Tag Archives: Brain

Learning Transfer (EXERCISE)


Audience
Children, Teens or Adults

Time
30 minutes

Description
This activity helps teachers, presenters, facilitators and trainers recognize the inherent challenges in teaching as we compete against our audiences’ or participants’ mental barriers to learning transfer.  This exercise can be presented as a “game,” but it is more of a “gotcha” in which participants are set up to fail in order to emphasize the learning point.

Materials
•    Notecards (approximately 30 for every two people)
•    Marker or pen (one for every two people)
•    Article (There is one at the end of this lesson.  You may want to choose a different article better suited to your participants’ level of knowledge.  It should be written with unfamiliar vocabulary in order to provide a challenge in understanding the message.)
•    Quiz with 10-15 questions and answers (There is one at the end of this lesson, or you can prepare your own based on the article that you choose.)
•    Prizes (optional)

Preparation
•    Read through the article to make sure you are familiar with it.
•    Create your quiz if you are using a different article than the one provided.
•    Divide the group into pairs, and give each pair a marker/pen and a stack of the notecards.
•    Ask someone to be your ‘Distractor’ – the person who will steal ideas from Short-Term Memory

Procedure
Use the following script, or modify to suit your needs:
•    “Brain research shows that the short-term memory is only able to hold seven pieces of information at any one time and that it can only hold each piece of information for about 20 seconds.”
•    “In that 20 seconds, your short-term memory is doing three things:

1.    Trying to understand (“decode”) the message
2.    Dealing with distractions
3.    Learning and transferring the information to long-term memory”

•    “In order to learn new things, you have to overcome challenges in understanding the message and dealing with distractions, and you only have 20 seconds to do it with each piece of information.”
•    “If you don’t learn that information and transfer it to long-term memory in 20 seconds, your brain dumps it and replaces it with something else.”
•    “If more than seven pieces of new information are presented to you at one time, your short-term memory will dump new information even faster as new information replaces ‘old’ information.”
•    “It’s amazing that we ever learn anything, right?”
•    “For teachers, presenters, facilitators and trainers, this is a challenge to how we typically present things we want people to learn.”
•    “If we cover the information too quickly, they won’t get it.”
•    “If we don’t make it simple enough for them to quickly understand it, they won’t get it.”
•    “If they are distracted by fellow students, personal problems, discomfort, irritating habits that the trainer has, etc…, they won’t get it.”
•    “Let’s play a game that will demonstrate how tough this really is.”
•    “I’ve divided you into pairs and given each pair a stack of notecards and a pen/marker.”
•    “In your pairs, select one person to be ‘Short-Term Memory (STM)’ and one person to be ‘Long-Term Memory (LTM).’” (Allow time for them to select roles.)
•    “I’m going to read an article out loud.”
•    “As I read, STM will use the pen/marker and the notecards to write down the most important ideas from the article.”
•    “I won’t tell you what those ideas are.  You have to decide for yourself.”
•    “Once STM has written the idea down, he/she will hand it to LTM.”
•    “LTM will take the idea, read it and place it face-down in front of him/her.”
•    “It doesn’t matter how LTM chooses to organize the ideas.  That’s up to him/her.”
•    “When STM writes down an idea, that represents understanding the information (decoding).”
•    “When STM hands the idea to LTM, that represents learning transfer.”
•    “That alone will be challenging, but there’s one additional challenge you will have to deal with.”
•    “I’ve asked ______ to be our ‘Distractor.’”
•    “His/her job is to walk around the room and steal ideas away from STM.”
•    “Distractor can take the idea when it’s being written or when it’s being passed.”
•    “The idea isn’t safe until it is face-down in front of LTM.”
•    “If Distractor tries to steal an idea, you have to give it to him/her – he/she is much too powerful for you!”
•    “If Distractor steals and idea, STM can rewrite it if he/she wants to, or he/she can skip it and move on to the next idea.”
•    “At the end of the game, you will be given a test.”
•    “After I ask each question about the article, LTM will have three chances to find the card that has that information on it.”
•    “STM is not allowed to help.”
•    “It’s possible that LTM won’t even have the answer, since LTM was dependent on STM to write down the correct ideas.”
•    “If LTM picks up the wrong card, he/she should return it face-down to the table.”
•    “If
•    LTM picks up the right card, he/she can put it to the side.  It counts as one point.”
•    “The team with the most points at the end of the test wins.”
•    “What questions do you have?”  (Answer any questions.)
•    “Okay, let’s play!”  (Read the article at a normal pace as the STMs write down the most important parts.  ‘Distractor’ should roam around the pairs stealing ideas when possible but not taking so many that it completely discourages the participants.  When you are done, give the test.  After the test, find out which team has the most points, and award a prize if you wish.  Then, have the participants discuss the following debrief questions in their original groups or in their pairs.  Debrief as a large group.)

