste and smell. Ask students why they are important. Discuss how they work together to give us important information.

This page was last updated September 2009

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NIDA. (2009, September 1). Brain Power: Grades K-1. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/brain-power/brain-power-grades-k-1

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Brain Power Video Modules: Grades K-1

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