Christmas Lectures 2011 - Teachers Resources

Christmas Lectures resources for teachers and students.

Bruce Hood delivers the Ri Christmas Lectures

The Ri has produced three presentations that have been designed to help structure students’ learning around the ideas covered in the Christmas Lectures 2011. Some teachers may wish to show all three lectures in their entirety, but for others we have broken down the themes and topics within these presentations, so that you can select sections from each.

Some of the activities and ideas are more suited to students at the earlier stage of secondary education, whereas some may work better with older students. Since ‘brain science’ cuts across age ranges and subjects, we advise you to choose those activities that you feel best suit your students and have not specified age or key stage.

Each section is presented as PowerPoint slides, ready to use with students. Teachers’ guidance is found in the notes accompanying the slides. Within the teachers’ notes, you can find Background information, that will allow you to set the scene; Activities, that describe what you can do with your students; Equipment, that you will need to have ready; science Explanations; and opportunities for classroom Discussion. Most activities also make reference to clips from the lectures, and provide a time stamp in minutes and seconds to help you locate the specific section from each of the lectures.

Lecture 1: What's In Your Head

Video available at
1-4        Introduction and electricity in the brain
5-8        Brain size and intelligence
9-10      Speed of nerve impulses
11-25    Brain and vision
26-31    Representation in the brain
32       Illusions and how getting it right means we that our brain can sometimes appear to get it wrong

Lecture 2: Who's In Charge Here Anyway?

Video available at
1-4        Introduction and neural connections
5-8        Simple learning: classical conditioning
9-11      Memories are made of this: short and long-term memory
12-15    Mnemonics and visualisation to improve memory
16-17    Attention
18-44    The Stroop Effect: Practical activity

Lecture 3: Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?

Video available at
1-5        Mind-reading
6-9        Programmed for faces
10-12    Communicating emotions
13         Body-reading


Educational materials developed and designed by Peter Finegold, Isinglass Consultancy Ltd

Image: The Royal Institution