Using the Developing Brain Video in Your Classroom

Consider using some of the ideas below to incorporate the Science 360: The Developing Brain video into your classroom.

Elementary School

  • Use this video in health class while teaching students about the dangers of alcohol use and abuse, or in science class while talking about human body systems.
  • Teach the key vocabulary to your students before viewing the video. Consider using simple graphic organizers like this one to help students visualize and better remember the words.
  • Before viewing, start a K-W-L chart with your class. Students may complete individual K-W-L charts, or you may do this as a class activity on butcher paper. First, have students brainstorm a list of what they already know about the human brain, human development, or alcohol’s effects on the brain. Then, have the students complete the middle section of the chart with things that they would like to know about the topic (or questions they may have). Watch the video with your class, pausing after each section to fill in the last column of the chart with things that the students learned from the video.
  • After viewing the video, consider using some of the following discussion questions to extend student learning:
    • If a student your age had FAS, what problems might that person have in school? How could we help that student to be more successful?
    • What other birth defects have you heard of? How do they relate to the video that we saw?
    • How are the scientists using mice to help them understand diseases like FAS? Why are mice good models to use for studies like this? Note: Students may have strong opinions about animal research. This video may provide a good springboard for informed discussion of this issue.
  • Other possible extension activities include:
    • Have students create a skit, pamphlet, or poster that could educate the public about the causes and symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. 
    • Have students create posters or contribute to a class mural that visually depicts the stages of human fetal development and describes the major developmental processes happening at each stage.
    • Create a “scavenger hunt” or class demonstration to help students conceptualize fetal development by finding or observing objects that represent the size of the embryo or fetus at each week of development. For example, students may use common objects like paper clips, coins, or pieces of candy to represent the size of the embryo or fetus at different points in pregnancy.

 

Middle School

  • Use this video in health class while teaching students about human reproductive health or alcohol use and abuse, or in science class for units on human body systems or human reproduction and development.
  • Teach the key vocabulary to students before viewing the video. Consider using a higher-level graphic organizer like this one to have students develop their own definitions for the vocabulary through encounters with the words in context.
  • Before viewing the video, have students evaluate their background knowledge on the topics presented by responding to a “Fact or Myth?” sheet in small groups. Discuss the student responses, but do not tell them if they are right or wrong. Watch the video with the students, pausing after each section to address any student questions. After the video, have students return to their groups to analyze or correct their earlier answers and correct the “myth” statements.
  • Students may have strong opinions regarding animal research. This video could serve as a springboard for informed discussion of the issue.
  • Possible extension activities at the middle-school level include:
    • Have students create a skit, pamphlet, or poster that could educate the public about the causes and symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. 
    • Have students complete additional research on human fetal development and create a foldable detailing its major stages. Student samples of different foldable types are available here.
    • For a creative writing tie-in, have students write a poem or short story centering on a character who has FAS. Require the students to include at least three mental or physical characteristics of FAS that they learned about in the video.

 

High School

  • Use this video in health class while teaching students about alcohol use or abuse, or in a high school biology course when discussing human body systems or human development.
  • Most high school students should have been exposed to the key vocabulary in lower grades, but consider completing a Knowledge Ranking Scale sheet as a class to assess the students’ background knowledge and to ensure that all students are familiar with the vocabulary.
  • High school students may also complete the “Fact or Myth?” sheet in groups (for a full description of how to use this sheet, see the Middle School section). Alternatively, high school students may be assigned a more open-ended writing task to go along with viewing the video. For example, students may be asked to self-evaluate their background knowledge of the video topics before viewing, and to free-write about their reactions to the video, including what they learned from it, after viewing.
  • After viewing the video, higher-level discussions may be held centering on the issues and questions raised by the video. Possible discussion topics include:
    • Given the mental barriers encountered by students with FAS, what modifications, if any, should schools provide for these students?
    • What societal factors may be influencing a pregnant woman’s decision to drink? What are appropriate responses to these factors?
    • The Developing Brain explains why mice and other animals are used in scientific research to model human diseases and condition, but there are many people who oppose such research. The controversy surrounding animal research could be an engaging topic for a class discussion or structured debate.
  • Consider expanding students’ experience with this video by providing assignments that extend the topics presented here. Options may include:
    • Have students choose another disease or condition that has a connection to the brain (such as ADHD, Down Syndrome, epilepsy, etc.) and research its causes and symptoms as well as how scientists are studying the condition.
    • Have students write a persuasive position paper focusing on one of the issues discussed in class.
    • Have students design and carry out their own research study relating to alcohol use among teens.

 

Back to the Main Page

Science 360

Seasonal schedules

MPSC offers seasonal schedules of Science 360 shows to the public. Follow this link to see the current schedule of public shows at MPSC.

Please note that seasonal schedules change four times each year (spring, summer, fall and holiday), and some shows are not offered during every schedule.

School shows

In addition to its public shows, MPSC offers shows during the week especially for school classes and other field trip groups. These school shows do not appear on the seasonal schedule but do appear on MPSC's daily calendar.

If seats are available, the public may purchase tickets to school shows.

However, school groups with reserved seating have first priority on any remaining seats (for example, if extra chaperons attend), so MPSC cannot guarantee that public seats will be available for school shows.