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Making the Connections!: Brain-Based Learning and Promoting Healthy Students. Objectives. 1. Discuss brain research and review how the brain processes information 2. Discuss how better health can improve student achievement

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1. Discuss brain research and review how the brain processes information

2. Discuss how better health can improve student achievement

3. Discuss how we can use this research to convince leaders to promote the health of our students

what is brain based learning
What is brain-based learning?

What it is!

Attempt to match the research on how the brain processes information with the strategies and processes we utilize when working with individuals


Mechanics should understand cars.Attorneys should understand the law.Generals should understand the art of war.Professionals should understand the brain.

rationale for promoting healthy students
Rationale for Promoting Healthy Students?

1. Increased demand for accountability

2. Expanded curriculum to teach

3. Increased focus on math/language arts

4. Decreased number of trained teachers

5.Decreased number of health professionals

6. Decreased funding

7. Increased competing interests

8. Decreased understanding of true needs

9. Increased amount of rhetoric

promoting healthy students in west grand school district
Promoting Healthy Students in West Grand School District

1. Health Coalition

2. Dental Van

3. Medical Van

4. Community Liaison

5. Early Childhood

6. Incredible Years

7. Sun Safety

8. Physical Education

9. Staff Wellness

10. Nutrition

11. Mental health

12. Reduced academic time

brain fact composition of the brain
Brain Fact: Composition of the brain

1. Weighs 3 pounds

2. Is 2.5% of weight

3. Uses 20% energy

4. Uses oxygen 10 X faster

5. Uses glucose 10 X faster

6. Made of 78% water

7. Has 100 billion neurons

brain fact adaption has been outpaced
Brain Fact:Adaption has been outpaced

1. Adaption was slow

2. Time allowed change

3. 20th Century change

4. Survival is key

5. Safety is impacted

6. Food is an issue

7. Reading for all

8. Life expectancy is lowered

brain fact brain is designed for survival
Brain Fact: Brain is designed for survival

1. Survival is primary

Brain will sacrifice all, including higher order thinking skills, to survive.

2. Limited attention span

3. Uses unconscious input

a. Priority control

b. Automatic systems

c. Nonverbal clues

d. Smell

brain fact healthy prenatal care is critical
Brain Fact: Healthy prenatal care is critical

1. 15 million neurons per hour

a. 250,000 neurons per minute

b. 4,166 neurons per second

2. Neuron growth

a. 8 months 1,000 trillion synapses

b. 10 years 500 trillion synapses

3. 17th week of pregnancy

a. One billion neurons

b. More than adult

4. Premature 13%

5. Fourth week – folic acid

6. Child’s brain 225% more active

7. First year 60% of nutrition

8. Establishing neural pathways

brain fact early childhood prime time
Brain Fact:Early Childhood – Prime Time

1. Cell migration/elaboration

2. Apoptosis

3. Plasticity

4. Windows of opportunity

a. 3 months language

b. 8 months vision

5. Nature of neurons

a. Programmed for specifics

b. Dependent on environment

brain fact humans need social interaction
Brain Fact: Humans need social interaction

1. Reduces stress by 8%

2. Isolation/smoking

3. Isolation/physical pain

4. Need 12 positive comments

5. Laugher creates T cells

6. Talking - oxygen/blood

7. Designed to live 120 years

8. Impacts body weight

9. Brain needs purpose

a. Retirement

b. Loss of spouse

brain fact humans need personal contact
Brain Fact:Humans need personal contact

1. Prenatal environment

2. Touch signals brain to grow

3. Safety signals brain to grow

4. Infant massage

5. Reduces stress

6. Touch impacts brains

a. Humans 20-30% smaller brains

b. Zoos 20-30% smaller brains

brain fact children need movement
Brain Fact:Children need movement

1. Fine/gross motor skills

a. Must have movement

b. Reticular Activation System

c. 60 hours per week confined

2. Cognitive processes

a. Dependent on survival

b. Motor needs take priority

3. Sensory motor deprivation

a. Inhibitory control impaired

b. Need for over-stimulus

4. Impact of policies

a. Safety equipment

b. Recess /Physical education

brain fact physical activity has many benefits
1. Important in early ages

2. Stimulates neurons

3. Increases blood flow

4. Fuels brain with oxygen

5. Provides neuorotropins

6. Increases serotonin

7. Trains quick response/recovery

8. Improves oxygen exchange

9. Creates more capillaries

10. Strengthens basal ganglia

11. Prolongs life of neurons

12. Stimulates BDNF

13. Activates LPT

14. Creates NGF

15. Stimulates dopamine

16. Cerebellum/Frontal lobe

Brain Fact:Physical activity has many benefits
brain fact brain unconsciously learns
Brain Fact:Brain unconsciously learns

