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Watch the Brain Learn

Discussion:

The more frequently we are called on to do a certain task, the easier the task becomes. This is because our brain learns by doing. Each time we repeat a task, nerve cell connections in our brains are strengthened. This means that the brain doesn't have to figure out a problem from the beginning each time because it has already learned how to get to the answer.

Materials:

  • jigsaw puzzle of no more than 12 pieces (preferably one new to the class)
  • clock with second hand

Procedure:

Time a volunteer doing the jigsaw puzzle and record the score on the board. Have the same person do the puzzle two more times, timing her/him each time.

How are the person's times different? Did they improve the more times the person did the puzzle? If the answer is yes, it means the puzzle doer's brain learned how to do the task. If the answer is no, her/his brain is still learning and needs to keep trying. Remember, what is easy for one person may be difficult for another - and vice versa.

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