Academic journal article The Science Teacher

The Brain

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

The Brain

Article excerpt

The Brain

By Carla Mooney.

$17.95. 119 pp.

Nomad Press. White River Junction, VT. 2015. ISBN: 9781619302785.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The brain, sometimes in the news when athletes suffer a concussion on the playing field, is the star of this wonderfully engaging book. This 1.3 kg, jellylike mass of tissue in the head is the master control for all parts of the body,

Traditional textbooks on the brain are often too complicated for high school and middle school students, but this book, in seven chapters, clearly explains facts and concepts about brain structure and activity. The book opens with a timeline of historical developments in brain understanding, then presents brain anatomy and physiology, explaining how brain developments are affected by genes and environment, especially as they relate to epigenetic changes and brain plasticity.

The author reveals interesting details about memory, including why we lose our earliest memories, why some skills are not learned early, and how memories are processed and encoded. The book notes that, because parts of memories are stored in different brain areas, brain trauma may affect only a portion of memory.

The important processes of sensation and perception are detailed, revealing the different brain areas involved, the way sensations are carried to the brain, and how the senses work together. Emotions and feelings are also explored as are the limbic system and the role of neurotransmitters. Language and communication are complex processes involving interaction of many parts of the brain and are explained in a way that helps students appreciate the complexity of brain activity. …

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