Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Brain Game

Katherine Leftwich
Highlands County Schools


This is a fun lesson that challenges the student's ability to respond to stimuli that are mixed word/color messages. (Responses to changes in the environment/stimuli)


The student understands that the systems within living things respond to changes in the environment (for example, allergens and carcinogens).


-Copies of Word Sets #1 and #2 for each group (See Associated File)
-Data File for each student (See Associated File)
-Stopwatches (1 per pair of students)


1. Students need prior knowledge of neurons and the nervous system. They should understand that the nervous system is a system within an organism and there are many ways organisms respond to their environment.
2. Make enough copies of Word Sets #1 and #2 (See Associated File) for each group. Option: Laminate the word sets for future use.
3. Copy Date File (See Associated File) for each student.
4. This lesson can also be done online at (However, there is no interaction with other students and only one trial is done.)


1. Opening Discussion: Brainstorm ways people/animals respond to stimuli. Direct the students toward ways the human brain responds to environmental stimuli (ie. visual light, color, words).

2. Distribute to each pair of students Word Sets #1 and #2 (See Associated File) and a stopwatch. Each student should get a copy of the Data File which includes an observation table and conclusion questions. (See Associated File)

3. The students should read Word Set #1 and record on the observation table the time taken for each student to read the list of words.

4. Explain to the students that when they read Word Set #2, they need to name the color of the word not the word. (For example, if the word reads yellow but its color is red, the student says RED.) The other student records the time it takes to read. The students repeat each word set three times and record their results on the observation table. (See Associated File)

5. After finishing the repeated readings, students complete the conclusion questions. (See Associated File)

6. Walk around class and observe students and reinforce the purpose of the activity of how changes in the stimuli (word sets) make it difficult for the human organism to respond.

7. After the lab is complete, have a class discussion of the conclusion questions relating the visual stimuli with the way the brain responds to different stimuli.

8. Ask students to further extend this experiment and the conclusions they've drawn by getting into groups and thinking of other experiments they might do using the other five senses that would support this standard -- The student understands that the systems within living things respond to changes in the environment (for example, allergens and carcinogens). Students might suggest experiments dealing with smell, sound, etc. and then use their ideas for science fair projects or further scientific study.


In this formative assessment, check the Data File for understanding of the stimulus/response mechanism in the human nervous system. (See Associated File)

Reasonable answers are:
1. It was more difficult to read the second word set than the first.
2. When stimuli is unusual it takes longer for the brain to respond.

Students who did not complete this activity should be given additional instruction and the opportunity to complete the assignment for homework.


Tell students that they might try:
-turning the words upside down or rotating them 90 degrees.
-turning the words “inside out.”
-using noncolor words such as “dog” or “house” or nonsense words such as “kiw” or “thoz.”
-using adaptations or extensions of this experiment for a science fair experiment.

Web Links

Web supplement for Brain Game
Explore the human brain and spinal cord

Web supplement for Brain Game
Neuroscience for Kids (Activities)

Web supplement for Brain Game
Nova: Stroop Test

Attached Files

This file contains Word Sets #1 and #2 and the Data File.     File Extension: pdf

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.