Debrief
o    What made that difficult?
o    How was that like the challenge a learner faces when he/she hears new information?
o    What could we do to help more information move successfully between STM and LTM?

Quiz
1)    What do shadow puppet craftsmen typically use to smooth out the puppets? (a glass bottle)
2)    What is the Indonesian term for ‘shadow puppets?’ (wayang kulit)
3)    Less expensive puppets that are sold to children during shows are typically made of what? (cardboard)
4)    The Punakawan is a family of characters in Javanese shadow puppets, and they are often referred to as what?  (clown-servants)
5)    What are three sources for the shadow puppet stories? (the Ramayana, the Mahabharata or the Serat Menak)
6)    What tools did shadow puppet theater traditionally use to project and display the image of the puppets? (cotton screen and an oil lamp)
7)    What is the most common light sources used today to project the shadow puppets’ images in Java? (halogen electric lights)
8)    What is the Indonesian word for ‘skin?’  (kulit)
9)    Which city in Central Java is most famous for its style of puppets? (Surakarta or Solo)
10)    Which parts on the shadow puppet typically move? (upper and lower arms)
11)    How long does it take a crew of craftsmen to make ten shadow puppets? (one week)
12)    Puppets are supported with carefully shaped __________ and control rods. (buffalo horn handles)

ARTICLE – “Wayang Kulit”
(Source – Wikipedia)

Wayang kulit, shadow puppets prevalent in Java and Bali in Indonesia, are without a doubt the best known of the Indonesian wayang. Kulit means skin, and refers to the leather construction of the puppets that are carefully chiselled with very fine tools and supported with carefully shaped buffalo horn handles and control rods.

The stories are usually drawn from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata or the Serat Menak.

There is a family of characters in Javanese wayang called Punakawan; they are sometimes referred to as “clown-servants” because they normally are associated with the story’s hero, and provide humorous and philosophical interludes. Semar is the father of Gareng (oldest son), Petruk, and Bagong (youngest son). These characters did not originate in the Hindu epics, but were added later, possibly to introduce mystical aspects of Islam into the Hindu-Javanese stories. They provide something akin to a political cabaret, dealing with gossip and contemporary affairs.

The puppet figures themselves vary from place to place. In Central Java the city of Surakarta (Solo) is most famous and is the most commonly imitated style of puppets. Regional styles of shadow puppets can also be found in West Java, Banyumas, Cirebon, Semarang, and East Java. Bali produces more compact and naturalistic figures, and Lombok has figures representing real people. Often modern-world objects as bicycles, automobiles, airplanes and ships will be added for comic effect, but for the most part the traditional puppet designs have changed little in the last 300 years.

Historically, the performance consisted of shadows cast on a cotton screen and an oil lamp. Today, the source of light used in wayang performance in Java is most often a halogen electric light. Some modern forms of wayang such as Wayang Sandosa created in the Art Academy at Surakarta (STSI) has employed spotlights, colored lights and other innovations.

The handwork involved in making a wayang kulit figure that is suitable for a performance takes several weeks, with the artists working together in groups. They start from master models (typically on paper) which are traced out onto kulit (skin or parchment), providing the figures with an outline and with indications of any holes that will need to be cut (such as for the mouth or eyes). The figures are then smoothed, usually with a glass bottle, and primed. The structure is inspected and eventually the details are worked through. A further smoothing follows before individual painting, which is undertaken by yet another craftsman. Finally, the movable parts (upper arms, lower arms with hands and the associated sticks for manipulation) mounted on the body, which has a central staff by which it is held. A crew makes up to ten figures at a time, typically completing that number over the course of a week.

The painting of less expensive puppets is handled expediently with a spray technique, using templates, and with a different person handling each color. Less expensive puppets, often sold to children during performances, are sometimes made on cardboard instead of leather.

