Activities & Modules

Original Samples of Blueprints for Course Design, Modules, and Activities.

Julie “Jules” Troyer Ph.D.

Neurobiology in Education Blueprint for Module-by Julie “Jules” Troyer Ph.D.


(IA)Kathy is a new teacher at an elementary school in a rural part of the Southern United States. This is her first year teaching and she is very excited to apply everything she learned in college in her classroom. She remembers something being said in one of her educational psychology classes about learning styles and decides to tailor her lesson plans to each of her students learning styles. On the first day of class Kathy passes out a sheet of paper to each child and asks them to write their name on it and state whether they like to see things, hear things, or participate in things the best.

(QI)Question 1: What is the first thing Kathy has done wrong?

(IIA)Kathy now begins to include in every lesson she teaches, a visual, auditory, and kinesthetic component. She is often up until one or two in the morning trying to figure out how to create a dance for multiplication tables, or a song for photosynthesis.

(QII)Question 2: Is there a better use of Kathy’s time?

(IIIA)At the end of the semester her students take a standardized test and do very poorly. Kathy is brought into the office of the principle of the school where she is asked what she is doing in her classroom.

(QIII)Question 2: What would you have done to use neuroscience effectively in
the classroom?

LESSON 1 Geake (2005, p. 12) is quick to point out that there have been mistakes made in the
past as ‘intellectually unscrupulous characters’ have expounded over-simplistic theories,
such as learning-styles, left and right brain thinking or ‘Brain Gym’ exercises.
Geake insists that ‘university educationists need to provide a rigorous critical filter lest
more neuro-nonsense infects the nation’s schools’ (p. 12).

Jones-Howard, P. (). Neuroscience and education: Issues and opportunities. A commentary by the teaching and research programme. Retrieved from: 12/11/2012.

Purdy, N. & Morrison, H. (2009). Cognitive neuroscience and education: Unraveling the confusion.
Oxford Review of Education, 35, 1.

LESSON 2 “The brain is often described in terms of two hemispheres, left and right, joined together by a mass of fibrers
known as the corpus callosum. These can further be divided into four lobes: the frontal, parietal, occipital
and temporal. Each lobe has been associated with a different set of cognitive functions. The frontal lobe may,
perhaps, be of particular interest to educators due to its involvement with many different aspects of reasoning
as well as movement. The temporal lobe is associated with some aspects of memory, as well as auditory skills.
The parietal lobes are heavily involved in integrating information from different sources and have also been
associated with some types of mathematical skill. The occipital lobes are critical regions for visual processing.
However, as we shall see, it is not advisable to consider any one part of the brain as being solely involved
with any one task. Any everyday task recruits a large and broadly distributed set of neural networks that
communicate with each other in a complex fashion. “

Lobes of the brain

LESSON 3 “In education, learners may be allocated to one of three types of learning style (Visual, Auditory or Kinesthetic
– VAK). Some believe that presenting material in a way that suits an individual’s preferred learning style can
improve their learning. (Note that it could also be argued that the reverse might also be helpful, as a remedial
intervention to improve processing associated with the other learning styles.) However, there is a considerable
scarcity of quality research to support the value of identifying learning styles66. A recent psychological
investigation of the VAK principle tested recall of information presented in the three different styles67. This study
showed no benefit from having material presented in one’s preferred learning style, concluding that attempts
to focus on learning styles were ‘wasted effort’.”

Critical Thinking Activity for Classroom Community Building by Julie “Jules” Troyer Ph.D.

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