Brain/Psychology

STEM Tuesday — Brain/Psychology — Writing Tips & Resources

The STEM Tuesday Gods Smiled.

The STEM Tuesday gods must be smiling on me.

First, the monthly Writing Tips & Resources posting rotation bestowed upon me the good fortune of October’s “Spooky & Scary Science” and now January’s “Brain/Psychology” as my topics. How lucky is it that both topics land smack dab in the middle of my wheelhouse?

The second example is I’ve been borderline obsessed the past few years with studying and reading about brain science, especially how it relates to cognition and creativity. Brain/Psychology as my topic landed in fertile ground. 

Several of my recent posts have documented this journey. My brain became hooked on brain studies in 2021 when I read and posted about a fascinating book by neuroscientist-turned-English professor Angus Fletcher called Wonderworks. In late 2022, I posted a piece called Creative Braining inspired by a fascinating Scientific American collection, Secrets of the Mind. The collection covers some of the latest developments in brain science and how they relate to cognition, processing, and recall. 

 

The common thread of my brain journey has been studying how we interact with the world and constantly input/output information in such a way it gives each one of us a unique relationship to the environment. We call the expression of that unique relationship our personality. The magnet at the core of this is that, as creators, what is put into our brains gets processed differently in individual brains and results in unique output. This uniqueness of personality manifests in that often vague term “creative voice”. 

That brings us to this month’s short and sweet STEM Tuesday Writing Tips & Resources tips. The focus is on experiencing more and better inputs to get more and better outputs. Improving our creator voice by expanding our experiences.

  1. Discover – Get out in the world and look for new things. Nature, museums, libraries, people-watching, walking, etc. are all great avenues for discovery.   
  2. Adventure – Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Something new and possibly a little scary can lead to new brain-processing connections and result in new associations/ideas.
  3. Experience –  Jump into the discoveries and adventures to get the visceral feel of something. It’s one thing to read or watch a video about a rollercoaster.  Riding a rollercoaster, however, is on a whole other visceral level.

That’s it! Short and simple tips for maximizing your creator’s brain. Push information and experience into your brain and your brain will take care of the rest. The brain will take all those discoveries, all those adventures, and all those experiences, process the data, store it, and then form the neural connections to allow you to produce output unique to you.

Happy Braining!

Nikolakhs, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Mike Hays has worked hard from a young age to be a well-rounded individual. A well-rounded, equal-opportunity sports enthusiast, that is. If they keep a score, he’ll either watch it, play it, or coach it. A molecular microbiologist by day, middle-grade author, sports coach, and general good citizen by night, he blogs about sports/training-related topics at  www.coachhays.com and writer stuff at  www.mikehaysbooks.comTwo of his science essays, The Science of Jurassic Park and Zombie Microbiology 101, are included in the Putting the Science in Fiction collection from Writer’s Digest Books. He can be found roaming around the X under the guise of @coachhays64 and on Instagram at @mikehays64.

 


The O.O.L.F Files

This month’s version of the O.O.L.F.(Out of Left Field) Files looks under the hood at the brain and psychology. 

The Creative Brain

Brain Central

Prehistoric Creative Braining for Survival – We’ve been creative braining since the dawn of man.

Psychology and Neuroscience

 


 

STEM Tuesday — Brain/Psychology — In the Classroom

The books I read for this month covered an interesting mix of brain science and psychology.

 

Your Amazing Brain: The Epic Illustrated Guide
by Jessica Sinarski, illustrated by Luiz Fernando Da Silva

This book gives a great explanation of how the brain works. It covers many of the different functions the brain is involved in.

 

Cutting-Edge Brain Science
by Buffy Silverman

To take a brief look at how scientists study brains and to get a glimpse of the future of brain science, read this book.

 

Detecting Brain Disorders
by Rachel Kehoe

When something goes wrong with the brain, there are many ways doctors can figure out what’s happened. This book looks at these different tools.

 

This is Your Brain on Stereotypes: How Science is Tackling Unconscious Bias
By Tanya Lloyd Kyi; Illustrated by Drew Shannon

This is a book that takes a closer look at psychology. It specifically looks at how people develop and react to stereotypes and how they may be able to counteract them.

 

There is so much that can be done with this topic (or rather collection of topics). Most of the books have activities to try and/or resources to explore. Here are a few additional ideas.

Make a Brain Hat

If you’re looking for a great way to explore which parts of the brain do what, here’s the activity for you! Students can color and cut out the brain hemisphere hat. It shows what functions happen where in the brain. Since they can wear the result, they can get a really great idea of how their brain works. Sound awesome?! Here’s the link: https://homeschoolgiveaways.com/free-printable-brain-hemisphere-hat

Explore Your Bias

Take one or more areas of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) covered in This Is Your Brain on Stereotypes. Here is the link: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit There are tests for many different possible biases. What did you think of your results?

