Lesson Plan

AP Psychology Create Your Own Superhero!

Students will utilize their knowledge of brain structures, nervous system, and various neurotransmitters to create a new superhero.
Leah K.
Technology Training/Integration Specialist
Cobb County School District
Marietta, United States
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My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts, World Languages, English Language Learning, Health & Wellness

Students will be able to...

  • Demonstrate understanding of brain structures, nervous systems, and neurotransmitters.
  • Create a superhero encompassing new abilities based on augmentation or destruction of various structures, systems, and neurotransmitters.
  • Responsibly utilize electronic resources to accomplish this task.
Social Studies
Grades 11 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook/Attention Getter: CrashCourse Psychology

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Students will begin this activity by viewing two CrashCourse Psychology videos available on YouTube:

This may be accomplished by viewing the videos in class or at home prior to beginning this lesson.

Students should make notes on terms they are unfamiliar with and be prepared to discuss.

Teacher will lead a short in-class discussion on new terms along with connections to prior knowledge.

2 Direct Instruction: Introduction to Biological Bases of Behavior

Activity: Presenting

Students should have read and taken notes on the relevant textbook chapters for this unit.  In Myers Psychology 8e, these would be chapters 2 and 3.

Teacher should review key concepts.  A great resource for this is www.appsychology.com.  Student and teacher created PowerPoints.  Students enjoy the graphics and content.

3 Guided Practice: Presentation of a Sample Superhero

Activity: Creating

Utilizing Marvel's Create Your Own Superhero resource, teacher will lead the class in developing a Superhero.  Care should be taken to give justification for costume choies, superpowers, etc.

In the alternative, I have had an AP Art Student who enjoys anime come in as a guest illustrator and work on the whiteboard or large sheets of butcher paper (usually used for bulletin boards).

4 Independent Practice: Design Your Own Superhero

Activity: Creating

Give the following instructions to students:

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 have 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 toaccommodate 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, draw, or use
http://marvel.com/games/play/31/create_your_own_superhero) (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 or damaged to accommodate the new super skill (30 points)
Identify a simple plot that would encourage this superhero to come to the rescue (10 points)

In the past, I have allowed students to work in pairs with one partner designing the superhero and one the super villain.

5 Presentation/Wrapping Up: Adding the Superhero to the Class Wiki or OneNote

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Students will upload their final Superheros into either a class Wiki or a class OneNote.  Time should be given in class to allow those students who wish to present to do so.