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Brain Research Applied to Learning March 12, 2004 Presented


Brain Research Applied to Learning March 12, 2004 Presented by: Ben Gonzalez, Amy Himelright, Ginny Lindquist, Denise Lucht, Diana Matter, Niki Mott, Amy Pleasant ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Brain Research Applied to Learning March 12, 2004 Presented

  • Brain Research Applied to Learning
  • March 12, 2004
  • Presented by
  • Ben Gonzalez, Amy Himelright, Ginny Lindquist,
    Denise Lucht, Diana Matter, Niki Mott, Amy
    Pleasant, Cynda Zavaskis

Stuff Brains Are Made Of
  • The brain consists of
  • 8 protein
  • 10 fat
  • 72 water
  • If ironed out, the brain would be a 2 ½ square
    foot sheet of soft, fibrous, electrical and
    chemical activity.

Energy Usage
  • The brain accounts for only 2 of total body
  • It uses 20 of the bodys oxygen supply
    depleting 1 ½ pints of blood per minute.
  • It uses up to 30 of the total energy produced by
    the body.

High and Low Energy Times
  • Circadian rhythms peaks every 90-110 minutes,
    low energy 45 minutes later.
  • Verbal and spatial skills especially vulnerable.
  • Sleep/awake patterns. Natural shift during teens.

Left Hemisphere vs. Right Hemisphere
  • Left Hemisphere
  • The Intellect
  • Right Hemisphere
  • The Imagination

Each hemisphere is specialized for a different
cognitive style and treats time differently
  • Left Hemisphere
  • Analytic
  • Sequential
  • Right Hemisphere
  • Holistic intuitive
  • Simultaneous

Under Construction
  • Between the ears, its a construction site
  • Birth 100-200 billion brain cells
  • Age 5 brain reaches 95 of adult volume
  • Age 12 construction is mostly finished
  • Puberty neuronal growth spurt
  • Age 20 connections in corpus collosum are

Brain Growth
New Growth (learning) still occurs even after our
brain construct is in place. It occurs by
dendrite development branching well used neurons.
Brain Growth
  • As you read this your brain is using thousands of
    its 100,000,000,000 neurons.
  • While that sounds like a lot of neurons, it is
    only about 20 of what you started out with.
  • The brain prunes neurons that do not get used,
    and by adolescence our brain construct is in

Brain Growth
  • Dendrite branching occurs primarily during sleep,
    so it is essential that growing children and
    adolescents learn. . . . And then sleep on it!

Sleeps Impact on the Brain
  • The brain needs deep physiological rest to
    perform at its best. The REM period (the dream
    state) is the most critical. Being deprived of
    sleep impairs learning and thinking. Students
    living with the following are at a much higher
    risk for having sleep deprivation
  • Abusive or highly stressed families
  • Areas of high crime or poverty
  • Those impacted by trauma

The Results of Sleep Deprivation
  • Learners who are not getting enough sleep may
    perform well on short quizzes requiring rote
  • However, may not do well on extended performance
    testing requiring stamina, creativity, and
    high-level problem solving.
  • Sleep deprivation contributed to three major
    accidents in recent times
  • Three Mile Island
  • Challenger Explosion
  • Chernobyl

Sleep Tonight/ Remember Tomorrow
  • Missing as little as two hours of sleep may
    significantly impair a persons ability to
    remember information the next day.
  • There appears to be a direct correlation between
    how complex the material is and how important
    sleep is to learning it. Bob Stickgold at Harvard
    University (1997)

  • Cleaning the Desktop
  • Sleep allows the brain time to unlearn
  • By eliminating unnecessary information (usually
    during sleep time), the brain becomes more
  • Sleep gives the brain time to rearrange circuits,
    clean out unimportant mental debris, and process
    emotional events. (Freeman 1995)

Classroom Applications
  • Discuss the importance of sleep with students.
  • Allow students down time during the day for
    optimal performance.
  • Give students the opportunity to move, stretch,
    drink some water, or change their focus

Power of Positive Thinking
  • The single greatest influence on learners is the
    classroom climate. Learners in a positive,
    joyful environment are likely to experience
    enhanced learning, memory, and feelings of
    self-esteem. (Rosenthal and Jacobsen 1968)
  • Research suggests that a positive learning
    climate promotes better problem-solvers and
    higher quality learning. In short, if we feel
    good, we learn better.
  • Learning is dependent on the physiological,
    emotional, postural, and psychological state that
    your learners are in. Learning and teaching flow
    easily when the proper emotional state is
    established. (C. Levinthal 1988 and Robert
    Sylvester 1995)

Laughter and Learning
  • Laughing increases the white blood-cell activity.
  • Laughter may boost the bodys production of
    neurotransmitters critical for alertness and
    memory. (William Fry, PhD. 1997)

Classroom Applications
  • Classrooms need to be positive environments.
  • Teachers need to nurture a positive attitude in
    their students. Laughing should be mandatory
    for all.
  • Introduce positive affirmations or humorous
    reminders in the classroom.
  • Remember we are not wasting precious learning
    time by including movement, breathing exercises,
    and humor.

