This is the high school version of activity #1: The truth about your brain. There are 3 parts to this LearnStorm growth mindset activity. To assign the activity to your class, assign all 3 parts.  
Activity 1: The truth about your brain
At the end of this activity you will be able to
  • understand how your brain changes and grows when you challenge yourself to learn new things.

How to grow your brain

Forty years ago, we seemed to know more about the Moon than we did about how our own brains work. Not anymore! We're excited to share some new discoveries with you. So, how does the brain work?

Neuroplasticity: Your brain can change.

Since humankind started studying our own brains, we have tried to quantify the capacity of the brain and how intelligent, or smart, someone is. The real question, though, is not if you're smarter than someone else, but whether you can be smarter than you are today.
Yes, no matter how smart you are now, you can always make yourself smarter. There is no limit to how smart you can be and smartness is a process.
How do we know that your smartness can increase and that your brain can get stronger? There's a concept called neuroplasticity researched by Dr. Michael Merzenich, who was a professor at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Merzenich has done extensive studies mapping and doing CT scans on the brains of a person, a monkey, and a rat as they learn a skill. He’s noticed that—regardless of age or species—brains have the ability to change themselves to fit their owners' needs. The brain can change in response to thoughts and behaviors and is often influenced by environment.
Your neurons can rewire, become more dense, and—with the right effort and learning strategies—your brain can adapt and change making you smarter.

You are your own example.

The biggest example of brain growth is you.
Think about when you were born. There are many skills you know now that you didn't know when you were born. Some of these skills are very simple; some of them are very complex, and you may be still learning them.
Speaking, walking, tying your shoes, reading, and writing are just a few examples of everything your brain has grown to learn. You can learn anything!
Brain with weights

Take a moment to reflect.

  • Name a skill that you know now and can do smoothly that you couldn't do when you were born.
  • How does your brain look different from when you were born, when you were learning that skill, and now?
You have completed part 1 of 3 for this activity.
These activities are part of the LearnStorm 2018 program and you will earn a badge and LearnStorm progress for your class for completing all 3 parts of an activity.