Drain the Brain: Brain Empowering Activities

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Note: Some of my products have some “out there” ideas. Make sure to look at the preview before purchasing. Everyone's classroom is unique and while these lessons work within my classroom, that may not be the case in another’s room.

"The frontier of our minds is the last place we find, but maybe the first place we should go."
(-The Right Side of My Mind by Queensryche)

Research has demonstrated that the human brain does much better in the long term if it is exposed to activities such as brain teasers and logic puzzles. In fact, research has shown some of the benefits regarding such activities:

• Boosts brain activity
• Provides emotional satisfaction and sense of accomplishment
• Enhances memory and processing speed
• Helps slow the decline and reduce the risk for dementia
• Improves concentration

The human brain is no different than any other muscle in the human body. If an individual wants developed bicep muscles, they need to do arm curls with weights (i.e. an arm workout). Henceforth, if one wants to develop and maintain a healthy brain, it too must be allowed to exercise, which is the foundation of this guide.

These activities are inspired from the phenomenal video game, The Talos Principle, by Croteam. They were kind enough to email me and give me permission to pursue this project. Another facet that works so well with this guide is that it "quietly" nudges a student's thinking process towards the STEM fields. In particular, with these activities, students must analyze, reason, solve, and interpret solutions to the puzzles they encounter.

The process I follow in my classroom for these activities is as follows →

-Complete one puzzle and it correlating analysis activities (i.e. Challenge 1) per day. -**Since I utilize these as mini-lessons, it equates to about 15 - 20 minutes daily.
-Review Step 1
-Try to solve the puzzle (see #2) on the provided template.
-Complete Step 2
-Complete Step 3
-Complete the evidence-based paragraph template
**Encourage the students to sketch ideas, lines, arrows on their puzzle template. I even encourage them to make notes, as well.
-Show the students the solution in the embedded video clips (on my YouTube channel).
-Have the students fill in whether they were correct or not.
**After completing all puzzles, the students should fill in their “Analytical Questions” page (at the end of all the puzzles.)

Resources that correlate well with this product include →

Link-Sane in the Membrane: Brain Empowering Activities

★ Included in the Guide

3 Terms of Use
4 Core Standards
5 About
6 Suggestions for Teaching
7 Background Story
8 - 10 Icon Sheets
11 - 14 Challenge 1 - Peephole Sigil (Analysis, Puzzle Sheet, Answer Key, Writing Reflection)
15 - 18 Challenge 2 - Two of Us (Analysis, Puzzle Sheet, Answer Key, Writing Reflection)
19 - 22 Challenge 3 - Bombs and Lions (Analysis, Puzzle Sheet, Answer Key, Writing Reflection)
23 - 26 Challenge 4 - Hall of Windows (Analysis, Puzzle Sheet, Answer Key, Writing Reflection)
27 Acquire a New Tool - Diamond Laser
28 - 31 Challenge 5 - Swallowed the Key (Analysis, Puzzle Sheet, Answer Key, Writing Reflection)
32 - 35 Challenge 6 - Switch Out of Reach (Analysis, Puzzle Sheet, Answer Key, Writing Reflection)
36 - 39 Challenge 7 - Something About a Star (Analysis, Puzzle Sheet, Answer Key, Writing Reflection)
40 Acquire a New Tool - Fan
41 - 44 Challenge 8 - Over the Fence (Analysis, Puzzle Sheet, Answer Key, Writing Reflection)
45 - 48 Challenge 9 - The Right Angle (Analysis, Puzzle Sheet, Answer Key, Writing Reflection)
49 - 53 Challenge 10 - All Tied Up (Analysis, Puzzle Sheet, Answer Key, Writing Reflection)
54 Data Sheet
55 - 58 Your Puzzle Challenge Design
59 Reflection Questions
60 References

In the end, the key, as an educator, is to be willing to go out of one’s comfort zone and be ready to try something new and innovative. If the results mirror my own classroom, you may be surprised at what your students are able to do!

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Total Pages
60 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 Weeks
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