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In this lesson, students use their brain to make a brain out of Play-Doh


Art, Science  



Title – The Human Brain
By – Seth Schiering
Primary Subject – Science
Secondary Subjects – Art
Grade Level – 5

After participating in a discussion and watching a video about the human brain, the students will be able to construct and label at least three parts of the brain using clay of different colorations.


New York Standard: Standard 1:
Mathematics, Science, and Technology

    Analysis, Inquiry, and Design; Students will use mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design, as appropriate, to pose questions, seek answers, and develop solutions.

New York Standard: Standard 1:
English Language Arts

    Students will listen, speak, read, and write for information and understanding. As listeners and readers, students will collect data, facts, and ideas; discover relationships, concepts, and generalizations; and use knowledge generated from oral, written, and electronically produced texts. As speakers and writers, they will use oral and written language that follows the accepted conventions of the English language to acquire, interpret, apply, and transmit information.

This will be made evident when the students construct and label at least three parts of the brain.

To gain the students’ interest, I will begin the lesson by asking the students to close their eyes as I pass around a Ziploc bag containing ground beef. Then I will ask the students, “What does this feel like?”


  • A video on the brain
  • A model of the brain
  • A diagram labeling the different parts and functions of the brain
  • Play-Doh clay of different colorations
  • Pencil and paper tabs (for labeling)


  • KWL chart,
  • class discussion, and
  • cooperative learning


  • The hearing impaired student, will be given handouts on what is discussed in the movie and class.
  • The learning disabled student in reading will be given the focal points of the lesson one week in advance or highlighted text material.


    Tiered Assignment: The students that are functioning on a lower level of comprehension will be given assignments that equate their abilities.

    Tiered Products: The students that are at a higher level of comprehension will be required to create and label four specific parts of the brain.


  • Students will be placed in cooperative groups with roles already assigned.
  • Student will watch a video on the brain.
    • (What are three things you noticed about the brain?)
    • (What is the shape of the brain?)
    • Where is the brain located in the skull?)
  • Student will then be asked to evaluate the film and choose three specific parts of the brain they found most interesting.
    • (Why did you choose these specific parts?)
    • (What are their functions?)
  • Students will be presented with a model and diagram labeling the different parts and functions of the brain.
    • (How many different parts make up the brain?)
    • (What are the names of the parts that make make-up the brain?)
    • (Which part of the brain controls memory, thought, drawing, listening, etc.?)
  • Students working in their designated groups will be given bags containing Play-Doh of different colorations and labels as they construct and label three specific parts of the brain.
    • (Assess your sculpture, which parts of the brain did you choose and why?)
    • (What are the functions of the parts of the brain you sculpted?)
    • (How did you feel about this activity?)
  • Students will present their group projects to the class and summarize their functions.
  • Students will evaluate each group’s work and express their opinions on which one is the most accurate construction.
    • (Consider your decision, why did you choose group (A, B, C, or D) as the best?)
    • (Given the opportunity, would you change anything about your own sculpture?)
    • (What recommendations can you offer to improve each of the other group’s sculptures?)

    The students will be able to accurately construct and label three specific functions of the brain.


  • Newton’s Apple and Scientific American (video)
  • The Brain Chart (illustrations and descriptions of specific areas of the brain)
  • Big Head by Pete Rowan (textbook)

    E-Mail Seth Schiering !

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