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Brain Project Ideas for Psychology

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

Educate your high school students about the brain and psychology with these helpful hands-on project ideas. They will work cooperatively and use analytical abilities to better comprehend how psychologists study the brain.

Why the Brain?

The average human brain contains about 100 billion cells. While the study of the brain dates back over 3,000 years to ancient Egypt, the first psychology lab wasn't opened until 1879. By studying the intricacies of the human brain, psychologists hope to one day eradicate illnesses and allow patients to participate in society and have fulfilling lives. These projects are designed for high school students.

Famous Brain Cases

Materials: Internet devices, paper, writing utensils

  • Divide your students into five groups. Tell them they are going to become experts on the following five cases from the history of psychology:
    • Group One, you will be Team Phineas Gage - the remarkable case of Phineas Gage is one of the most famous in history, and will surely entertain as well as stun your students. He was working on the railroad when an iron rod went through his head, but he lived for about twelve more years.
    • Group Two, you will be Team Kim Peek - this amazing person was the inspiration for the Rain Man movie. Supposedly he read and memorized about 12,000 books, and had other amazing mental skills.
    • Group Three, you will be Team Chris Sizemore - this woman was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, and the movie The Three Faces of Eve chronicled her life.
    • Group Four, you will be Team H.M. Molaison - he had severe amnesia after surgery, and his brain is still studied by scientists after his death.
    • Group Five, You will be Team Anna O. - her name was actually Bertha Pappenheim, and Josef Breuer himself administered psychotherapy to her daily for 18 months. She went on to live a fruitful and rewarding life.
  • Now have them meet in their groups and research their respective person.
  • When they are done, have them meet back in one large group to share their stories.
  • Next, have each group write a one-act play using their research subject and act them out for the entire class.

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