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Lesson plan: How the brain works

December 5, 2000
Web posted at: 1:36 PM EST (1836 GMT)

Editor's note: If you are planning to use the news article that this lesson plan is based on for a homework assignment, please write the URL on the board and have your students copy it. updates the site in the early evening, so students may have difficulty finding it without the URL. You can find the lesson plan by going to the Subject Areas page and clicking PREVIOUS in the square for Today's Lesson Plan.


Students will be able to:

  • Identify the functions of the cerebellum, cerebrum and brain stem.
  • Create a game that uses the primary functions for each of the brain's lobes -- frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital.


National Science Education Standards
Science and Technology, Content Standard E, grades nine-12

High school students should know that science often advances with the introduction of new technologies. Solving technological problems may result in new scientific knowledge. New technologies can extend the current levels of scientific understanding and introduce new areas of research.

Suggested time

One class period

Materials article, "Brainpower"
Internet access
Cards, poster board, markers, dice and spinners

Please send questions you'd like to see asked on "Your Brain," a live webcast on December 7, 2000. E-mail us at:
Please tell us what you think of the "Your Brain" lesson materials and the webcast. E-mail us at:


1. Ask students: How do you think your brain works?

2. Have the students read the article "Brainpower." Then ask:

  • What are the three major parts of your brain? What is the function of the cerebrum? The cerebellum? The brain stem?
  • What are the four lobes of the brain? What is the function of the parietal lobe? The occipital lobe? The temporal lobe? At what age do doctors generally agree the brain stops growing?
  • What are some ways that drugs damage the brain? Is the damage permanent? Explain your answer.

3. Divide the class into four groups. Assign each group one of the four lobes of the brain. Direct the groups to create a game that uses the primary function of the assigned lobe. Encourage students to be innovative and creative. As part of the assignment, ask them to include rules of their game and how to win.

4. Have the groups swap games and play each other's games.


Have each student write a brief review of their favorite game and include why they liked it the best. Also ask them to include how they would improve the game.


Visual/spatial: Students can draw and label the cerebellum, cerebrum, brain stem and four lobes of the brain. Direct students to include the primary function of each lobe.


Verbal/linguistic: Students can write monologues imagining the perspective of a brain on drugs. Direct students to be specific about how drugs can cause deterioration.

How diseases affect the brain
Brain function: Cerebellum and brain stem

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