This lesson plan was created based on a template developed for the Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment initiative sponsored by the Alliance for Catholic Education.

Number of Days:


Prior Knowledge:


Lesson Objective:

Identify parts and functions of the brain as they relate to learning. Synthesize arguments, based in brain science, why labels about being “smart,” “dumb,” or a “math person” are not fixed but are changeable through one’s own effort and the use of better strategies. Use effort, support or strategy attributions instead of fixed label attributions after academic setbacks.

Lesson Assessment:

Brain challenge 1; Brain challenge 2;

Benchmark or Standards:

The following California state standards would be covered:; Science, 9th-12th, Biology, 9b, 9c, 9d, and 9e.; Health, 9th-12th, 1.8.S, 2.1.S, 3.1.S, 5.1.S, 5.4.S, 7.2.S, 7.4.S, 8.3.S, 1.2.M, 1.3.M, 1.7.M, 1.8.M, 5.1.M, 5.2.M, 5.3.M, 6.1.M, 7.4.M, 8.2.M, 8.3.M



TimeLearning TaskMethod or Procedure
Facilitators introduce selves & set out expectations
Teacher-directed instruction
Overview of the 6 sessions and purpose
Teacher-directed instruction
Warm-up activity: What are some setbacks or problems that you have experienced in your classes in school?Written reflection activity; Teachers walk around the classroom monitoring student work
Setbacks or problems of typical HS student, based on surveys "we've conducted"
then transition how learning about the brain can help students develop skills to deal with these setbacks
Teacher-directed instruction
Introduce the growth mindset and brain research
-go into parts of the brain and functions
-how much energy brain uses, sleep needs, and food needs
Teacher-directed instruction with powerpoint, some questions for students to answer aloud
How does the brain work and continue to grow?
-present on neurons, synapses, and connections
Teacher-directed instruction with powerpoint, video of explanation of synapses, video of fireman's ability to see through smoke
Game: How do connections between neurons get stronger over time?Students pass ball from first person to the last and everyone has to touch the ball, they do this 3 times and get faster and better; then we make them sit on one hand and pass the ball the same way, they do this 3 times and get faster and better (focus on practice); finally, they just have to get the ball from the first person to the last however they want (focus on strategy)
Summarize lessons learned from activityTeacher-directed instruction
Basketball study
Teacher-directed instruction OR very brief paragraph and follow-up questions for exit ticket
Exit ticket?
Day 2
Warm up exercise: -What is something that you used to not be good at and now you are good at?
-How did you learn and improve?
Independent writing, then when finish share with their neighbor what they wrote; Teachers monitor student work
Your brain has grown already!
-research on brain growth from in utero to birth
Teacher-directed instruction, powerpoint slides, video on brain growing in utero,
Brain is like a muscle that gets stronger through effort and practice
-research on rat brain growth
-example of Colombia guerrilla warriors brain growth
-example of English language learners?
Teacher -directed instruction, examples from power point slides
How does your brain learn?
-neurons building connections
Teacher-directed instruction, neuron slides and video of professor
Small group work: come up with a list of things you have done to improve and grow in different activities in and out of schoolTeacher-lead discussion in small groups; three students delegated for tasks: 1 student to record list on the poster paper, 2 students to present out to the class
Exit ticket: write up from scientific article
Students read scientific article silently, then write on paper responding to these prompts/questions:
-Imagine that a new 9th grader just flunked the first math test of the year: What are the two things that you learned in the article that you could say to help them not feel so bad about their math ability?
Review of concepts: What does brain science mean for successful learning
Teacher-directed instruction
How does the growth mindset lead to success? Teacher-directed instruction
HW over the weekend:
act like undercover reporters and see if you hear anyone use fixed or growth mindset statements, then next week when we meet we will share what we heard over the weekend
Teacher-directed instruction


Changes for Next Time:

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