1. Subconscious learning

a. Key to survival

b. Unimportance of verbals

c. Safety is key to all learning

2. Facial expressions

a. Anger/Sarcasms 33 ms

3. Peptides

4. Power of the individual

a. Affective communication

b. Super collider experiment

5. Neurological search warrants

brain fact rhythm and rhyme
Brain Fact: Rhythm and Rhyme

Music Enhances Learning:

Brain Responds to Rhythm

1. Pitch and tones impact more

2. Rhythm strengthens memory

3. Rhyme strengthens memory

4. Provides connections

brain fact stress damages the brain
Brain Fact: Stress damages the brain

1. Telomeres

a. 1,700 at birth

b. 300 at age 70

c. Lost 9 – 17 years

2. Control is important

3. Hippocampus/danger

4. Electrical/rat experiment

5. Reduces immune system

6. Reduces T cells

7. Hardens arteries

8. Morality is compromised

9. Inactive kids have stress

10. Tunnel Vision

stress process
Stress Process

a. Designed for action (heart attacks)

b. Increases blood sugar

c. Activates immune system

d. Activates clotting (platelets sticky)

e. Attention becomes tunnel vision (no multi-tasking)

f. Creates “flashbulb” memory (pathological)

g. Creates a “gas and brake” situation with body

h. Activates hypothalamus (no sense of morality/ethics)

i. Stress is self-imposed

brain fact need to stay healthy
Brain Fact:Need to stay healthy

1. Stress in school

a. 20% green

b. 60% red

c. Allostatic load

2. Continual Stress

a. Trauma

b. 1/2 neurons hippocampus

3. Survey of workforce

a. 28 % Scream

b. 14% Hurt someone

c. 27% no personal friend

brain fact diet impacts the brain and learning
Brain Fact:Diet impacts the brain and learning

1. Not designed for abundant food

2. Hunger creates consumatory prowling

3. Tyrosine & Tryptophan is critical to memory

4. Breakfast is critical to brain processes

5. Low/high calorie diets impact brain function

6. Need certain foods for neuron polarity

7. Glucose and fat are not always bad

brain fact substance abuse impacts brain
Brain Fact: Substance abuse impacts brain

1. More harmful to youth

2. Less awareness of impact

3. Impact basic brain development

4. Invades membrane of brain

5. Causes irreversible damage

6. Impairs neurotransmitters

7. Concrete principle

brain fact mirror neurons impact our actions
Brain Fact: Mirror neurons impact our actions

1. We respond to experiences

a. Consciously

b. Subconsciously

c. All senses impact this

2. Examples of Mirror Neurons

a. Yawning

b. Charismatic

c. Talking softly

d. Moving slowly

3. Physically experience

a. Experience motor reaction

b. Emotional experiences

brain fact brain needs sleep to process data
Brain Fact: Brain needs sleep to process data

1. Operates 16 cycles

2. Cycles of 90–110 min.

3. Memory Conversion

a. Converted to long-term memory during sleep

b. Consolidation of learning takes place during sleep

4. Sleep reduces aggression

frontal lobe prefrontal
Frontal Lobe: Prefrontal

1. Controls thought

2. Planning

3. Decision making

4. Emotions

5. Rational thinking

6. Creativity

7. Makes us human

brain areas cerebellum
Brain Areas: Cerebellum

1. Key to balance

2. Posture

3. Coordination

4. Movement

5. Procedural memories

6. Age 2 – adult size

7. Automated responses

brain areas amygdala
Brain Areas: Amygdala

a. Controls alarm system

b. Controls emotions

c. Evaluates danger

d. Unconscious emotions

e. Damaged amygdala

* afraid of everything

* afraid of nothing

how do we learn
How do we learn?

Learning is a physiological process consisting of highly complicated bio-electrical and chemical interactions

connection electrical chemical
Connection: Electrical/Chemical

1. Dendrites (80%)

2. Nucleus (20%)

3. Action Potential

a. calculates input

b. releases NT

4. Receptors

a. specific shapes

bioelectrical process
Bioelectrical Process

1. Ions of power

a. Sodium +

b. Potassium +

c. Calcium +

d. Chloride -

2. Produces 25 watts

brain summary
Brain Summary?

