Learning About Learning
Written by Jacqueline Barber,
Kevin Beals, Lincoln Bergman, and Marion C. Diamond
How, as individuals, do humans learn? What hinders and helps
our learning? Do animals learn in a similar way? How, as a community
of humans, do we learn things that are important for survival?
Does the structure of our brains change as we learn?
Learning About Learning jumps headlong into these and
other questions to investigate the process of how we acquire,
assess, and retain information. In this interdisciplinary guide,
students delve into the human organism and nervous system, animal
behavior, health and safety issues, product testing, and the ethics
of experimentation. In the process, they learn a great deal about
what scientists actually do.
Through this truly unique series of rich and varied activities,
stories, and articles, students gain insight into the topic of
learning and the marvels of the human brain. The unit also models
teaching approaches that take into account different learning
styles and the idea of "multiple intelligences." Many
teachers present these activities at the start of the school term
so students can apply their new consciousness about their own
learning and the workings of the brain over the rest of the year.
The unit begins with irresistible maze-making activities. In
two different sessions, students role-play wolf pups seeking their
own pack and determining which foods are safe to eat. An intriguing
mystery scenario focuses on health issues (including a compelling
message against sniffing glue and other solvents). In other sessions,
student-scientists simulate the pioneering work of Dr. Marian
Diamond on the impact of enriched and impoverished environments
on brain development. A closing play ties the many strands of
the unit together in a novel and memorable way.
Praise for Learning About Learning:
"I am writing to commend you on an excellent unit. For the
past two weeks I have implemented Learning About Learning
in my classroom. It has proven to be a great way to start off
the school year. Normally I modify materials extensively before
I use them with students. However, the materials in this guide
were perfect the way they were. The comments regarding preparation
and presentation were extremely helpful. Thank you for producing
such a wonderful product."
Teacher, San Antonio, TX
Comment on this GEMS unit.