As part of this lesson, you will read a book called Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life by Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang. This book covers some of the fascinating things scientists have learned about the brain over the last 20 years, introducing readers to what happens "behind the scenes" and how the brain helps us survive; how the senses work; and how the brain changes from birth to old age. It also examines the brain's emotional systems, our reasoning abilities, and altered states of the brain.
Begin the lesson by listening to A Guided Tour of Your Brain, an interview with the authors in which they talk about how they came to write the book together and some of the myths about the brain that they wanted to debunk.
After listening to the interview, go to and read Six Myths About the Brain and be prepared to discuss the myths in class.
Before you read Welcome to Your Brain, it might be helpful to find out more about the brain and the human nervous system. To do so, visit the Neuroscience for Kids page. Go to the "Explore" section of the website, and read about the divisions of the nervous system.
As you are reading this page, use the Divisions of the Nervous System student sheet to write down the definitions of the following terms: central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, somatic nervous system, and autonomic nervous system.
Then choose three of the nine brain structures described on the page and write down, in your own words, where the structures are found in the brain and what their functions are.
After you have finished reading Welcome to Your Brain, your teacher will ask you to write a brief essay on one of these topics:
- How do the findings of current brain research debunk myths about the brain?
- What are some of the ways that human brains differ from other animal brains?
- What are some ways that our brains perceive the world around us through our senses?
- What are some ways that you can improve the way your brain functions?
If you find yourself interested in this topic, you can find out more about the book and authors Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang by visiting their Welcome to Your Brain site. Included on the website are video and audio interviews with the authors, their blog, the latest news in neuroscience, and even a rap about synaptic transmission.
Also an excellent resource for learning more about the brain and nervous system can be found on the Neuroscience for Kids website.
This esheet is a part of the Welcome to Your Brain lesson.