Experiment with Left Brain, Right Brain Dominance
In this science experiment, kids will explore which side of their brain is dominant.
The human brain is an amazing thing! It looks and feels like a sponge and weighs only three pounds, but it is in charge of your whole body. It controls things like your breathing, heart rate and muscle coordination, and is also the center for your thoughts and imagination.
Scientists who study the brain are called "neurologists." Though scientists have learned an enormous amount about how the brain works, there is still much to explore and discover. For example, scientists have proven that the left side of your brain controls the muscles on the right side of your body, and the right side of your brain controls the muscles on the left. (Only about 10% of the world's population is right-brain/left-side dominant.) They also believe that the left side of the brain controls many aspects of language and logic, while the right side tends to controls aspects of spatial information and visual comprehension. But the idea that left-brain dominant people are more likely to be objective, logical and objective, with strong math and analytical skills, while right-brain dominant people are more likely to be intuitive, thoughtful and objective, with strong creative skills, is largely now considered a myth. Instead, neurologists believe that the two sides of the brain are working together most of the time. But that doesn't mean that we don't all have unique and interesting brains that work in different ways!
Your brain has many different parts, including:
Cerebrum: This is the biggest part of the brain and makes up about 85% of the brain’s weight. It has grooves and folds in a pattern that differs for each person. Parts of the cerebrum help you see, hear, speak, think, have feelings, move your body, and more. The cerebrum has two sides: the left side controls the right side of your body, and the right side controls the left! You can tell which side of your brain is dominant just by looking at which side of your body you use most. So, if you are right-handed, you are left-brain dominant, and vice-versa. The left side also controls logic, while the right side controls creativity.
Cerebellum: This is at the back of the brain and is a lot smaller than the cerebrum. This is where your brain controls your balance, movement, and coordination.
Brain stem: This is found beneath the cerebrum and in front of the cerebellum. The brain stem connects the brain to the spinal cord that runs all the way down your back. This is where the brain controls the important functions that keep you alive. It controls things like breathing, digestion, and blood flow.
Hypothalamus: This is your body’s thermostat. If you get too hot, the hypothalamus will cause your body to sweat in order to cool you down. If you get too cold, the hypothalamus will cause you to shiver to warm yourself up.
Also, the brain is suspended in a fluid called the cerebro-spinal fluid, is surrounded by three tough layers called the meninges, and is encased in bone. Even then, it still needs protection with a helmet sometimes.
How can you keep your brain healthy? You should eat healthy foods (especially vegetables), exercise, wear a helmet when needed, and make sure you use your brain! To exercise your brain, you can do puzzles, read, play music, make art, etc.
- Ball - 1 total
- Spoon - 1 per student
- Stool - 1 total
- Piece of string - 1 total
- Paper or White board - 1 total
- Markers or Dry erase marker - 1 total
Draw a chart on a piece of paper or a white board that has all the names of the people participating in the experiment, with 4 columns next to each name. These columns will be used to record the results of each test during the experiment.
For the first test, the participants will use a spoon to pretend that they are eating. In the first column on the white board, record the results by writing down which hand each participant used to pretend to eat.
Next, the participants will line up and toss a ball underhand. In the chart, record which hand each participant used to toss the ball.
For the third test, the participants will stand in a line and, one by one, step on and over the stool. Record which foot each participant stepped up with.
Finally, the participants will step over a piece of string. Record which foot each participant stepped with.
The participants will now be able to use the chart on the white board to tell which side of their brain is more dominant: If the participants used the right side of their bodies more, they are left-brained. If they used their left side more, they are right-brained. Do your results match those of the general population, where only 10% are right-brain dominant?