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Human Machine    Mystery 4

Mystery 4 image

Students explore the brain’s role in receiving information from the senses, processing that information, and controlling the muscles to enable movement. In the activity, students test their reflexes and develop a mental model of how their brain works.

How does your brain control your body?

Beginning Exploration (1 of 13)
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Beginning Exploration (2 of 13)

TRY THIS OUT! Look below for tips. Then go to the next slide.

Hole in Hand demonstration

  • Keep both eyes open — with one eye looking through the tube and the other eye looking at your hand.
  • Keep your hand right against the tube.
  • Try different distances between your hand and your eye.
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Beginning Exploration (3 of 13)

DISCUSS:

Why did it look like there was a hole in your hand? Any ideas?

Hint...

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Beginning Exploration (4 of 13)
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Beginning Exploration (5 of 13)

QUICK EXPERIMENT (PART 1 of 4)
Teacher: choose a volunteer to quickly read these words out loud to the class.

Stroop Effect Test

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Beginning Exploration (6 of 13)

QUICK EXPERIMENT (PART 2 of 4)
Teacher: have the same volunteer say the COLOR of each word out loud. What do you notice?

Stroop Effect Test

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Beginning Exploration (7 of 13)

QUICK EXPERIMENT (PART 3 of 4)
Now everyone try! Get into partners. Listen as your partner reads the words out loud. Then switch jobs.

Stroop Effect Test

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Beginning Exploration (8 of 13)

QUICK EXPERIMENT (PART 4 of 4)
Now listen as your partner says the COLOR of each word. Make sure they get them all right! Then switch jobs.

Stroop Effect Test

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Beginning Exploration (9 of 13)

DISCUSS:

Which task was harder--reading the words, or saying the colors?


Why do you think that one was so hard to do?

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Beginning Exploration (10 of 13)
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Beginning Activity Prep
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Activity Prep

Get supplies and printouts.

This mystery includes two very quick experiments (Hole in Your Hand and Color Words) and one more involved activity/experiment (Think Fast!).

To do all three experiments, students will need:

  • a sheet of paper (notebook paper or typing paper) — one for each student
  • a wooden or plastic ruler (one for each pair of students)
  • a table or desk
  • “Think Fast!” handout (one for each student)
Beginning Activity: Think Fast!
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Beginning Activity: Think Fast!
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Beginning Activity: Think Fast!
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Beginning Activity: Think Fast!
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Beginning Activity: Think Fast!
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Beginning Activity: Think Fast!
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Beginning Activity: Think Fast!
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Beginning Activity: Think Fast!
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Beginning Activity: Think Fast!
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Beginning Activity: Think Fast!
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Beginning Exploration (11 of 13)
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Beginning Complete!

You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

If you have more time, view the assessment, reading and extension activity in the optional extras.

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Optional Extras

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration which you just completed.

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Readings:

These Common-Core-aligned readings are free with registration on ReadWorks. All readings include comprehension questions.

  • **The Human Body You’ve Got Some Nerve! — Nerves carry information to your brain. (Grade 3)
  • What’s Inside? — What does your brain do? (Grade 5)
  • **Rise up — This lengthy article describes how a car accident paralyzed a man and how a medical treatment enabled him to stand and take steps again. (Grade 5)
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Activity: Catch a dollar bill

dollardrop Try the “Think Fast” activity again -- but instead of a ruler, use a dollar bill. Start with the catcher’s thumb and finger in the middle of the bill. Remind the catcher that they can’t move until they SEE the bill drop.

The typical human reaction time is about ¼ second. That’s long enough for the 6-inch bill to fall completely through the catcher's fingers!

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Online resources — Test your reflexes

These online simulations let you find out how quickly you can react in two very different situations.

  • Slap Shot lets you practice reacting like a hockey goalie. Use the arrow keys on the keyboard to choose where to block (left, right, up, or down).

  • Zap a Fly lets you see how you'd do as a hungry frog, trying to catch a fly for dinner. Test your reflexes with sight and with sound.

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