Information for Students

Project BrainstormAre you interested in teaching school kids about the brain? Do you want to get some teaching experience while showing kids why the brain is important?!


UCLA can give you academic credit for this service by enrolling in the Neuroscience 192 course. Students will connect their academics and the real world using their community experiences, gain some teaching experience at the K-12 level, improve writing and communicating skills, and explore options for using a science degree after graduation. Additionally, internships help you embellish your CV, as well as obtain letters of recommendation for grad/med/vet school. This course will give you 4 P/NP general units. You are expected to put in 4-6 hours a week of work, which include weekly writing assignments, informal group meetings and culminating with school visits.


Lesson Plan: Students will be paired and assigned a grade/high school class to teach. Based on the age group of their class, they will prepare a relevant 1 hour lesson plan that will showcase the structure and function of the nervous system. Lesson plans are due 4th week and will will consist of three parts:

1) A 5 minute introduction of the nervous system, which will include background information. You must talk about gross anatomy (the principal lobes, cerebellum and brain stem), comparative anatomy and structure/function of a neuron.

2) A 10 minute presentation that places the brain-in-perspective (Why is it important? How can you damage it? Etc?). These topics are appropriate for the following age groups:

Elementary school (grades 1-5; 5-9 years): senses, memory and learning, motor systems and reflexes (spinal cord), brain injury

Middle school (grades 6-8; 10-13 years): all of the previous, plus sleep and dreaming, handedness, creativity.

High school (grades 9-12; 14-18 years): all of the previous, plus drugs and the brain, stress and the brain, gender differences in the brain, and circadian rhythms.
NOTE. Presentation topics cannot be repeated by two different groups (However this may vary depending on the class size).

3) A 30+ minute hands-on practicum that will include teaching props, brain models and real animal and human brains. There will be a total of 4 stations as follows:

a) Animal evolution
b) Dura matter, spinal cord
c) Whole brain, hemispheres
d) Free. Undergraduates will develop a station that is relevant to their brain-in-perspective topic.

Writing Assignments: Students are required to write 1-2 page (double-spaced) journals outlining the progress of their lesson plans and/or the teaching experience. They are due Monday by 5 pm. NO journals will be accepted past this date and time. Students can turn in journals via e-mail to the listed address. A final written assignment will be due at the end of the quarter, which should be a 2-3 page instructive lesson plan on their project formatted so that others (teachers, students, faculty) would be able to implement their lesson. Writing assignments total about 20% of your final grade.

Group Meetings: Students will meet with the Project Brainstorm coordinators for four sessions during the quarter to discuss and present their lesson plans. These sessions will run between 1-2 hours. Additional one-on-one appointments with either coordinator may be necessary to finalize your lesson plans or discuss further developments in your internship. Schedule these individual appointments directly with the TAs. Attendance and participation constitute about 20% of your grade.

Classroom Teaching: Towards the end of the quarter, each group will present their lesson plans to the school grade they were assigned at the beginning of the quarter. Every student is expected to attend at least 2 teaching sessions to help out with the hands-on practicum (min. of 3 teaching sessions in all). Please be advised that you require some flexibility during these weeks, to visit the schools during the days and times that they allow us. The teaching practicum accounts for 40% of your final grade.

Please contact us with questions or concerns. We look forward to working with you!