Brains change during Learning

brains changeEver wonder what goes on in your students’ brains as they learn? As they play? As they interact in social situations? Ever wonder what goes on in your own brain as you teach?

Experience in-class investigations to illustrate how neurons communicate with each other and how learning changes brains. Participants in this workshop will be involved in modeling nervous system functions and running a series of experiments with goggles that shift visual perception to determine how quickly their brain can adapt. Come and learn neuroscience as your students will.

brains3Engage in discussions with colleagues about how understanding the neurobiological basis of learning can apply to your own classroom practices. Discussions will focus on the neurobiology of learning, how the understanding that learning changes synapses can change influences students, and how to implement these ideas in classrooms.

Neuroscience is perceived as a complicated, difficult to understand science. Not so. Neuroscience can be engaging and informative. Understanding how learning occurs in one’s own brain can increase student metacognition and motivation to apply themselves in school. Understanding how learning occurs in students’ brains changes teachers’ willingness to scaffold, unpack misconceptions, apply active learning strategies and provide students with social and emotional supports.

Workshop content will be aligned to Texas TEK standards, including those on scientific processes. The Middle School workshop will address the TEK content standards on human organ systems and responses to external and internal stimuli. The High School workshop will address the TEK content standards on regulation, organization and feedback mechanisms and homeostasis. Participants in the high school workshop should bring a portable computer or tablet.


Janet M Dubinsky

Professor, Neuroscience, University of Minnesota

Dr. Janet M Dubinsky, Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota (UMN), directs the BrainU professional development program for secondary science teachers, www.brainu.org, and teaches graduate and undergraduate neuroscience. Winner of the 2009 Society for Neuroscience Science Educator Award, she serves on the Society’s Public Education and Communication Committee. In 2008, she co-chaired the Minnesota P-16 Education Partnership Science Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Working Group, aligning K-12 Science Standards with expectations of the workforce and higher education. Her research program investigates metabolic compromise in neurodegenerative disease. She chairs the UMN Neuroscience Outreach Committee which runs the Brain Awareness Week and Minnesota Brain Bee. Her most recent publication addresses the need for both pre-service and in-service teacher training in neuroscience, http://edr.sagepub.com/content/42/6/317.abstract