The Brain

GRADES 6-8

Learning Goal

Students learn about the adolescent brain.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the lessons, students will be able to:

  • Explain several new facts they learned about teenage brain development

Learning Summary

We do not expect you to become an expert in neuroscience to teach this lesson. In fact, the purpose of this lesson is to engage students on an emotional level about the inner workings of their brain and to provide a safe space to reflect on the challenges, stigmas, and stereotypes associated with adolescence.

The lesson starts with a mindful moment in which they learn a new breathing technique following the shape of a square as they inhale and exhale. The class then has an open discussion about what they know about the brain and, specifically the adolescent brain. Then there are two options for student discovery and learning: a video or article, Using a graphic organizer, students record what they learned and have the opportunity to share out through a class discussion. Students end by reflecting in their journals.

CASEL Competencies

Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior. The ability to accurately assess one’s strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a "growth mindset."

Self-management: The ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations — effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. The ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals.

Decision-making: The ability to make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety concerns, and social norms. The realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and a consideration of the well-being of oneself and others.

Classroom Teaching Example