Learning, emotions, personality, intellect, - who you are –

is not a spiritual event but a complex series of

bio-electrical and chemical processes

Restak (1994)

understanding the teenage brain
Understanding the Teenage Brain

Adolescence is a time between infancy and insubordination.

teenage brain development health paradox
Teenage Brain Development:Health Paradox

Biological Impact

1. Physical zenith

2. Morbidity/Mortality

a. 200/300% increase

b. Accidents/Suicides

3. Drug abuse

a. Alcohol dependent 12%

b. Greatest use (age 18-20)

c. Marijuana use Age 15

teenage brain development prefrontal cortex is developing
Teenage Brain Development:Prefrontal Cortex is developing

Biological Impact

1. Regulation of words/ideas

2. Body language & jokes

3. Makes bad social inferences

4. Limited social conscious

5. Uses little common sense

6. Can’t read social emotions

7. Last area to mylienate

8. Phineas Gage example

teenage brain development amygdala is fully developed
Teenage Brain Development:Amygdala is fully developed

Biological Impact

1. Acts on emotion more than rational thought

2. Amygdala is impacted by dopamine

3. Conflict and stress is processed by amygdala

4. Reduces influence of the prefrontal cortex

5. Automated verbal response

teenage brain development bonding instinct is strong
Teenage Brain Development:Bonding instinct is strong

Biological Impact

1. Females

a. Oxytocin (bonding)

b. Serotonin (attachment)

2. Males

a. Vasopressin (dominance)

b. Testosterone (competition)

3. Strong need to bond or mate

4. Neurotransmitters impact vision

teenage brain development puberty is occurring earlier
Teenage Brain Development:Puberty is occurring earlier

Biological Impact

1. 1860 – Age 16 – 17

2. 2007 – Age 13

a. Energy Balance

b. Electricity

c. Stress

3. Maturation Gap

a. 1800’s 2 years

c. 2000’s 7 years

4. Post-puberty

a. Creates anxiety

b. Startles more quickly

teenage brain development engage in at risk behaviors
Teenage Brain Development:Engage in at-risk behaviors

Biological Impact

1. Brain discovers dopamine

2. Necessary in animals to move out of nest

3. Consistently seeks dopamine or pleasure

4. Pleasure reinforces at-risk behavior

5. Eliminates common sense approach

6. Dopamine rush must be increased to impact

teenage brain development rapid growth and changes
Teenage Brain Development:Rapid growth and changes

Biological Impact

1. Sudden changes in maturity level

a. Brain becomes tired

b. Creates poor sleep patterns

c. Increases cortisol

d. Decreases effective memory

2. Teens experience uncertainty

a. Unsure of who they are

b. Unsure of future

3. Corpus Callosum develops

a. Connections begin to occur

b. Begin to understand complexity

teenage brain development vulnerable to substance abuse
Teenage Brain Development:Vulnerable to substance abuse

Biological Impact

1.Drugs act like neurotransmitters

2. Decreased sensation of drug impact

3. Substance abuse reduces dopamine

a. Need drugs to replace dopamine

b. Creates cyclical issues

4. Alcohol reduces glutamate

a. Destroys memory “glue”

b. Impacts the hippocampus

5. Drugs alter brain formation

a. Has greater impact

b. Creates permanent damage

teenage brain development sleep patterns are interrupted
Teenage Brain Development:Sleep patterns are interrupted

Biological Impact

1. Second growth spurt

2. Need 8-9 hours

3. High school Students

a. Get less than 7 hours

b. Sleep 11:30/Wake at 6:15

4. Lost of sleep cause

a. Memory/attention loss

b. Violence/irritability

c. Cognitive loss

d. Sleep may be tipping point

teenage male brain scenario exposure to confrontation
Teenage Male Brain Scenario: Exposure to Confrontation

1. Receives sensory input

2. Processed in thamlus

3. Sent to amygdala

4. Testosterone

a. Confuses response

b. Stimulates action

5. Neural Pathway

a. Connects to motor cortex

b. Causes physical activity

teenage brain development time for igniting passions
Teenage Brain Development:Time for igniting passions

Biological Impact

1. Romantic adventures

2. Social consciousness

3. Permanent values

4. Opportunity to teach

5. Searching for models

brain facts there are gender differences
Brain Facts: There are gender differences

1. Tendencies/not absolute

2. Mature differently

3. Different chemicals

4. Use different areas

5. Designed for purposes

6. Structural differences (100)

7. Have different visual perceptions

impact of educational practices
Boys in Crisis?

a. 70% of D’s and F’s

b. 66% of LD diagnoses

c. 76% of ED diagnoses

d. 90% discipline referrals

e. 80% of the drop-outs

f. 71% of suspensions

g. 77% of Expulsions

h. 38% earn master

Boys in Crisis?

a. Lowest literacy rate in 35 nations

b. Female GPA 3.07

c. Male GPA 2.92

d. Females 57% College

e. Males 43% College

f. Males - educationally fragile brain

Impact of Educational Practices?
things to do to help males
Things to do to Help Males

1. Add more competition

2. Add more spatial activities

3. Include more male teachers

4. Include more gross motor skills

5. Include more gross motor skills

6. Provide simple directions

7. Give clear limits

8. Provide clear consequences

9. Provide movement


Jeff Perry

PO Box 8179

Wise VA 24293