Owner’s Manual for My Human Brain

The human brain is transformed in adolescence. In this unit, students will explore what the brain has to teach us about the secrets of staying healthy and happy. Explore the driving question: How might we understand our brain to best use it?

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Recommended Timeframe: 2-3 months

The human brain is transformed in adolescence. During this time between childhood and adulthood, the brain has incredible advantages while also being quite vulnerable. Learners will journey into the brain to discover the science behind why adolescents connect strongly with peers, seek rewards in trying new things, experience intense emotions, and push boundaries in order to find their own sense of self. By also understanding how neurons (the cells of the brain) change shape, grow together, or are pruned back in adolescence, we can better learn how to learn. The brain has a lot to teach us about the secrets of staying healthy and happy. Throughout the unit, learners apply their brainwork to making a positive impact in their community. Navigating adolescence can be tumultuous, but understanding how the brain works can help us better harness its power and get the most out of this time in life.

Key Topics

  • Create an owner’s manual for your own brain 
  • Discover the four powers of the adolescent brain, so you can use them for good.
  • Bust myths and stereotypes about adolescent behavior 
  • Reenact important research studies to see for yourself how the brain works
  • Build your brain power by doing short evidence-based exercises, such as growing your creativity connections, empathy, self-control, emotion regulation, and focus
  • Understand how the brain is remodeled during adolescence, so you can help shape your brain how you want it to be
  • Explore modern and historic social movements driven by adolescents 
  • Model how brain cells form connections and send messages
  • Become a better learner with brain-based learning strategies
  • Keep your brain healthy – topics include sleep, social media, multitasking, and more 
  • Enjoy the benefits art has on the brain by creating artwork about the brain 
  • Explore the fact and fiction of how the brain is portrayed in your favorite movies, books, or video games 
  • Use your expertise on the human brain to do a Community Impact Project