What should everyone learn about the brain?
At the national level, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) describes what adults should know in its seminal work Science for All Americans. AAAS also recommends learning goals for K‑12 students in its Benchmarks for Science Literacy[2,3], and Atlas of Science Literacy[4,5], and the National Research Council (NRC) offers a similar set of goals in its National Science Education Standards. States and school districts use the AAAS and NRC recommendations as a basis for the design of their own standards, which then inform the development of curriculum and assessment materials (those commercially developed as well as those developed with grant funds). In addition, the neuroscience community has developed its own set of core concepts that K‑12 students and the general public should know about the brain and nervous system and has correlated those concepts to the national standards.
Between the AAAS and NRC recommendations, there are some areas of broad consensus on what students should know. According to AAAS’s Benchmarks and Atlas, for example, students in the elementary to middle school grades should understand the following ideas:
- The brain enables human beings to think and sends messages to other body parts to help them work properly.
- The brain gets signals from all parts of the body telling it what is happening in each part. The brain also sends signals to parts of the body to influence what they do.
- Interactions among the senses, nerves, and brain make possible the learning that enables human beings to predict, analyze, and respond to changes in their environments.
The National Research Council’s Standards offers very similar concepts in [Read more…] about The Brain in Science Education: What Should Everyone Learn?