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Lesson Plan/Activity

Design an Imaginary Animal, Grades 6-8

September 25, 2023

Who this is for:

Science Communicators


The “Design an Imaginary Animal” exercise integrates a creative group activity with a basic neuroanatomy lesson. The instructor first provides a short explanation of brain structures and the functions they sub-serve, followed by a quick neuroanatomy lesson on comparative animal brains. Students are then asked to utilize this information to create an imaginary animal from scratch, focusing on four key points: life cycle, social communication, physical attributes, and environment.

The goal is to integrate freshly learned brain facts into the design of the new organism. Students are asked to draw out their animal, create their animal’s brain out of Play-Doh, and present their imaginary animal to the rest of class.

Student Objectives

  • Explore the structure and function of various parts of the human brain.
  • Identify similarities and differences across animal brains and understand the reasons for having homologous structures.
  • Utilize knowledge to create an imaginary animal and its brain.

Lesson Plan

  • Title: Design an Imaginary Animal
  • Setting: In Classroom
  • Subject: Biology – Neuroscience
  • Grade Level: 6-8
  • Time Frame: 1 Hour
  • Paired Dana Foundation Fact Sheets: 6th-8th Grade How Does the Brain Work?
  • Next Generation Science Standards: Meets MS-LS1-3, MS-LS1-5, & MS-LS1-8

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