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Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience - Chromatography: Observing Complex Combinations of Chemical Compounds

July 2017

Students learn that plant extracts are mixtures of many chemical compounds and that it is possible to separate these compounds using chromatography. In the lab portion, students will do chromatography of a black marker to understand how a single liquid (black ink) is comprised of many different chemicals. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series.

Grade: 6-8

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience - Botanical Heart Throbs: Investigating the Effects of Plant Extracts on Heart Rate in Lumbriculus Worms

July 2017

This lesson should be taught after completing the Infusions & Decoctions: Preparing Plant Extracts lesson. Students will learn how chemical transmission works in the nervous system and circulatory system, using two plants as case studies: foxglove and valerian. In the lab portion, students will explore how plant extracts act as stimulants or depressants and effect the circulatory system of Lumbriculus. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series.

Grade: 6-8

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience – Botanical Superheroes: Investigation the Antibacterial Properties of Plant Extracts

July 2017

Students learn that bacteria can cause illness, including neurological diseases such as meningitis. In the lab portion, they examine whether some plant extracts are effective at slowing down the growth of bacteria. Students will expose bacteria to penicillin, water, and several different plant extracts (including garlic juice and the essential oils of tea tree and clove) to determine whether plant extracts inhibit bacterial growth. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series. 

Grade: 6-8

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience – Heads and Tails: Investigating the Effects of Plant Extracts on Planaria Regeneration

July 2017

This lesson should be taught after completing the Infusions & Decoctions: Preparing Plant Extracts lesson. Students are introduced to the concepts of stem cells and regeneration using planaria as a model organism. Students will learn how neuroscience research promotes health and leads to understanding and therapies. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series. 

Grade: 6-8

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience – If Worms Drank Coffee: Investigating the Effects of Plant Extracts on Planaria Movement

July 2017

Students will observe and count planaria (flatworms) movements with and without the addition of a plant extract. Just as plants are used daily to alter mental function, some people regularly use alcohol, nicotine, and illegal drugs such as cocaine; these drugs are derived from plants and have large effects on the human nervous system. Students will explore how plant extracts act as stimulants or depressants and affect planaria movement. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series. 

Grade: 6-8

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience – Infusions & Decoctions: Preparing Plant Extracts

July 2017

Students learn that many plants contain chemicals with medical properties, including neuroactive properties. These chemicals can affect the nervous system when an organism is exposed to the chemicals. Students learn how plants have been used around the world to treat illness and alter brain function. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series.

Grade: 6-8

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience – Neuroscience 101

July 2017

In this interactive lesson, students will learn the basic anatomy and physiology of the nervous system. Starting with the structure of the brain, spinal cord, and nerve cells, student will then learn about neurotransmission, the electrochemical process by which neurons send signals. They will participate in several activities that model the functions of neurons. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series. 

Grade: 7-8

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience – SpikerBox: Listening in on the Neural Activity of Cockroaches

July 2017

In this lab, students will investigate if cayenne pepper extract affects the electrical communication in the cockroach nervous system. They will use a SpikerBox, a “bioamplifier” that allows them to hear the spikes (action potentials) of live neurons in a cockroach leg. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series.

Grade: 6-8

Stand Up Against Bullying

Stand Up Against Bullying

December 2017

The lesson, activities, and worksheets in this program, developed in partnership with Scholastic, will help students build skills they need to identify potentially harmful situations around them and to determine steps they can take to safely intervene if they see another student in trouble. They will also learn how to take action against bullying and create a safe environment for themselves.

Grade: 6-12

Starnet: Investigating Smoking Behavior

October 2015

Students develop their own research study by developing hypotheses about genetic and environmental factors that might be associated with smoking behavior and analyzing data from a smoking behavior database to answer their study questions. Along the way students learn basic skills about study design and about the environmental and genetic factors that may contribute to smoking behavior.

Grade: 9-12

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