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Take a Brain Break
  • Brain
    Brain
  • Meet the Brain

    Hi, I’m the Brain—you may know me from certain activities such as thinking, decision making, and using your five senses!

    Take a Brain Break!

    1. Watch the YouTube Video.
    2. Read the blog below.
    3. Play the Kahoot quiz to test your knowledge.

    Hi, I’m the Brain—you may know me from certain activities such as thinking, decision making, and using your five senses! I also manage vital involuntary actions like breathing and keeping a regular heartbeat. I am a like the Head Coach of your body—the actions you take come from my direction and instruction. Just like when a Head Coach tells his or her team members what to do and how to take action, I tell the rest of your body how to act and react. My job is important—I am in charge of all of the plays, strategies and decisions. If I, as the coach, am not prepared and ready to take the field, the whole team will suffer—and maybe even lose the game!

    Huddle up now, team. I’m going to tell you why you should say YES to a healthy lifestyle and NO to unhealthy decisions—and in this case, that means saying no to underage drinking.

    First, you should know that I—your brain—am still growing and maturing. I won’t be fully developed until I’m in my twenties. I work differently from other, older brains, such as those of your parents and teachers, and that is why some things that are accepted for adults are not accepted for children. Driving a car, living alone, and drinking alcohol are just a few of these activities.

    Here is how I spend my day: I send all of my information through the body using a system of chemical messengers called neurotransmitters using a system of nerve cells called neurons. The neurotransmitters are important members of my Brain Power team—when they are wound up, my activities are stimulated, and when they are settled down, my activities are slowed down. As the Head Coach, I demand a careful balance between being excited and slowing down.

    What happens when you introduce alcohol to this balance? Alcohol can boost certain members of my neurotransmitter team while at the same time slowing other members down. This mix up is very confusing—some members are relaxed while others are riled up. Teamwork is at risk here—I can’t coach properly because my team members are not working together the way we have practiced.  This is not only poor gameplay, but it is also harmful to me as I continue to grow and function.

    For the next couple of weeks, I’ll introduce you to the other members of my BRAIN POWER team. We will help teach you about how making good choices about saying NO to underage drinking is the best choice for your growing body. Before you go, test your knowledge with a Kahoot quiz!

  • Central Nervous System
    Central Nervous System
  • Meet the Central Nervous System

    The central nervous system is made up of your brain and spinal cord; this system helps control many activities in the body, like digestion and movement. When the central nervous system is impaired by alcohol, it's like a traffic jam!

    Take a Brain Break!

    1. Watch the YouTube Video.
    2. Read the blog below.
    3. Play the Kahoot quiz to test your knowledge.

    Hi there, we are neurotransmitters traveling down the fast slopes of the Central Nervous System. Think of us as downhill skiers on the BRAIN POWER team; chemical messengers who zig, zag, and swoosh down the slope of your spinal cord sending messages between your brain and each part of your body.

    Blink your eyes! Jump up and down! Digest that apple! Pull back from that hot stove! Duck when that paper airplane is headed straight for your noggin! These actions and more are the results of us neurotransmitter speeders shooting down your body at record speed. And because your brain will continue to grow through your middle school and teen years, it’s important that our slopes remain powdery white and free of debris so that your actions and reactions keep your body healthy, growing and strong. We want to keep our course moving at black diamond speed!

    When you decide to drink alcohol, that is like putting a snow drift right in our path! We have to slow down to bunny slope speed so that our skis don’t get damaged and we stay on course. When we slow down, our messages get delayed in being delivered to you, which means that you might be clumsier than usual, your speech may become slurred and your reaction time is reduced—leaving you vulnerable to falls and injuries. The more alcohol that is ingested, the more obstacles are placed on our course. This is not good for team BRAIN POWER! There may even be a time when we WIPE OUT on the slope—the message we are carrying becomes completely lost—and you could lose a memory or two during the time that your body is impaired by alcohol.

    As you can see, it’s important that you make the decision to say YES to a healthy lifestyle and NO to underage drinking. This way, we can zoom through the body without having to pop moguls or slalom out of control. If someone asks YOU to drink before you are 21 years old, make the best decision for your growing brain and body and say NO. After all, you are part of the BRAIN POWER team too! Your parents and teachers are also members—so you can always turn to them if you have questions or know of someone who might need some help.

    For more about the central nervous system, you can watch our video and remember to test your knowledge with a Kahoot quiz!

  • Cerebellum
    Cerebellum
  • Meet the Cerebellum

    Hey there, everybody. I’m the cerebellum—I am small, but I’m also mighty! Think of me as the point guard of a basketball team.

    Take a Brain Break!

