Expository Lesson for Brain Freeze | 123Read&Write



This simplistic, yet thought challenging expostory lesson for middle school students looks at ways the human brain reacts under pressure. 

This lesson for 8th grade students (although it could be adjusted for many other grade levels) started with a reading of the article Train Your Brain to Excel Under Pressure, by Megan Johnson, from U.S. News & World Report (December 2010). A portion of the article is shown below as a reference. 

After reading and discussing the article, the students made posters broken into a grid; each grid requiring a high level thinking activity to coincide with the article.

Grid 1 - Questioning Notes

Here the students turned the title and each topic sentence withing the article into a question on one side of the paper. Then on the other side, they found the answer to that question in the article.

Example: Why did Jan Brewer freeze up during her speech?

Answer: Stress did not allow her prefrontal cortex to function properly, causing what’s known as “brain freeze.”

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Grid 2 - Interactive Vocabulary

The students had to decide on four words either they or someone else reading the article may find difficult to understand. Then, they had to complete the interactive vocabulary model for each of the four words.

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Grid 3 - Generation Station

This portion was a simple graphic organizer where the student groups had to decide on the three most important words from the text. Then they had to vote on which word was the most important of the three. Once this word was chosen, they had to incorporate the word into a claim statement and write a 6 - 8 sentence paragraph with evidence from the text supporting the claim.

Example: The chosen word was pressure.

Generated Claim Statement: Pressure effects the manner in which our brain is able to function properly.

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Grid 4 - Text Feature Analysis

This section required the students to look at the article for various text features utilized by the author. It was broken down into three distinct sections: typography, color, and images.

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Grid 5 -  Draw the Text

This portion of the grid simply asks the students “what image do you see in your mind after reading this particular article?” Now, when you see it . . . draw it.

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Grid 6 - Sensory Notes

Here the students indicate how allowing your brain to become “frozen” under pressure or stress can effect your other senses (i.e. the sense of touch could be sweaty hands). To complete, the students made a five column t-chart to fill in.

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Center Grid - Article Researched and CSI

To complete the poster, the students put the article researched in the center and completed a Color, Symbol, Image Visible Thinking strategy to culminate the activity. 

C = What color do you envision after reading this article?

S = What symbol comes to mind after reading this article?

I = What image comes to mind after reading this article?

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Photo Album of Finished Posters

PaperArtist 2014-10-25 18-32-01