Questions for Learning rewires the brain | Science News for Students

Questions for Learning rewires the brain

Sep 2, 2014 — 9:00 am EST


Before reading

1.    Think of a musical instrument, sport, foreign language or other skill you have mastered. How much time and effort did the process take? Has it become harder or easier over time to perform that skill?

2.    How do you study for tests? What habits or practices produce the best grades?

During reading

1.    What does practice do to the brain?

2.    What have scientists learned about brain development?

3.    What is the prefrontal cortex?

4.    Explain how fMRI technology works and why it’s an important tool.

5.    Why do attention areas become less active over time when we master a skill?

6.    What happens when someone is “in the zone?”

7.    Why is sleep so important in improving learning?

8.    What are glia?

9.    Explain how the myelin sheath can speed the movement of electrical signals.

10.What do we know about the brain that may explain why teens don’t always make the best decisions?

11.Why isn’t cramming the best way to learn something new?

After reading

1.    Think of a new instrument, sport or other skill you would like to learn. Based on your reading of this article, create a plan to maximize the efficiency with which you can master this skill.


1.    The pace at which the brain develops explains why teens don’t always make the best decisions. This can lead to risky behavior, including while driving. Working with a partner, brainstorm some ways to reduce recklessness behavior among teen drivers.

Further Reading

A. Pearce Stevens. "Learning rewires the brain." Science News for Students. September 2, 2014.