Monday, March 15, 2010

Brain Rules!

By exploring the interactive rules, you should become familiar with the different aspects of brain research, and the implications presented here.

On Wednesday, we will have a discussion, focusing on the following questions:
  1. According to the research presented on the site, how we might re-design the school day, the classroom, and the lecture?
  2. Taking your 11 years of experience in classrooms into account, which of the above things do you think would be most beneficial for YOU? for classes in general?
  3. How might you change your study habits, or daily routine to take advantage of this research?
  4. What parts of this information are you skeptical of?
  5. How does the information presented on the brain-rules site relate to your case study?


  1. i thought these was good blog. Really like. But man big big man. told storiesl.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Oh Good!!! It works, sorry for that test comment!! :) Anyway...
    For the first question, I believe that there are sooooo many things we can do to re-design the school day and classroom to better facilitate our learning. First of all, we should all have exercise bikes built into our desks or our desks should be raised so we could have treadmills. We would not have to do hard exercise, but just constant. This would help get oxygen to our brains and encourage better learning. Also, we should, as Ms. Doering has been trying to do, open up all the windows so that we could get both fresh air and lots of NATURAL light. Yet another thing we could do would be to incorporate a nap into our day (although I doubt I could sleep....), between 2 and 3 pm. Also, we might want to stop the school day a little later and start a little later, to allow for better sleep. All of these things improve brain function, and I believe would make us smarter!!!!!
    Taking all of my experience into account, I think that sleep would help (at least me) to improve brain function. I know from experience that sleep deprivation has quite an effect and mental alertness, and can really cloud up the mind. I believe that obtaining an ample amount of sleep EVERY night could really help students to improve mental clarity, which is a huge step in improving mental ability. Although, even though this does not have to do with the classroom, I think that reducing stress is essential as well. Stress makes everything more difficult, and according to the studies from the website, it has a HARSH effect on test-taking skills.
    I think that I would change my study habits and daily routine by trying to take more breaks and by avoiding overwhelming situations. This would decrease my stress level, and therefore make it easier to sleep (possibly), excel on tests, and just think and live in a more clear, healthy manner. And, if possible, I also think sleep is as essential to mental success as relaxation. However, certain things like sleep sometimes depend on the individual...
    I am not skeptical of much of the information. Much of the stuff (maybe all of it, for that matter) was supported by concrete evidence from (check the footnotes) very accurate and prominent sources, such as Harvard, MIT, etc. There were a few things that seemed ironic, like the rather overweight man's telling us the benefits of exercise when he looked rather unhealthy himself. However, this had no effect on the credibility of the evidence. So, I really was not skeptical of anything!
    The information on the brain-rules site perfectly relates to our case study on narcolepsy. You see, narcoleptics often have difficulty learning and experiencing mental clarity because they suffer from many things, but chief among them being EDS (Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, which makes them sleepy during the day and interrupts their sleeping pattern at night). Without enough sleep, their minds have trouble functioning and they usually experience depression. One can clearly see the effects of sleep deprivation on the brain, and therefore these brain rules should be observed.

  4. The Brain Rules website was really informative!! I learned about quite a few statistics I had no prior knowledge of. 2 things were really interesting to me, were the difference between the prominence of certain disorders in men and women and the section on sleep. I enjoyed the section focused on sleep because of the topic of my case study :) I thought it was really interesting that certain length naps are more mentally stimulating than others. Specifically, that shorter naps are better. Overall, I thought it was a great, and informative website :)

  5. 1. Given the importance of exercise, I feel that we should try to incorporate more physical activity into the schedule. Perhaps by making HFR a requirement for all students we can improve overall performance in school. School sports are great for keeping in shape but because they take place after school, we don't get to feel the effects that exercise has on our brains. However, if all the sports teams had morning practices, that exercise would at least improve our ability to learn in the morning classes, not to mention waking us up (something which is difficult to do for morning classes).

    2. For me personally, I feel that repetition is the most important Brain Rule. I don't have the greatest memory but I have found that if I take the time to repeat learning activities, such as memorizing vocabulary words, I do much, much better than if I simply study the words once the night before or if I try to cram in the fifteen minutes before the test. Sleep is also a very important factor which contributes to how well I do in school. I have discovered that I actually do better on tests when I sleep more and study less than when I stay up past my normal bedtime trying to get extra studying in.

    3. I would definitely try to exercise more. Though I feel that volleyball every weekday after school is a fairly taxing activity, I admit that I am particularly less physically active on the weekends. If I began jogging on my off days, I think my brain would be in a much better state. On top of that, if I performed this physical activity on Sundays, then the short-term effects would most likely improve my school performance because I tend to do most, if not all, of my homework on Sundays.

    4. I can't say that I was especially skeptical of any particular section of the Brain Rules website. However, there were a few times when I struggled to figure out exactly what point Dr. Medina was trying to make. More than once his graphs/visual presentations were cryptic and/or hard to follow.

    5. It's hard to pick one Brain Rule that pertains to our case study but if I had to choose, I'd go with the Visual section. Our case study dealt mainly with Visual Association which Dr. Medina doesn't talk much about. Instead, he focuses primarily on how visuals make things easier to remember as well as how the brain is wired to perceive certain images.

    - Collin