Enriched Learning Environments
  • New brain cells grow in an enriched environment.
  • Five keys to enrichment
  • Novelty
  • Challenge
  • Coherence
  • Time
  • Feedback

  • Providing an enriched learning environment at
    school helps compensate for a lack of support at
  • Interaction with other high-achieving peers,
    teachers, and mentors
  • Development of strong belief in self

Memory Pathways
  • Semantic WHAT
  • Procedural Motor HOW
  • Episodic WHERE
  • Reflexive WOW

Boredom and the Brain
  • Boredom is debilitating.
  • Studies involving adolescent rats showed they
    were especially devastated by boredom. A boring
    environment had a greater thinning effect on the
    brains cortex than an enriched environment had
    on the thickening of the cortex. (Marion Diamond,
    PhD. 1998)

Stress Threat
  • Learners in a state of high stress or threat -
  • Experience reduced cognitive abilities
  • Have weakened immune systems

A brain under any type of perceived threat-
  • Loses ability to correctly interpret subtle clues
    from the environment
  • Reverts to familiar tried and true behaviors
  • Loses some ability to index, store, and access
  • Becomes more automatic and limited in its
  • Loses some ability to perceive relationships and
  • Less able to use higher order thinking skills
  • Loses some long-term memory capacity
  • Tends to overreact to stimuli in a phobic-like

Adolescent Brain
  • The hypothalamus is part of the medulla oblongata
    that regulates basic needs (eat, fight/flight,
    sex). In adolescents, hormones, environment, and
    learning make this a hot spot leading to often
    times impulsive acting out. The hypothalamus
    supercedes the pre-frontal cortex which plays a
    role in making good, well thought-out decisions.
    While the hypothalamus is in over drive during
    adolescence, the pre-frontal cortex takes about
    20 years to fully develop. Thus your typical
    middle school classroom!

Helping Adolescents Learn
  • Keep them safe (physically and emotionally)
  • Keep them fed!
  • Keep them rested!
  • Keep them INTERESTED!

Classroom Applications
  • Teachers must teach with multiple approaches to
    the subject matter to successfully accommodate
    all of their students.

Boosting Learning
  • http// is a website
    dedicated to Layering Curriculum, thus making
    it interesting for the learner.

Boosting Learning
  • Tips for layering curriculum
  • Present Assignment Options
  • Require Oral Defense of Assignments
  • Offer Lectures as an OPTION
  • Design and Offer Hands-on Activities for all
  • Tie Students Grades into the Complexity of the
    Thinking involved.

Music With a Purpose
  • Music can energize, relax, and increase
  • Music can boost intelligence.
  • Music can cause us to feel irritated and stressed.

When to Use Music
  • Background music.
  • Brainstorming, problem solving.
  • Celebrating successes.
  • Opening, closing rituals.
  • Transitions

Making the Right Music Choices
  • Relaxation 40-60 BPM
  • Alert 60-70 BPM
  • Active 70-120 BPM
  • To avoid saturation, use music 30 or less of
    class time

Using Aromas
  • Smells affect the limbic area of the brain which
    is responsible for attention.
  • Aromas that are useful for learning are lemon,
    cinnamon or peppermint.

Using Color
  • Colors create reactions and impact learners.
  • Colors for optimum work environments include
    pastel blue, light green, aqua and some shades of

Color Meanings
  • Red urgent, important
  • Blue factual, cold, impersonal
  • Green soothing, relaxing, positive
  • Orange playful, warm
  • Black dominant, serious, cold

Peripheral Stimuli
  • The brain can register 36,000 images per hour!
  • The brain devours pictures, movies and images.
  • New research suggests that posters, pictures, and
    drawings are powerful influences on the brain.

Post positive affirmations.
Use videos and multimedia presentations.
Use colorful, inspirational, posters.
Use more transparencies, pictures, and charts
when presenting lessons.
  • Researchers believe that thinking,
    problem-solving and creative processes are slowed
    when the body is low on fluids.

