For the Classroom

Guess the Disorder Quiz: Down Syndrome

  • Published29 Jun 2018
  • Reviewed29 Jun 2018
  • Author Emma Lindberg
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN


Neurologists and psychiatrists work every day to diagnose patients. One way they do this is by observing patients and asking them to describe their symptoms. In this activity, students will fill the role of a neurologist trying to diagnose a disease or disorder based on the evidence provided.

After studying the provided materials on diseases and disorders in the eighth edition of Brain Facts, students will investigate the symptoms of an unnamed disease using a handful of clues. Students will sift through their knowledge of neurodegenerative diseases, injury, and psychiatric disorders to eliminate wrong answers and solve the mystery.

Prep Work

This activity is based on chapters 11–15 (pages 71–104) of the eighth edition of Brain Facts. Encourage students to read the chapters during class time or on their own to study for the Guess the Disorder Quiz.


  1. Provide your student with the “Disorder Clues” prompt.
  2. Ask your students to read the prompt and use the information they learned from the Brain Facts book to determine the diagnosis. This can be done individually or as a group.


After your students have completed the quiz, ask them to share their answers with the class. Ask each student or group to give their rationale as to why they chose the diagnosis they did.

Disorder Clues:

People with this syndrome have three copies of chromosome 21 instead of two. In some cases, the extra copy, or trisomy, does not occur in every cell, producing what’s known as mosaicism.

Children born with this syndrome have distinctive facial features, including a flattened face and bridge of the nose, eyes that slant upward, and small ears. They usually have small hands and feet, short stature, and poor muscle tone as well. The intellectual abilities of people with this syndrome are typically low to moderate, although some graduate from high school and college, and many successfully hold jobs. Other symptoms of this syndrome can include hearing loss and heart defects.


Down Syndrome



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