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Filed under activity, distractions, exercise, Game, Games that Teach, learning, memory, Mind, Overcoming obstacles, thinking, thoughts

Capture Every Thought (GAME)


Time
30-45 minutes

Description
This game helps participants understand how important it is to capture every thought and take it captive before Christ.  It is loosely based on the game of Othello ® (Gabriel Industries, Inc.) or Reversi.

Audience
Children, youth

Materials
•    Gameboard (can be printed from the file “Capture Every Thought – Game Board and Pieces.ppt” located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page of http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    Game pieces (can be printed from the file “Capture Every Thought – Game Board and Pieces.ppt” located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page of http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    “Starting Positions” Gameboard (can be printed from the file “Capture Every Thought – Game Board and Pieces.ppt” located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page of http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    “Move #1, #2 & #3” slide (can be printed from the file “Capture Every Thought – Game Board and Pieces.ppt” located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page of http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    Glue stick
•    Scissors or cutting board
•    (Optional) Prizes for winners

Preparation
•    Make copies of the “Debrief Questions” page at the end of this lesson (one copy per table group).
•    Print copies of the game boards (1 for every two people)
•    Print copies of the game pieces (60 for ever two people – 1 page makes 60 pieces)
•    Print one copy each of the “Starting Positions” slide and the “Move #1, #2 & #3” example slide.
•    Fold the game piece pages along the blue line that divides the two colors.  Crease the page well along this fold.
•    Use a glue stick to stick the two pages together.  Make sure that the entire surface is covered.
•    Use the scissors or the cutting board to cut out each of the rectangular game pieces.  (They should now be a different color on each side.  Cut closely to the rectangles, because if the pieces are too big, they are difficult to flip on the gamebaord.)
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “The Bible has a lot to say about what we think.”
•    “Our minds are a major battlefield for the spiritual war between Satan and God.”
•    “God wants our minds to be filled with good things that honor Him, because He knows that these things will bless us and help us live fulfilling lives.”
•    “Satan wants our minds to be filled with bad things that dishonor God, because he hates God and hates that we are made in God’s image.”
•    “Satan knows that he can’t do anything to diminish God, so he tries to hurt the Creator through His creation – and that’s us.”
•    “Let’s read a few of the Scriptures related to our thoughts.”  (Have volunteers read the following Scriptures out loud.)
o    Romans 8:6 (mind of sinful man is death; mind of the Spirit is life)
o    Proverbs 15:26 (the Lord detests thoughts of the wicked but is pleased by thoughts of the pure)
o    Isaiah 55:8-9 (God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts)
o    Colossians 3:2 (set minds on things above, not on earthly things)
o    Philippians 4:8 (think about excellent, praiseworthy….things)
o    2 Corinthians 10:5 (take every thought captive)
•    “So, we are to think about the things God thinks about and not about sinful things.”
•    “This is really hard to do, and it takes a lot of prayer and practice, because Satan is going to try to mess up our thoughts as much as possible.”
•    “He whispers evil thoughts to us from the spiritual realm, and if we aren’t careful, we accept his thoughts as our own.”
•    “That’s terribly dangerous, because the Bible says that everything Satan ever says is a lie.  Lying is his native language and the only language he speaks.”  (John 8:44)
•    “2 Corinthians 10:5 says that we are to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.”
•    “This means that when we have a bad thought or even a thought we aren’t sure about, we should ask God about it.”
•    “If is something true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy, God will confirm it for you.”
•    “But if it’s a lie from Satan, God will replace it with the truth.”
•    “We’re going to play a game that will help us to remember to take every thought captive to Christ.”  (Divide group into pairs, and hand out the gameboards and game pieces for each pair.)
•    “You have a gameboard in front of you.  It has 64 spaces on it.”
•    “You also have 64 colored game pieces.  They are blue on one side and yellow on the other.”
•    “Each person should take 30 game pieces for himself and decide if he wants to be either blue or yellow.”  (Have them divide the pieces and pick a color.)
•    “Alright, everyone who chose blue, raise your hands.”  (Demonstrate.)
•    “In this battle, you represent the devil.  Sorry about that.”
•    “Everyone who chose yellow, you represent God.”
•    “The gameboard represents a human mind, and the game pieces each represent thoughts.”
•    “Dark blue pieces represent the bad thoughts and lies Satan tries to get us to believe and take as our own.”
•    “Yellow pieces represent the good thoughts and truth God wants us to believe and act on.”
•    “Each player starts with two thoughts (game pieces) on the board in the center squares.  They should look like this.”  (Show the “Starting Positions” slide.  Have all players put two of their game pieces down.)
•    “The goal of each player is to trap your opponents pieces between two of your own.”
•    “If you have one piece down already and then lay another one, you capture all of your opponent’s pieces that are between your two pieces.  You can then flip all those captured pieces over so that they are now your color.”  (Show “Move #1, #2 and #3” slide to give them examples.)
•    “You can capture pieces diagonally, horizontally or vertically.”
•    “You capture all the opponents’ pieces between your two pieces, so as the game progresses, you should be able to capture two, three, four or more pieces at a time.”
•    “You can even capture pieces in two or more directions at the same time as long as they are all between two of your pieces.”
•    “It’s important to know that you cannot play on spaces unless it allow you to capture at least one of your opponent’s pieces.”
•    “The winner is the person who has the most of their colored pieces on the board when it gets to a point that no one can make a move.”
•    “Dark blue pieces get to go first.”
•    “Do you have any questions about how to play?”  (Answer questions, and then allow them to play a round.  If they finish the first round quickly and you have the time, let them play several rounds.  Then, award a prize to the winners if you choose.  Pass out the Debrief Questions sheet to each group, and allow them 10-15 minutes to talk about the questions.  Then ask the large group for any general insights from the activity.)