    1. Watch the YouTube Video.
    2. Read the blog below.
    3. Play the Kahoot quiz to test your knowledge.

    Hey there, everybody. I’m the cerebellum—I am small, but I’m also mighty! Think of me as the point guard of a basketball team. In fact, I’m small and round—like a basketball. I’m made up of two halves—just like a basketball GAME. I’m a proud member of the BRAIN POWER team, but since there is a good chance that you are not familiar with me, I’ll introduce myself.

    Have you ever heard the expression, “good things come in small packages?” Well, if that is true, then I am not only good, I am GREAT! I make up about 10% of your brain’s weight, but I hold close to 50% of its neurons! You remember neurons, yes? They are special nerve cells that the body uses to receive and process information. I help coordinate your movements so that you can pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time. Can you do that? Given it a try!

    I also give you the ability to speak clearly. And as you may know—a point guard’s clear voice and quick, agile movements are what make them a valuable member of a team.

    So now that you know a little bit about what I do—let me tell you what would happen if while I’m dribbling down the court, alcohol is introduced into the mix.

    TECHNICAL FOUL!! AIRBALL!!

    Alcohol takes away my super basketball skills! I get clumsy, I can’t communicate with my team, and I start to travel, double dribble, and throw bad passes. Slurred speech? Stumbling and bumbling? That is not the way I want to play the game.  In addition, my confused and mixed up behavior will affect the other members of my team—we might even lose the game! I’ll stick with healthy options, that’s for sure. Pass the water!

    If you ever need help finding ways to say NO to underage drinking, I find that the best people to talk to are my parents, teachers, and my coach. They are members of the BRAIN POWER team too and can help you make good decisions for healthy living. Take a look at my video–to learn even more! And don’t forget to test your knowledge with a Kahoot Quiz!

  • Cerebral Cortex
    Cerebral Cortex
  • Meet the Cerebral Cortex

    On the outside, we may appear to be just a wrinkly layer of brain matter, but we lobes are in charge of very important functions such as decision making, controlling your five senses, movements and thought processes.

    Take a Brain Break!

    1. Watch the YouTube Video.
    2. Read the blog below.
    3. Play the Kahoot quiz to test your knowledge.

    Hey there, BRAIN POWER team! I’m the cerebral cortex, or should I say WE are the cerebral cortex! We are made up of four sections of your brain called lobes. Because we lobes all work together so well, you can think of us as a four-man bobsled team. On the outside, we may appear to be just a wrinkly layer of brain matter, but we lobes are in charge of very important functions such as decision making, controlling your five senses, movements and thought processes. In order for us to make it to the bottom of the dangerous, icy bobsled track and take the gold, it’s important for you to use your five senses and make good decisions—and that means saying no to underage drinking.

    If someone offers you an alcoholic drink before you turn 21, the best choice is to say NO. This cerebral cortex squad, along with the rest of the BRAIN POWER team, is still growing and maturing. Alcohol can have a negative effect on the way we can control your body—just like it can control the way our bobsled drives down the track to the finish line. As the four of us lobes slow down because of alcohol entering your system, it becomes much harder to do the right thing and make the right choices.

    Can you imagine not being able to think clearly and control your movements? Just as our coach would never let our bobsled team out of the starting block—that is the same reason that when you ARE old enough to consume alcohol, you should not drive if you are drunk.

    You need us—all four lobes of us—to run like a well-oiled machine at all times so we can stay smart and safe. Don’t forget to take a look at my video and test your knowledge with a Kahoot quiz!

  • Hippocampus
    Hippocampus
  • Meet the Hippocampus

    As part of the limbic system, the hippocampus controls your emotions and natural drives like hunger, or caring for offspring. Most notably, though, it helps you to create and categorize your memories.

    Take a Brain Break!

    1. Watch the YouTube Video.
    2. Read the blog below.
    3. Play the Kahoot quiz to test your knowledge.

    Hi! I’m the Hippocampus, and I am the Sportscaster for the BRAIN POWER team. Hippocampus is Greek for “seahorse,” which is perfect for me, as you can see from my shape. Just like when you watch a sporting event, the sportscaster is responsible for making the event spectacular—evoking emotions and excitement to all those watching or listening. That is what I do for your body!  As part of the limbic system, I control your emotions and natural drives like hunger, or caring for offspring. Most notably, though, I help you to create and categorize your memories.

    When a new event happens, I prepare it to be processed as a new memory – linking it to both the senses, and the emotions of the moment. Think about watching a horse race, a grand slam, an amazing pass, goal or score. It’s my job as the sportscaster to relay those messages to you in the proper way so that you can remember them in the future

    Now let’s talk about adding alcohol to the mix. If you are underage and have to make a decision about drinking alcohol, think twice! I’m just a junior sportscaster at this point…still learning my skills and developing my style. This is no time to jeopardize the precious memories that we can make with friends and family, activities and adventures!

