Students learn the difference between the teen and adult brain
How is the teenage brain different from the adult brain? The learning and reward centers are far more sensitive. Good for Spanish vocabulary, bad for self-destructive behavior. Teenagers who are exposed to addictive substances and behaviors are much more likely to become dependent than if they waited until adulthood to be exposed.
In order to develop a stronger understanding of how the teen brain and adult brain differ, students in Ms. Martin's required public health class joined Mr. Zigler in the BITlab this week to design a representative puzzle that illustrates the anatomy of the teen brain.
Working from a uniform template, students drew sections of the brain that they want to highlight in their illustration. Making this information concrete and using art to engage more senses in the lesson helps make it stick.
This may be one of the most important lessons students learn. (Click here for a TED Talk by Adriana Galvan, a UCLA scientist who studies the adolescent brain.) As students learn the locations of the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, parietal lobe, ventral striatum, hippocampus, they'll also understand that a teenage brain has a partially connected frontal lobe, an increased sensitivity to rewards, and a greater affinity for addiction. This knowledge could arm them to make better decisions when it comes to risky choices and impulsivity.
By creating models and puzzles, students engage more deeply with the material. "Working on this project in the BITLab brings a new dimension to each student's understanding of the differences between the teen brain and the adult brain. While following the assignment guidelines, students can be as creative as they want to in choosing imagery and designing their models."