The Dreaded MS-LS1-8
Use the standards as an opportunity to inspire your students with Hands-On Neuroscience!
Heads up: This one’s for our Middle School Science teachers working to meet NGSS. It’s also for anyone interested in how Neuroscience labs can be used to meet your own curriculum standards!
MS-LS1-8 is a reportedly tough standard to address. It is on an island, so to speak, as it doesn’t neatly tie in with the other standards and teachers we talk to say it is one of the trickier ones for them to plan classes and labs around.
Today we’re going to share a few labs and experimental tools which won’t just meet the standard, but will expose your students to advanced science made simple and open up new potential avenues for their future learning.
Introducing Neurons and Action Potentials
Step one, we’re throwing that “assessment boundary” out the window. Neurons aren’t just for your advanced students, they’re for all your students (After all, they are who they are because of their neurons)!
The “mechanism for the transmission of this information” is truly a very finite and demonstrable concept and is well within the scope of a MS Science Classroom. We believe, and have seen time and time again, that by first introducing students to Neurons, Action Potentials, and the concept of Rate Coding, they will be better prepared to think about how stimuli are processed by living creatures.
Introducing Neurons and Action Potentials
Neurons are responsible for the flow of information in vertebrate and invertebrate creatures. They process external stimuli and send signals to different parts of the body to issue commands.
With a few simple classroom activities, we can demonstrate these principals LIVE. It’s not just a video (Though the below TED talk is a great Primer). This is a real, hands-on neuroscience lab that has been freed from the tethers of higher-ed and made accessible to Middle School teachers like you.
Activity 1: Requirements 1a – Observing Live Action Potentials
Using our Neuron SpikerBox, you can record Action Potentials in your classroom and introduce your students to the basic chemical principals which are responsible for this phenomena. Here students will address requirements 1a and 1b as they study and learn about Neurons from the demonstration, our experiment page, and an educational site (.edu) of their choosing.
Activity 2: Requirements 1b – The Dancing Cockroach Leg
Following their introduction, students can perform their very own “Galvani Volta” microstimulation experiment (like you saw in the TED talk above). This is designed to get them to understand the causal relationship between received stimuli and behavior.
Activity 3: Requirement 2 – Report your Findings!
As you might have guessed from our TED talks, we think teaching is an important part of learning! The second requirement of MS-LS1-8 offers students the opportunity to synthesize what they’ve learned from their experiments and present their findings to the class. Who knows, maybe they’ll want to take their project to the next level and continue their research for a Science Fair!
Required Kit: Neuron SpikerBox
The Neuron Spikerbox (or, for the discerning educator, the Neuron SpikerBox Pro) is designed to replace a $40,000 rack of graduate lab equipment… We believe that by making technology like this more affordable (at $130, that’s about a 99.7% discount) and accessible, we can inspire a new generation of neuroscientists and make a positive impact on students’ scientific literacy, making them more informed consumers of scientific information and opening up avenues of study they might not have even known existed. Join us in the Neuro-Revolution!
No Bugs? No Problem!
While we truly believe in introducing these concepts with the framing of a model organism, many of these same principles may also be illustrated in humans. You’ll want to check out the above video and the Human-Human-Interface. Trust me, it’ll blow your students away.
But wait, there’s more… More Standards!
There are other opportunities to begin tackling the standards with hands-on neuroscience. Starting with students as young as 4th grade, these real-world experiments can be brought to life in the classroom to give your students a foundation in several important fields of science while also keeping the bureaucrats happy!
DCI: LS1.A, LS1.D
NGSS: 4-LS1-1, 4-LS1-2, MS-LS1-1, MS-LS1-2, MS-LS1-3
What will you and your students discover?