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Your Dominant Side

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Updated on Feb 07, 2012

Grade Level: 10th; Type: Biology/Neuroscience

Objective:

To determine which your dominant side is. Does this dominance extend to your arms, legs, hands, ears, eyes?

  • What is the function of the brain?
  • What are the parts of the brain and what is the function of each part?
  • What are the hemispheres of the brain and their functions?
  • What is the corpus callosum?
  • How do the two hemispheres complement each other?
  • What are some of the characteristics of right brain dominant individuals?
  • What are some of the characteristics of left brain dominant individuals?
  • What is epilepsy and what is the connection to the Split Brain Studies?
  • What is the connection between handedness and brain lateralization?
  • What percentage of the population is left handed?
  • What do you suppose all of the following have in common, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Connors, Marilyn Monroe and Angelina Jolie?
  • What does research tell us about “changing or reversing handedness? If you started out writing with your left hand and were compelled to switch over to your right? Any reactions, complications? (This may be a new science project in the near future.)

On the information level, the student will become acquainted with the current research on hemispheric brain dominance. The questions being addressed in this project include the following: Which side of the subject`s brain is more dominant than the other? Does this dominance extend to the eyes, the ears, and the feet? What does the current research in the neurosciences tell us? In order to begin this investigation, the student becomes acquainted with basic information on the brain, its structures and functions and its mal function in the case of epilepsy and the early work to counter epileptic attacks. This leads to the work of Dr. Roger Sperry and the famous Split Brain studies.In the process of this investigation, the student takes on the role of a neuroscientist, testing his/her subjects to determine hemispheric dominance and is introduced to the exciting world of The Brain.

As for the methodology of this project, this science fair project also serves to acquaint students with the essential processes of sciencing, of researching techniques and learning about the importance of identifying dependent and independent variables, of proper and accurate data collection, of pictorial and or graphic presentation of data and of being able to make better judgments as to the validity and reliability of their findings. They become aware of the importance of the size of the sample population and whether the sample was truly representative of the group they are investigating. They learn about what researchers do and begin to replicate the process. In the process of researching, they become not only researchers but less gullible and better judges of the validity and reliability of research studies.

Subjects and the Hemispheric Dominance Test available atIntelegen Inc.at http://web-us.com/brain dominance.htm and is free.

  1. Gather all the materials you will need for this project.These include subjects and the test for Hemispheric Dominance. As for subjects, 5 or more subjects are minimally needed. I suggest, preferably more, the greater the number, the better the results. Your friends will enjoy taking the test. The charts will accommodate 10 subjects. You may wish to choose subject s of the same age and gender or you may wish to expand your research and include gender groups or age groups. The test, Hemispheric Dominance Inventory Test and answers are provided below and are available online at Intelegen Inc.at http://web-us.com/brain dominance.htm and are free. Reproduce copies of the test.
  2. Select your subjects and describe and explain the purpose of the project.
  3. Administer the test. Read the directions and provide the students with ample time to complete the test. Copy the Data Chart provided below to gather and summarize your data and conclusions.
  4. To test for foot dominance, ask each subject to stand and walk to the front of the room. Note which foot he/she started out with and record your observations.
  5. As for ear dominance, stand in front of the room, ring a bell or whistle, ask the students to decide which ear received a louder or stronger sound. Record your observations.
  6. Write up your report. Be sure to include all of the answers to the research questions as well as a copy of the student response sheets and the answer sheet. Collate and include your bibliography as well as any sources you used on the Internet. You may wish to record your reactions to the research findings and describe any future projects you might be interested in pursuing in this area.

Foot and Ear Dominance

Subjects

Left Foot

Right Foot

Left Ear

Right Ear

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

#6

#7

#8

Left Brain/ Right Brain Hemispheric Dominance

Subjects

Number Correct

Left Brain

Number Correct

Right Brain

Percentages

Left Brain

Percentages

RIght Brain

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

#6

#7

#8

Terms/Concepts: Brain; Bilateral; Cerebral hemispheres; Corpus callosum; Anterior commissure; Split brain research; Tachistoscope; Thalamus; Hypothalamus; Cerebellum; Pons; Medulla oblongata; Neurons; Synapses; axons; Endrites

References:

Dr. Muriel Gerhard (Ed.D.) is a retired educator with fifty seven years of experience in all aspects of public education. She has been a teacher, principal, administrator, college professor, researcher, grants writer, change agent and science editor. She is the author of several books on education used as college texts. These include the best selling Effective Teaching Strategies with the Behavioral Outcomes Approach and The Behavioral Outcomes Handbook for Teachers and Administrators. Presently she is a consultant in science education and curriculum development, a marriage and family therapist, a newspaper columnist and an author. Her latest book, recently published, is a memoir of sixty vignettes entitled "Now That I`m Dead, I Decided to Write this Book".

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