Even More Brain-Powered Science: Teaching and Learning With Discrepant Events

by: Thomas O'Brien

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• How can water and a penny demonstrate the power of mathematics and molecular theory?
• Do spelling and punctuation really matter to the human brain?

The third of Thomas O’Brien’s books designed for 5–12 grade science teachers, Even More Brain-Powered Science uses the questions above and 11 other inquiry-oriented discrepant events—experiments or demonstrations in which the outcomes are not what students expect—to dispute misconceptions and challenge students to think about, discuss, and examine the real outcomes of the experiments. O’Brien has developed interactive activities—many of which use inexpensive materials—to engage the natural curiosity of both teachers and students and create new levels of scientific understanding. The hands-on activities serve as visual participatory analogies for science education principles related to the nature of science and cognitive learning theory, bridging the gap between practice and theory.

Each exploration, along with the related extension activities, can serve as the framework for a series of professional development sessions or complement conventional preservice science textbooks. Each of O’Brien’s easy-to-use chapters includes an expected outcome, an explanation of the science and science education concepts, discussion points, the procedure, and a list of related websites. Whether you are new to the Brain-Powered Science books or are a “brain-powered” professional, this book is sure to create shared entertaining educational experiences for teachers and students.

“The subject matter and activities are relevant and inexpensive for any new teacher to use. They convey the concepts of developing critical thinking skills. The author is good at piquing interests by use of discrepant events.”
—Janice Crowley, science department chair, Wichita (Kansas) Collegiate Upper School, and 2009 Siemens National AP Teacher of the Year

“Once again the author does an outstanding job in presenting materials that will lead to the pertinent discussions that need to occur in science education.”
—Michael Jabot, professor of science education, State University of New York at Fredonia College of Education

Download a sample chapter

Grade Levels

Elementary High School Middle School


Assessment General Science Inquiry NGSS Science and Engineering Practices


Type NSTA Press BookPub Date 4/15/2011ISBN 978-1-936137-21-3Stock # PB271X3

NSTA Press produces classroom-ready activities, hands-on approaches to inquiry, relevant professional development, the latest scientific education news and research, assessment and standards-based instruction.

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