    Even after just a drink or two the ability of the brain (that means me) to create new memories begins to falter, making it harder to learn new information such as names or phone numbers. Just think if a sportscaster like me forgot who won the big game or announced the wrong score. It would cause confusion and disappointment for fans everywhere!

    Drinking a lot of alcohol quickly can cause a “blackout”—where you forget entire stretches of time, like the whole previous night. And that would be like turning off the TV or radio—or leaving the game before it’s over!

    Worst of all, if I am damaged by long-term alcohol misuse, you may find it hard to learn and to hold on to new knowledge – even when you’re not drinking!

    So let me announce this: Say YES to a healthy lifestyle and NO to underage drinking. That is a home run, touchdown, and record-breaking blue ribbon all in one!

    To learn more about me, you can check out my video and don’t forget to test your knowledge with a Kahoot quiz!

  • Hypothalamus
    Hypothalamus
  • Meet the Hypothalamus

    I’m the one who gets your heart rate going and your emotions all excited for this great game of living a healthy lifestyle that we have going on.

    Take a Brain Break!

    1. Watch the YouTube Video.
    2. Read the blog below.
    3. Play the Kahoot quiz to test your knowledge.

    Hi guys! I’m the Hypothalamus, cheerleader for the BRAIN POWER team, and a pretty big deal. I’m the one who gets your heart rate going and your emotions all excited for this great game of living a healthy lifestyle that we have going on. But I’m not just a pretty face.

    You probably have a lot of energy, right? Me too! What you eat and drink helps me to control how your body acts and reacts whether you like it or not. That’s right! I can make you sweat, shiver, and feel emotions such as fear, anger, calm, or excitement. The next time you have to go to the bathroom—thank me! Feeling hungry or thirsty? Yes—that’s me too!

    Speaking of being thirsty, you may be in a situation where you have to make a choice about underage drinking. This BRAIN POWER cheerleader wants you to say NO. Think of little old me! We are still growing and getting to know each other! When alcohol enters your system, I can’t seem to get messages from the rest of my squad—your hormones. When this happens, our human pyramid collapses, and our spectacular routine becomes a big old mess! For YOU, this means your body temperature and heart rate could decrease, your blood pressure can increase, you may have to use the restroom more, and you get hungry and thirsty. Where does this leave you? Dehydrated and constipated—which leads to a headache and an uncomfortable belly. No thanks!

    One more great reason to say NO to underage drinking is that if you are under 21 years old, it’s against the law! I’m rooting for you! Say YES to a healthy lifestyle! You can do it! If you have questions about saying NO or need some helpful advice, why not ask your teacher, coach, or parent? They can help you make good choices to keep your body in balance—and before you know it, you’ll make it to the varsity squad! Don’t forget to watch my video and then test your knowledge with a Kahoot quiz!

  • Medulla
    Medulla
  • Meet the Medulla

    As the leader of your cardiac and respiratory systems, I control crucial involuntary actions like breathing, swallowing, and heart rate.

    Take a Brain Break!

    1. Watch the YouTube Video.
    2. Read the blog below.
    3. Play the Kahoot quiz to test your knowledge.

    Blue 42—Blue 42—Set—Hike! Hi everyone, I’m the Medulla, and I am the quarterback of the BRAIN POWER team. You will find me attached to your spinal cord inside your brain stem…and like a first time QB in the championship game, I’m full of nerve cells. Just as I’m the key player in our offensive line, I also play a key role in keeping your body alive. As the leader of your cardiac and respiratory systems, I control crucial involuntary actions like breathing, swallowing, and heart rate. What would you do without someone like me running the plays for these vital, life-sustaining functions? Flag on the play! You would not be able to sneeze, cough or vomit—gross, right? But these actions help flush your body of germs and toxins—things you definitely don’t want hanging out in your locker room, I mean body!

    When you make the decision to drink alcohol, guess what happens to me. It’s a total fumble. Can you imagine? When affected by alcohol, I slow down or stop functioning altogether – which could make you stop breathing, eating, or in the worst-case scenario, stop the blood form pumping to the rest of your body. The result could be alcohol poisoning. And that could mean GAME OVER.

    So, let’s make the decision right now to say NO to underage drinking. Waiting until you are of legal age will give me—and you—time to mature. We will grow together so that we can operate correctly and make good decisions that are healthy for our mind and body. TOUCHDOWN!

    Ready to see me in action? I have a video here. And don’t forget to test your knowledge with a Kahoot Quiz!

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