Activity to Understand the Brain Hemispheres

Most people are right-handed. They throw and write with their right arm. But what about the rest of the body? Are most people right-eyed, right-legged, and so on? This simple test lets you find out about this. This activity requires the use of a table and addition, making it great for a classroom setting.

  1. Ask the students if they know the difference between left and right. Draw an R on the right hand and an L on the left for the students who don’t know the difference. Tell them that you’re going to do an experiment where they have to know how to tell the difference.
  2. Show them a picture of the brain that shows that there are two brain hemispheres. Tell them that they are called the left and right hemisphere. Explain that the hemipsheres are attached to a thick stem called the brain stem. The brain stem continues in the spine. Show them the cerebellum as well.
  3. Explain that you are going to explore how you use the right and left brain hemispheres. Some people use the right side of their bodies for nearly everything, some use only the left, and some have a mix of both. Wave with your right hand and ask them which brain hemisphere controls the right hand. Tell them that the left brain hemisphere controls the right side of the body and vice versa. Try to get them to understand which brain hemisphere controls which side of the body. Wave your left arm, right leg, left leg, and so on and repeat the question.
  4. Tell them that these two areas of the brain aren’t typically equally good at controlling an arm, for example. This is why people have a dominant hand for writing, among other things. If the brain area that controls our best arm is to the left side of the brain, we become right-handed. If this brain area is located on the right side of the brain, we become left-handed. The same applies to a host of other functions in the body, and are different for every person.
  5. Ask if anyone is left-handed. Explain that if so, the right brain hemisphere is the best at controlling the arm.
  6. Say that you’re going to test the rest of the body. Make a table like the one at the bottom of this article and begin with the hand test. Which hand do they write with? Which hand do they throw with?
  7. Continue with the foot test. Which foot do they prefer to kick things with? Try kicking into the air.
  8. Now for the eye test. Which eye do they prefer to use when looking through a hole? Let them make a hole in a piece of paper to test this. Tell them to aim at something while they look.
  9. Then it’s time to find their aiming eye. This test is somewhat difficult, and they have to pay attention. Hold your index finger out in front of you and look at it with both eyes. Close one eye and then the other. Which eye could you close without having the finger move? The other eye is the aiming eye. When you close your aiming eye, the finger moves.
  10. Which ear do they use to receive a message someone whispers in their ear?
  11. Summarize the results. You will probably have great variation.
Hand testWriting
Fot testKicking
Eye testHole in a piece of paper
Aiming eye
Ear testWhispering

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