Academic journal article Science Scope

This Is Your Brain: Teaching about Neuroscience and Addiction Research

Academic journal article Science Scope

This Is Your Brain: Teaching about Neuroscience and Addiction Research

Article excerpt

By Terra Nova Learning Systems. 2012. 287 pp. $24.95. NSTA Press. Arlington, VA. ISBN: 9781933531229

This book's subtitle may remind veteran teachers of the "Just Say No" campaign against drug use from several decades ago. How are the 10 lessons in this collection different than other educational programs intended to help students understand drugs and addiction? The authors describe the structure of the brain, explore how neuroscience research is done, and discuss what this research tells us about addiction. There is a section on the use of animals for medical research, and an opportunity for students to explore the value of and ethical issues involved with this approach. Students can compare the methods used in various studies, such as computer simulations, cell cultures, MRI and PET scans, and genetic research.

Teachers boxed in by a tight and tested curriculum may ask, "Do I have time to do these 10 lessons?" If the middle school curriculum separates health objectives from science, many science teachers might hesitate, although there are links provided showing how the lessons relate specifically to the various National Science Education Standards. The information in the book is valuable, and certainly the underlying rationale of preventing students from using drugs is germane. Particular lessons can be implemented without using the entire 287-page book, or lessons can be employed in partnership with a school's health education faculty. …

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