Classroom Applications
  • Model drinking water during class.
  • Talk about the importance about hydration and the
  • Allow students to have water in sports bottles at
    their desks.
  • Allow students to leave class to get a drink.

Exercise Activity
  • Active learning increases blood flow in the body
    and brings more oxygen to the brain. It also
    triggers the release of endorphins.
  • Activities learned with the body are more likely
    to be recalled and applied.

Classroom Applications
  • Include lots of stretch breaks.
  • Have learners stand and do deep breathing
    exercises, neck rolls, etc.
  • Review information using ball toss or musical

Food for Thought
  • CARROT Activates the metabolism of the brain.
  • PINEAPPLE Contains high amounts of vitamin C
    and manganese .
  • AVOCADO For short term memory. It contains
    plenty of fatty acids.
  • RED PEPPER The aromatic substances activate the
    body to excrete endorphin.
  • STRAWBERRY Abolishes the stress. The fiber
    contents give happiness.
  • BANANA Supplies serotonin

More Food for Thought
  • CABBAGE Slows down the activity of the thyroid
  • LEMON Due to the vitamin C that it has, it
    makes one lively and increases the perceptive
  • SHRIMP Supplies the body with the omega 3 fatty
  • ONION Dilutes the blood
  • GINGER The substances that it contains enable
    the brain to produce new idea.
  • CUMIN The evaporating oils that it contains
    stimulate the nervous system for creative

Brain Strategies for Learning a Foreign Language
  • The best time to introduce your child to the
    sounds of different languages is before the age
    of two.
  • The best time for the brain to learn foreign
    languages is between ages one and ten.

Everything that we have discovered about the
brain in the last 20 years suggests that we need
more stimulus, more change, more movement, and
more perspectives in the classroom -Eric
Jensen, Super Teaching
The Latest in Brain Research
  • And what it means for gifted identification and

Early Identification
  • Measures of brain waves in babies 36 hours old
    successfully predicted reading abilities at age
  • Children who detected and responded in a certain
    way to speech-like sounds were found
  • later to have higher IQs.
  • Researchers goal is to detect giftedness
  • and/or learning disabilities by 1 month
  • of age and develop appropriate interventions.
  • Native language of family is not a factor in the
    newborn testing results.

Possible Reasons for Giftedness
  • Prenatal testosterone exposure
  • Enhanced RH development
  • Also connected with higher incidence of
  • Higher incidence of immune disorders
  • Allergies, asthma, depression, diabetes,
    chronic fatigue syndrome etc.

Nature or Nurture?
  • Brain wave measures at birth predicted at well
    above chance levels reading abilities at school
    age. So did activities in the home.
  • Cognitive ability is one of the most heritable
    traits in neuroscience.
  • Dr. George Betts replies, Yes.

Some Differences in Gifted Brains
  • Intelligent people use their brains more
    efficiently and thus use less brain energy.
  • Have neural activity in several brain regions,
    all focused on task at hand.
  • Better able to stay focused and keep new
    information in mind in the face of distraction.

Left/Right Hemisphere Involvement
  • Greater RH activity during cognitive processing
    may relate to math precocity.
  • Ability to use both RH and LH at an early age may
    be linked to giftedness.
  • Gifted adolescents were shown
  • to have brain activity like that
  • of college-age adults.

Good News from Recent Brain Research
  • Intelligence correlates to fewer auto accidents,
    better job performance, better health care
    results and longer life.
  • ---The Science, January 2003

Works Cited
  • Brain Based LearningEric Jensen2000 The Brain
    Store Publishing San Diego, CA
  • Brain Compatible StrategiesEric Jensen 1997
    Turning Point Publishing Del Mar, California
  • Super Teaching Eric Jensen 1995. The Brain
    Store San Diego, CA

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I., Eley, T., Hill, L., Chorney, K., Chorney, M.
J.,Benbow, C. P., Lubinski, D., Plomin, R,
Owen, M. J. (1999). DNApooling identifies QTLs
on chromosome 4 for general cognitive ability in
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Molfese, and Arlene A. Modgline.Newborn and
Preschool Predictors of Second Grade Reading
Scores AnEvaluation of Categorical and
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Jausovec, N Jausovec K.  Differences in EEG
current density related tointelligence.  Brain
Research. Cognitive Brain Research.  2001
August12(1), pp. 55-60.  Holden, Constance.
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Erica. Brain Scans Reflect Problem Solving Skill.
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