Students will work individually to locate and research a recent neuroscience discovery in the news. Upon completing their research, students will write a short synopsis of the discovery and how it might impact our world.
At the end of this activity students will:
Be able to research a scientific topic
Be able to clearly and concisely explain a research topic
Be able to identify a neuroscience news story
Neuroscientists are constantly learning new things about the brain and nervous system. By using the search engine on your preferred news site, you can find a handful of articles everyday about research, advancements, and discoveries in the field of neuroscience.
More often than not, a news article touches upon basic research done in a lab. Basic research advances scientific knowledge and medical innovation by expanding our understanding of molecules, genes, cell, systems, and complex behaviors. Clinical researchers build on these findings and identify new applications that can lead to medical treatments.
Integration Into Curriculum
Biology, AP Biology
Anatomy and Physiology
- Take a moment to talk with your students about basic research. Explain to them how basic research advances the field of neuroscience and why it is important.
Direct your students to a preferred news source or group of sources. If your students are having trouble finding a reputable news source, have them go through the following checklist:
- Do the reporters cite their sources with links to neuroscience journals or abstracts?
- Who is quoted in the story? Do some research to see if those quoted are experts in the topic.
- Is this a press release, opinion piece, or blog post? If so, look for another source to cross-check the science.
- Read the “About Us” section of the website. Does the organization seem biased? If so, try to find another source.
Ask your students to choose 1-3 articles to read. You may choose to review their lists before letting them proceed with researching their topics.
Once each student has created their list of articles, ask them to do some research on each topic. For example, if the article talks about cochlear implants suggest they learn more about how the brain processes hearing or how technology like this was developed over time.
When your students have completed their research, ask them to write a one-page synopsis about the article they read, the research they did, and how they feel the research they learned about will impact everyday life. For example, if the article talks about a new type of cochlear implant, ask your students to write about how this device is different from older ones.
- Ask your students to create a two-minute oral presentation based on their chosen article topic, instead of writing a one-page paper.
Ask your students to construct a bibliography of all the scientifically vetted resources they used to research their topic. This can be done in APA, MLA, or Chicago format. Suggest they read related articles on BrainFacts.org, research their topic on Google Scholar, or reference their course texts.