Debrief Questions

o    How does this game reflect the battle between God and Satan for your mind?
o    Why would some bad thoughts from Satan change your good thoughts to bad ones (like capturing pieces in the game)?
o    The corners are the most strategic spaces on the gameboard, because they cannot be trapped once they belong to someone.  What might these represent in the battle for your mind?
o    Why is it important to guard your mind against Satan’s influence?  How can you do this?
o    How could you capture more thoughts for Christ?

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Mind Pollution


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about how important it is to protect our mind from negative influences. It uses a simple visual aid of water and food coloring.

Materials

  • Display table
  • Red, green or blue food coloring
  • Large, clear (see-through) container
  • Two or three pitchers
  • Enough water to fill each of the pitchers and half the large container
  • (Optional) Bottle of bleach

Preparation

· Test the experiment to make sure you know how it works. (Note: if you use too much food coloring, it will be difficult to dilute. A drop at a time is best.)

· Set up the large, clear container (half-full with water) on a display table.

· Have the pitchers and food coloring nearby.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

· “Your mind is an incredible creation of God.”

· “It has over 100 billion neurons that send electrical pulses back and forth to each other. These are your thoughts, and you are capable of having more thoughts than the number of known atoms in the entire universe!” (Source: Tony Buzan, Head Strong 2001)

· “Your brain is incredible!”

· “And did you know, that your brain is approximately 75% water?”

· “That’s why I’m going to use this container of water to represent your brain in this lesson.”

· “We will say that this container represents your precious, incredible brain.”

· “The water inside it represents your thoughts.”

· “I have some pitchers of clean water here, and they are going to represent good things that you can put into your brain.”

· “Can anyone help me think of some good things that you can put into your brain?” (Take responses. If the kids need help, try to steer them toward things like Scripture, positive thoughts, encouragement/praise, positive music, learning, worship, thinking about God…)

· “Great, that’s exactly what I’m talking about!”

· “I also have some food coloring up here, and it represents some bad things you can put into your brain.”

· “Who can help me think of some bad things that we could put into our brains?” (Take responses. If the kids need help, try to steer them toward things like profanity, gossip, lies, music with bad lyrics, the Lord’s name used in vain, mean thoughts, self-defeating or limiting talk, hurtful talk, movies or TV with bad scenes, bad pictures, jokes with inappropriate themes…)

· “Exactly! We’ve got to watch out for that kind of stuff!”

· “For this demonstration, I’m going to need a volunteer. Who would like to come help me?” (Select volunteer.)

· “Okay, notice how clear this water is. It’s like our minds the way that God first created them – pure and beautiful.”

