Mental Mix Up: Experimenting with Your Ability to Focus

3.3 based on 22 ratings

Updated on Nov 15, 2013

Grade Level: 3th – 4th; Type: Life Science


Make a theory of how your brain takes in information. Experiment with your hearing and writing and hopefully understand how your brain functions and processes information.

Research Questions:

  • What happened during the hand exercise?
  • What happened during the listening exercises?
  • What is your theory?

The brain processes information in many different ways, but what if you had more than one thing being processed? Let us test it in this project and then afterwards you should make your own theory.


  • Yourself
  • Two volunteers
  • Pencil
  • Paper

Experimental Procedure

Hand exercise:

  1. Sit down and get your pencil and paper ready for writing.
  2. As soon as you start, the writer should focus on writing two words and alternate them until you are done with the exercise. Write for about 15 seconds.
  3. Your writing should look like this:







And so on…

  1. Write down your data, including this information:

Any words skipped

Wrong order


  1. Do the same thing, but have one volunteer say words out loud during the exercise to distract you.
  2. Record your data when you finish.
  3. Repeat the exercise, but now have your standing volunteer whisper words close enough to the writer to be heard.
  4. Record your data.

Listening exercise:

  1. Face one of your volunteers. Your volunteer will say words to you and you should repeat them.

Example: Volunteer says: Apple

You say: Apple

Volunteer says: Orange

You say: Orange

  1. Do this for about 15 seconds. Then record your data with this information:

Any words stuttered

Wrong Word

Unusually long time to repeat word

Needed word to be repeated

  1. Now have your second volunteer stand next to your first volunteer. Have your second volunteer say words to distract you while you and your partner repeat step 1.
  2. Record your data with this information:

Any words stuttered

Wrong Word

Unusually long time to repeat word

Needed word to be repeated

(The main concept is observing how your brain works while it is focused on one thing, and how it works while you are distracted by another thing.)

Terms/Concepts: Brain; Vibrations; Waves; Memory


Danielle Abadam is a well-educated high school student. She is currently taking advanced English, Mathematics, and Biology classes. For a few years now, she has been writing articles for various websites and her school newspaper. Danielle always does the experiments herself before she writes about them.

How likely are you to recommend to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely