Brain-based learning has become the latest buzzword in education. But why has it become so popular? Well, the introduction of scientific equipment like the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine has revealed the insides of our body structures. Add some software, and the MRI becomes a functional MRI (fMRI). This multi-million dollar machine measures change in blood flow due to the iron in the blood flowing through activated areas of the brain. So, it can measure neural activity in the brain. It is one of the most recently developed forms of brain mapping which can be done while a conscious patient is thinking, seeing, listening, etc.
As teachers, we want to know how to improve student learning. We can now “watch” this learning as it happens! And what have scientists found? Some teaching strategies are VERY effective in activating large areas of the brain. These teaching strategies produce lessons that are not easily forgotten. Three of these that are sometimes missing in classrooms are movement, manipulatives, and music.
I’m Warren Phillips, recently inducted into the National Teachers Hall Of Fame, and I can assure you that after 35 years of teaching science, these strategies improved my classroom and created unforgettable lessons for my students. That’s why I wrote, performed and eventually recorded Sing-A-Long Science songs for each of the units that I taught. I added movements to these songs and great manipulatives (science toys!) from Educational Innovations for my students to use. This created a happy, fun, brain-friendly learning environment.
I’ve recently retired so that I could co-write a book called Science Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites with Marcia Tate (a brain-based educational specialist) and present workshops to teachers around the country. Check out the Sing-A-Long Science CD’s and see for yourself how fast your students can learn the periodic table, pH scale, photosynthesis, density, and many other difficult topics while having fun! Years later, your students will come back to visit you and recite these science concepts in a song.