Monday, September 21, 2009

Superheroes Brain Assignment

Scott Olson from Towson High School, Towson, MD, has developed a fantastic brain project centered around superheroes. Scott graciously gave us permission to post his activity on the THSP Blog.


Science fiction writers are always searching for good ideas for plots that will capture the interest of their readers. A common premise was that radiation somehow altered biological processes, transforming normal human beings into superhumans, some good and some evil. One example is the Incredible Hulk.

Your task is to create your own superhero by pretending that it is possible to magnify the abilities governed in selective sites in the human brain. You may find it helpful to begin by listing the component parts of the brain and their functions. Identify the area of the brain that would have to be altered to accomplish skills you've determined are important for your character. You must choose nine (9) of these components to include in your superhero. Some of these components will be necessary to accommodate the characters new skills while some will be the ones altered to produce the new characteristics.

You will need to:
. Draw your superhero, (can use clip art) (10 points)
. Design a costume/outfit that reflects his/her main ability (20 points)
. Name your character (10 points)
. Determine the super abilities she/he possess (20 points)
. Identify the brain structures that will need to be augmented to accommodate the new super skill (30 points)
. Identify a simple plot that would encourage this superhero to come to the rescue (10 points)
Thanks to Scott for sharing your idea with our blog readers. For a Word Document version of this activity go to


Dan Sitter said...

What possible complications has anyone run into when doing this assignment? Any words of advice?

Anonymous said...

I cannot name the superheros/villains!

Anonymous said...

if my superhero has powers where he can see the future what part of the brain would be altered. the occipital lobes?????!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

i can't name a new superheroes eh what about a hero have a very big cat

Kent said...

I received the following email from Rian Colbert regarding this activity. Kent


I've been following your blog since the beginning of last school year when I began teaching psychology. It has given many different useful ideas and demonstrations that I have used in class. Thanks for putting together such an excellent resource. I'm currently teaching biological foundations for behavior and plan on using a modified superhero project listed on your site. In order to warm my students up to the project I've been using Stan Lee's Superhumans episodes to discuss abnormalities within real life humans and connecting them with the structures of the brain that we've been discussing. The show is brand new and the kids seem to really enjoy watching them. All of the episodes can be found parted up on youtube or on the history channel website they also have a full episode. I thought this might be an interesting resource for other teachers and students to enjoy. Keep up the good work.

Rian Colbert
Lansingburgh High School
Troy, NY