Amazing AmMy Brain! DID YOU KNOW..

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1 My Amazing Brain! DID YOU KNOW...

2 3 Your Amazing Brain 4-5 How your Amazing Brain Works 6 7 Left Brain, Right Brain 8 Brain Facts 9 Senses 10 Look after your Brain 11 What Does a Brain Scientist Do? MY AMAZING BRAIN! This information booklet has been produced with the generous support of the trustees of The Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust. Thank you! Copyright of this booklet is reserved by the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand. Copies may be made, provided the source is acknowledged and there is no profit involved.

3 Let s get to know each other better... Your Amazing Brain! Your brain is the control centre for your entire body! Because our brains are very soft, they sit in a very hard protective shell called your skull. Our brains weigh about half a kilogram at birth, about 900 grams at the age of six or seven, and 1.3 kilos when we are grown up. Your brain is around 2% of your whole body s weight, but uses 20% of its energy. That s why it s very important to eat a healthy and balanced diet. Your brain keeps on growing until you are about 20 years old. The brain is where all of your memories are stored. When you learn something new, like how to ride a bike or sing a new song, your brain stores this new information so you can remember it for next time! 3

4 How your Amazing Brain Works 4 Your brain works just like a sports team all of the parts of the brain work together but each has a different job to do. Here are three of the most important team members in the brain: 1. THE CEREBRUM (se - re - brum). This is the biggest player on the brain team. The cerebrum makes up over three quarters of your brain s weight, and helps you to read, work out maths problems, practice your favourite dance moves and draw pictures. Very importantly, it also stores memories so once you have learned something new, it remembers for next time!

5 The cerebrum is made up of two halves, called hemispheres (hem iss fears) there is a left half and a right half. Some scientists believe that the left half is the practical side, helping you to speak, solve problems and make decisions (which shoes should I wear today?). And they believe that the right side is the creative part of your brain helping you to sing to music, paint a rainbow and make up a story. The right half of your cerebrum controls the left side of your body and the left half controls the right side of your body! 2. THE CEREBELLUM (se re bell um). The cerebellum is at the back of your brain. It is a small player but has very big responsibilities. The cerebellum helps to control your balance (standing on one foot), your movement (walking, running, eating!) and co-ordination (throwing a ball to your friend or doing a plié at ballet class). 3. THE BRAIN STEM. This is another small but very important team member. The brain stem sits underneath the cerebrum and connects your brain to the spinal cord which runs all the way down your neck and back. The brain stem has the job of controlling your breathing and heart beat, the circulation of blood around your body, and making sure you digest your food properly so you have energy. The brain stem also makes sure all of the messages your brain cells send to each other are received clearly! 5

6 THINKING ARTS MATHS LANGUAGE Right brain CREATIVE MUSIC LOGIC 6 Left brain FEELINGS RHYTHM DISCOVERING IMAGINATION

7 Try this LEFT BRAIN/RIGHT BRAIN exercise! Look at the chart below and say the COLOUR not the word. Your right brain will try to say the COLOUR while the left brain will read the word. yellow black pinkred purple orange blue green 7

8 Brain FACTS I m a neuron. I send messages to other neurons in your brain to process and store information! Your brain is more complex and clever than the biggest and fastest super-computer! 8 Your brain is ALWAYS working even when you are asleep. Neurons are VERY tiny around 10,000 can fit on the head of a pin. Your brain needs oxygen to stay alive. After five minutes without oxygen, brain cells begin to die, causing injury. Your brain contains around 100 BILLION neurons! Neurons are the main cells that make up your brain, and they send and receive messages and information around your brain and body. Each neuron has tiny branches on it to help send messages to other neurons. If you stand on a prickle, neurons send messages down through your spinal cord to your feet with the message pull away quickly!

9 Senses Your brain controls your five senses: SIGHT, HEARING, TOUCH, SMELL, TASTE. Our senses help us to make our way safely around our environment each day and to learn things. Here are some fun facts: Your eyes and brain work together cleverly so you can see light, colours and measure distance (so you don t walk into a lamp-post!). There are hundreds of sensory cells in our nasal passage which work with the brain to detect smells. Some are GOOD, like a cake baking, and some NOT so good, like a rotten egg! While your ears pick up the sounds around you, it is your brain that makes sense of the sounds. Together your ears and brain sense sound waves and vibrations so we can hear and sense danger, like a barking dog (or your little sister coming into your room!). Our sense of taste comes from the taste buds on our tongue. The sense of smell also affects our taste you might have noticed that if you have cold, you can t taste as well as you normally do. Our tongue is only able to taste four different qualities: sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Our sense of touch is spread throughout our entire body. Nerve endings in our skin and other parts of our body send information to the brain so we can feel touch. There are four kinds of touch sensation: cold, heat, pain and pressure (like when someone taps on your shoulder). Did you know? Dogs and sharks have a very strong sense of smell, and cats are able to see in very dim light. Butterflies have taste organs on their feet! SENSES quiz Which sense do you use for each of these? The lemon is sour The flower is has a sweet perfume The bath is warm The yellow bus is driving past The bee is buzzing 9

10 Eat lots of healthy foods My favourite healthy foods are: Get a lot of playtime and exercise My favourite activities and sports are: Always wear a helmet when you ride your bike or scooter, or when you play other sports where your head might be knocked Always wear your seatbelt If you hurt your head, tell a grown up straight away Get plenty of sleep! I need to go to bed at (draw on the clock face) Look after your brain Look after your brain 10

11 What does a brain scientist do? A brain scientist studies how the brain works and what happens in the brain when things go wrong. Brain scientists are also known as neuroscientists and they study for a very long time before they become qualified. A brain scientist can decide to study a special area of research that they are interested in. For example, they might focus on memory, or pain, or diseases of the brain or they might do basic brain research that helps other brain scientists around the world to understand exactly how our brain works. We know a lot about the brain, but because the brain is VERY complicated, there is LOTS more to learn! The Neurological Foundation The Neurological Foundation raises money (this is called fundraising) so brain scientists can do their work and one day help people with brain disorders to live better lives. We care very much about brains! 11

12 66 Grafton Road, Grafton, Auckland 1010 PO Box , Auckland City Hospital, Auckland 1148 Phone Fax Freephone 0508 BRAINS ( ) This information booklet has been produced with the generous support of the trustees of The Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust.

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