Physics, chemistry, biology, and psychology are far older fields than neuroscience. As such, there are established techniques of how to teach these subjects. Neuroscience is still a young science, and we are experimenting with the best ways to teach it. Below are several lesson plans that we have found to be effective:
The first biologists relied on dissections to learn the anatomy and function of different parts of the body. These are our dissections lesson plans, which are always popular.
Sensation and Perception
One of the most powerful ways to explain neuroscience is through exercises involving perception. The brain is built to process sensory information, and by exposing our students to perceptual tasks that we use in the lab, we are able to give first hand insight into the math and science that guides that process.
- Somatosensation (touch)
- Chemoreception (smell)
- Chemoreception (taste)
- Auditory Perception (Music)
- Vestibular system (balance)
Possibly the most important goal of neuroscience is to understand how the brain can remember what has happened to it. We have built an extensive lesson to teach how neuroscientists approach memory research
Programming is useful to neuroscience for two reason: 1) The brain has aspects that act like a computer, and learning the concepts and language of computer science gives us an understanding of these aspects, and 2) Programming gives us an incredible tool for attacking certain problems within neuroscience (e.g., neural networks).
Intro to Programming 1
Intro to Programming 2
One of the things that the brain evolved to do was to deal with other minds. One method that neuroscientists use to measure this ability is game theory. In this lesson, we teach students the basics of game theory by having them do archetypical tasks in the field.
Sometimes we go off script. Sometimes what we do has no clean scientific category. Sometimes math and measurements fail, and we have to learn using art and philosophy. These are the lessons that fit into no other category.
- Harry Potter and the Scientific Method – This lesson is an effort to show students how the scientific method works by asking them to apply it in a world that has magic. We show students video clips from the Harry Potter movies, and get them to design scientific experiments on magical items.
- Linguistics – Language is central to what it means to be human. Here, we have designed a lesson that shows students how linguists study language, and how our brains are able to create and process language.