The Biology Of Love

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With Valentine’s Day coming up, it dawned on my all of a sudden: have students ever learned about love? Andy Warhol once said “there should be a course in 1st grade on love,” yet I’m pretty sure we only teach sex in school, and not the feelings behind it. So I’m going to try it out this year: teaching the biology of love.

So I came up with this lesson plan:

Starter

  • What is love?
  • Are there different kinds of love?
  • What does love have to do with biology?

Activities: I’m going to jigsaw this–have the students divide up into groups of 3-4, and then each group will read their given article, answer a couple of questions about it, and present it to the class in this order:

  • Love and the Brain
    • What areas of the brain become active when someone is in love?
    • What are the “symptoms” of being in love?
    • Which hormones are active when someone is in love?
  • Different Types of Love
    • What are two types of love? Describe each one.
    • Why is romantic love addictive?
    • What are the rewards for long-term passionate love?
    • How do male and female brains respond to love differently?
  • Evidence-Based Dating
    • What are the different experiments scientists have run on dating? What were their results?
  • How to Fall in Love with a Stranger
    • What is the procedure for making 2 strangers fall in love?
    • List 5 of your favorite questions that were asked to the people

Plenary: Class discussion on the biology of love.

 

 

 

 

 

Eyewire: A Game to Map the Brain

Super cool VIDEO GAME that maps out neurons!!!

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Many times, computers and other artificial intelligence (AI) are used to find patterns in scientific data. But as it turns out, there are still a couple of things that humans can beat AI at: one being finding 3D patterns. Apparently, humans, and most specifically, those of use who are good at video games, are the best at finding patterns in 3D objects.

SO to help with their research on neurons and the brain in general (and to make it fun), Sebastian Seung and the rest of his neuroscience team at MIT have created a video game, EyeWire , that calls on us to help figure out how the neurons are assembled in the back of the eye of a mouse. The more accurate your 3D neuron connections are, the more points you get!

Now, you may be thinking, why a mouse? Well, you need to start simple before you can take one something as complex as the human brain. They’re hoping that once they’ve fully diagrammed the mouse eye, then they can move onto the human eye, and eventually the human brain, and use this research to figure out how the neurons in the brain are connected so that they can begin to understand and treat complex mental diseases and disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

Care to join? Just sign up here and game away!

Read more about this research here.