Conduct an Experiment

There are lots of experiments that can explore brain science and psychology. They can be a lot of fun, too.

Science Buddies guides students through science experiments. They have an entire collection of brain science/psychology experiments: https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/science-projects/experiment-in-psychology/middle-school

Other ideas for experiments can be found at the sites below. For a guide on how to conduct a psychology experiment, check out this page: https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-conduct-a-psychology-experiment-2795792

Experiment Ideas

More Activities

Other web sites have collections of activities that explore brain science. Here are a few.


Janet Slingerland is the author of over 20 books for young readers. You can find her online at http://janetsbooks.com. She is also now on Bluesky: https://bsky.app/profile/janetslingerland.bsky.social.

STEM Tuesday — Brain/Psychology — Book List

 

 

The brain is one of the most fascinating organs of the body. Here are some books that will help you understand and appreciate our brain just that little bit more.

 

 

Your Amazing Brain: The Epic Illustrated Guide

by Jessica Sinarski and Luiz Fernando Da Silva

Written in kid-friendly comic-book format, and using a wide range of characters, this book not only tells the reader how the brain works, but also how to make it work for you.

 

 

 

Psychology for Kids: The Science of the Mind and Behavior By Jacqueline B. Toner, Claire A. B. Freeland Cover Image

 

Psychology for Kids: The Science of the Mind and Behavior

by Jacqueline B. Toner and Claire A.B. Freeland

Why do we sleep? What are feelings? How do we make decisions? This book introduces children to the science of the mind. With hands-on experiments and illustrations, it is a perfect first step into the fascinating science of psychology.

 

 

 

Cover of Big Brain Book

 

Big Brain Book: How It Works and All Its Quirks

By Leanne Boucher Gill

An engaging book that’s a great introduction to psychology and neuroscience. Why can’t we hear dog whistles? Why is there always room for dessert? Why can’t we tickle ourselves? The book answers all these questions and much more.

 

 

 

Cover: Your Brain: Understanding Your Body's Control Center

Your Brain: Understanding Your Body’s Control Center

by Jeff Szpirglas

Want to know more about the structures and functions of the brain?  This is the book for you. Learn about the different parts of the brain and how they work. Hands-on investigations will help readers understand how the brain works processing information.

 

 

 

 

braingames

 

Brain Games

by Jennifer Swanson

In this interactive book, a companion to the National Geographic show, children learn all about the most powerful and complex supercomputer every built – our brain. The fun facts, challenges, and colorful illustrations are great for inquisitive minds.

 

 

 

Cutting-Edge Brain Science

by Buffy Silverman

The most recent trends in brain science come from science fiction. How? Researchers use artificial intelligence and neuron mapping to understand our brain’s machinery. It is after all, the most complex computer we know of!  Explore how what you eat affects your brain, and what robotic arms might have to do with our minds with this interesting book.

 

 

 

Brain and Behavior

Brain & Behavior (The Human Machine)

by Linda Bozzo

Discover more about the brain and how it affects behavior. Learn how and why scientists study the brain; the most complex organ in our body.

 

 

 

 

Detecting Brain Disorders By Rachel Kehoe Cover Image

Detecting Brain Disorders

by Rachel Kehoe

Doctors have wonderful tools and technology to help them find and diagnose problems with the brain. This book will amaze you with all the fascinating information. It includes a glossary, quiz questions and other resources to help readers dig deep into the world of the brain.

 

 

 

 

Wonderfully Wired Brains by Louise Gooding

Wonderfully Wired Brains: An Introduction to the World of Neurodiversity

Written by a neurodiverse author, this book challenges stereotypes about neurodiversity, and shows how neurodivergent brains work differently, and how every brain is unique.

 

 

 

 

 

this_is_your_brain_on_stereotypes

 

This is Your Brain on Stereotypes: How Science is Tackling Unconscious Bias

By Tanya Lloyd Kyi; Illustrated by Drew Shannon

The science behind stereotypes – how our brains form stereotypes, and how recognizing them can help us be less biased. It addresses discrimination, racism, sexism, ableism and homophobia. An essential book!’

 

 

 

Different Kinds of Minds by Temple Grandin, Ph.D.

Different Kinds of Minds: A Guide to Your Brain

by Temple Grandin, adapted by Ann D. Koffsky

What you like and what you are good at can give you clues to how your brain works. Do you like puzzles? Writing stories? Acting in plays? All of these activities, and more, give us information about how the brain works.  Discover all kinds of minds, and how different types of thinkers can help solve real-world problems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shruthi Rao is an author. Her home on the web is https://shruthi-rao.com

 

 

 

Susan Summers is a wildlife enthusiast and an author. Contact her at: https://susan-inez-summers.weebly.com/