Brain Activation Defined
What is brain activation?
Brain activation is exactly what it sounds like! Think exercise, but for your brain. Through specific sound, movement, breathing and guided thinking exercises, the activation and augment functioning of whole brain networks can be targeted.
Why is it helpful in a classroom setting?
We know the better the brain can communicate within itself, the better one’s overall functioning. When certain areas of the brain aren’t functioning optimally, daily life and learning can become more challenging. Therefore, brain activation in a classroom setting can help students optimize their learning.
The Benefits of Exercise
How does physical activity impact the brain?
Physical activity is not just beneficial for physical health, it can benefit the brain as well! Exercise promotes the creation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is a protein in the brain which helps neurons grow, mature and survive. Thus, it also plays a role in neuroplasticity. Research has shown that certain types of physical activity are linked with increased BDNF and improved cognitive functioning. Some studies even suggest that physical activity can serve as a protective factor against conditions involving cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
How can this be done in a classroom setting?
Educators can try to incorporate more physical activity into their daily classroom routines. A great way to start the day and get the students ready to learn would be with some aerobic activities (e.g. marching on the spot, going for a walk or a short job). BrainAhead’s Brain Bootcamp Video Series has 10 minute videos with movements designed to activate students’ brains. It has been shown to improve attention, decrease hyperactivity/impulsivity, and improve social emotional competencies in kindergarten through Grade 5 students.
The Importance of Educating Students
Why should students be educated on how their brain works?
Educating students about their brains helps them understand how they can handle challenges they are facing, and can increase “buy-in” for the strategies/activities being suggested to them. For example, if students are educated on the frontal cortex's ability to “put the brakes” on the limbic system and how this is accomplished, they are more likely to use strategies that activate the frontal cortex when they are stressed or need to self-regulate.
How can educators do this?
The BrainAhead program includes a toolbox for educators that contains useful information about the various courses we provide. Furthermore, the program's "Science" section provides educators with science-based lessons dedicated to educating students about the brain and how their life experiences can change the way they move, learn, and feel. BrainAhead posters can be used in the classroom for everyday learning and reference. The posters, which cover topics ranging from neuroplasticity to brain lobes, are an easy-to-understand resource for young students.
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