Web-Linked Activities
Activity: Play a Brain Game

Connection to Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Health & Wellness

  • Grade 4
  • Chapter 3: Growth and Development

Web Link Description
Students will enjoy playing the role of brain surgeon and mapping the brain's motor cortex at Probe the Brain. This activity was created by the Boston public television station WGBH for the PBS Web site. Invite students to explore this interactive site and discover new facts about the brain and its functions.

Student Objectives
  • to play a game by demonstrating which areas of the brain control specific muscles
  • to learn that certain areas of the brain control the muscles of a particular body part
  • to understand that the brain sends messages to the body that enable the body to move
Before Online Activity
Tell students to raise their right hands. Then ask, How were you able to raise your hand? Explain that the brain sent a message to the arm muscles, and the muscles responded to the brain's message. Ask students if they know how the message traveled from the brain to the arm. The message traveled down the spinal cord.

If you are using Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Health & Wellness, have students refer to information about how the nervous system works. Then have students visit the Web site and do the Probe the Brain activity to learn which areas of the brain control specific muscles.

To complete this activity, students can use the chalkboard and chalk or a large sheet of paper and a marker.

Online Activity
Probe the Brain
URL:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/tryit/brain/
Arrange students into groups of two or three and distribute student activity sheets. When students click the Probe the Brain activity, a new window will open on their computers. Review with students the directions for the brain probe activity. Explain that when they click a specific place on the highlighted part of the brain, a body part will move.

As students experiment with the virtual brain on the Web site, have them complete the matching activity on their student activity sheets. After students have completed the matching activity, invite the class to play the game. Read the instructions together, then select one student to draw the map of the brain and lead the game.

Student Activity Sheet
Print the online student activity sheet to create a blackline master.

Sharing the Activity
Call on students to go to the board and write one new fact that they learned about the brain.

Assessment Idea
Ask students to explain why the brain and spinal cord need to be protected when playing sports such as football, skating, or biking.

Home School Connections
Print the online family activity sheet to create a blackline master. For best results, be sure that your browser's font size has been set to "12" and that your browser has been set to print in "portrait mode."