Brain 101

Build your brain muscle!


The brain is an incredibly powerful, super computer whose total capability is just starting to be understood. Modern technology and advanced research methods are illuminating the beauty and complexity of our brains everyday.


One of the fundamental challenges we face in education is learning how to learn. We all have these incredible brains but how do we use them? How do they work? Does our brain grow or develop like the other parts of our body? Are we in control of how it develops?

These are all great questions. Lets take a look at some things that we currently know about our amazing brains.


We all have one.

Its the same size and shape as everybody else's brain.

It has the same parts as other brains...even Einstein's.

However, the "genius" brain has more connections or "wires" that enable it to move information faster and to engage more of your brain's capacity. (The Neural Pathway)

These wires can be developed just like a muscle. We could all be geniuses.


So, if those things are do we build the brain muscle? How do we develop those wires?


Here are the two simplest ways to do it:


1. Use your body.

The body generates the electricity your brain needs to power its massive amount of activity. Think of your body as the power plant for your brain. When you use and engage your body you create the energy required to build those new "wires". More wires = more brain capacity.


2. Try new things.

Babies are the ultimate learning machine. Everyday they explore an exciting new world. They investigate everything with all of their senses. Every time that we try something new we fire up a new connection. When we practice that new behavior the connections get stronger and deeper...eventually becoming a habit...or something that we can do comfortably. Try new things everyday to keep your brain developing. Talk to new people. Go to new places. Try a new sport. Try a new musical instrument. Challenge your brain with new experiences and reap the rewards.


Here are two books that we recommend to further your understanding of how the brain works and develops:




Spark by Dr. John Ratey


SPARK is a groundbreaking exploration of the connection between exercise and the brain’s performance that shows how even moderate exercise will supercharge mental circuits to beat stress, sharpen thinking, enhance memory, and much more.


SPARK will change forever the way you think about your morning run---or, for that matter, simply the way you think.




Brain Rules by John Medina


Multitasking is the great buzz word in business today, but as developmental molecular biologist Medina tells readers in a chapter on attention, the brain can really only focus on one thing at a time. This alone is the best argument for not talking on your cellphone while driving. Medina (The Genetic Inferno) presents readers with a basket containing an even dozen good principles on how the brain works and how we can use them to our benefit at home and work. The author says our visual sense trumps all other senses, so pump up those PowerPoint presentations with graphics. The author says that we don't sleep to give our brain a rest—studies show our neurons firing furiously away while the rest of the body is catching a few z's. While our brain indeed loses cells as we age, it compensates so that we continue to be able to learn well into our golden years.
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