Lesson Plan: Brain Play: Mapping the Brain
Curriculum Alignment
NextGen Science Standards

LS1.A: Structure and Function

Animals have body parts that capture and convey different kinds of information needed for growth and survival. Animals respond to these inputs with behaviors that help them survive. Plants also respond to some external inputs.

Learning Objective

The brain has different parts that do different things.



In this lesson, your students can create a visual map of the parts of the brain along with the functions associated with each. You will discuss some ideas about how one task or activity may use more than one part of the brain. Then, groups will create a mural to depict some of the ideas.


Before the Lesson:

Decide on the sizes of the work groups. A group of 4-6 students is recommended but your situation may vary.

Print a diagram for each group, and have a large piece of butcher paper or other large paper available for each group.

You’ll need markers, crayons, pencils or other materials for students to draw. They may also need tape or glue. .

Have some scrap paper available for students who might want to draft ideas before drawing on the large paper.

Optional: Colored material such as string, tape, yarn, in green, purple, red, yellow, blue, and green.




Start by watching the video Brain Play, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPFKwu_quxI where students will meet the parts of the brain and learn about the function of each part. Since this app serves as a connector for all of the Neuro Play Adventures, you may use it to also introduce each of the games listed below.


Discuss what students remember and have learned about the parts of the brain. Ask students which parts they use at recess. Which do they use when doing a writing activity? There are many ways the students’ answers can be correct here, with so many ways the brain is useful!


Ask ‘Why do you say that’ when a student gives a response, and find out more about how the student is thinking about the brain part.


Here are more questions to expand the conversation:

  •  Which parts do you use without knowing?
  •  Which parts do you use at recess?
  •  Ask they have ideas about the parts working together.


Here are some examples.

  •  Making up a dance: Planning and coming up with ideas for a dance uses the cerebral cortex, while performing it involves the cerebellum
  • Telling a story: The amygdala and hippocampus can work together because your feelings about something will influence how you store the memory.
  • Solving a math problem: You might use your hippocampus to remember math facts while also using your cerebral cortex to think of how to come up with a way to solve a math problem.


When you think students are ready with some of their own ideas about the functions and roles of the brain parts, have them break into groups and distribute the project materials.


Tell the students

We are going to put our brains to work to draw a cartoon or illustration of someone (it can be you) using at least one part of their brain. Have each student draw a picture such as doing a dance or feeling an emotion, and then label which part of the brain the character is using.


Optional: Use some colored material such as embroidery floss, yarn or even colored masking tape to connect the examples to an area of the brain


Suggested colors for these materials:

  • To connect to Brainstem: Green
  • To connect to Cerebellum: Yellow
  • To connect to Cerebral Cortex: Blue
  • To connect to Amygdala: Red
  • To connect to Hippocampus: Purple.

Discuss the ideas and encourage students to continue to think about the parts of the brain and how they use them throughout each day. Hang the mural in your classroom and if you wish, you can continue to add to it as you think of new ideas.

Further Exploration:

Use the information-packed videos set to fun music available on Youtube to give students many more examples of how brain parts help.

If possible, make these videos available to students to explore independently during center time with a tablet or computer. 

Movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzXVYhLVRRo

Feelings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYHAl7Szj0I

Memory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvjrqOTNa8Y

Breathing and Heart Beat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdcWjQXIE04

Creativity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkGBxAW-4gY

Download Printables
Web Resources

Here are some other diagrams and visuals you may wish to review, either as background for you or as an introduction for students.

Mayo Clinic Slide Show: How the Brain Works: http://www.mayoclinic.org/brain/sls-20077047
WebMD Brain and Nervous System Illustrations: http://www.webmd.com/brain/picture-of-the-brain