· “Let’s say that we are really careful, and we only allow good things into our brain.” (Have volunteer pour some water into container from one of the pitchers.)

· “See what happened? We got more brain!”

· “Okay, it doesn’t work exactly like that, but let’s say that this is like gaining wisdom.”

· “When we add good things, like Scripture, positive thoughts, encouragement/praise… we grow in wisdom and knowledge, and our mind stays clear and clean.”

· “But what if we aren’t so careful, and we allow in some jokes that are hurtful to other people.” (Have volunteer squirt a drop of food coloring into the water in the container. Then pause to allow the children to see the effect. Just one drop of food coloring will spread and spread throughout the water until it has tinted the whole thing.)

· “Wow! Did you see that? Just that one little drop of bad stuff changed the whole color of the water.”

· “And what if we still aren’t so careful, and we allow in some inappropriate pictures (have volunteer add drop) …and profanity (add drop) ….and music with negative lyrics (add drop) …and some negative self-talk about what a loser we are or how stupid we are at math (add drop).”

· “Look what happens then. Our minds are getting darker and darker.”

· “What should we do about that?” (Listen to responses. When someone suggests to add more good things, continue.)

· “Right! Exactly! We need to add more good stuff – more Scripture and positive thoughts and godly advice from our parents…Romans 12:2 says that we should stop doing what the rest of the world does and start being transformed by renewing our minds. That’s the same thing as adding in the good stuff.” (Have volunteer pour in more water.)

· “But do you see the problem I’m seeing?” (Listen for responses.)

· “The water (our minds) are not going back to clear again. We are diluting the bad stuff, but it’s taking a lot more water than it did food coloring to improve our mind here.”

· “That’s the way sin works. Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul warned that, ‘a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.’ (Matthew 13:33 and 1 Corinthians 5:6)

· “Yeast is an image of sin in the Bible, so Jesus and Paul are saying that a little sin will spread until it ruins everything.”

· “So, as soon as we realize the damage we are doing to our minds, we’ve got to stop adding yeast / sin.”

· “Then, we’ve got to add lots and lots of good stuff by going to church, hanging out with godly friends, listening to our parents, changing the music we listen to, changing the movies we watch, reading the Bible every day, memorizing Scripture, studying about God…” (As you are mentioning these things, have the volunteer pour more water into the container with each suggestion. Try to fill the container until it’s full – unless you plan to continue with the bleach part of the lesson.)

· “Good habits are going to be the best way to dilute the bad stuff that you already have in your minds.”

· “And it’s not going to be easy. You’re going to have to work at it every day.”

· “And when you allow bad stuff in, it’s going to take much longer to dilute it than it did to let it in there.”

· “It’s like when I eat too much food. It might take me an hour of exercise to burn the amount of calories I ate even though it only took me five minutes to eat it.”

· “Because our minds are so awesome, I don’t believe the bad stuff ever goes away.”

· “I think our brains have the ability to hold onto everything we’ve ever put in there (even though sometimes it’s hard to remember where you left your stuff).”

· “If you put lots of bad stuff in your mind, that’s the bad news. The good news is, that your mind will never be too full of good stuff, so you can keep on adding it in!” (Thank your volunteer, and allow him/her to return to his/her seat.)

Optional Section – Adding Bleach

· “Now, there is one more thing that you can do that we haven’t talked about.”

· “You can give all that bad stuff you put into your mind to God in prayer.”

· “This bleach represents our prayers to God. (By the way, kids, bleach is a powerful and dangerous chemical. You should never handle it unless you have an adult there with you.)”

· “I don’t think the bad stuff we’ve put in our minds ever goes away, but we can turn it over to God in prayer, and He will use it for good.” (Pour bleach into the tinted water. It might take quite a bit of bleach (and you may need to stir it), but it will eventually take the tint out of the water. The result will be a yellowish liquid – not perfect, but no longer tinted with the original colors.)

· “Romans 8:28 tells us that God will use ALL things for the good of those who love Him.”

· “That means that He will even take the bad stuff we’ve done or let into our brains and use it for His glory and His Kingdom.” (Give a personal example.)

· “But, hey! That’s not an excuse to put the bad stuff in there! Your best strategy is to keep the bad stuff out in the first place!”

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Filed under Brain, Christianity, Mind, Object Lesson, Scripture memory, spiritual disciplines