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Memory, Attention & Distraction

The brain's dynamic networks sort through constant sensory input, focus our attention and build memories. Use these activities with the Memory, Attention and Distraction module on Learn.Genetics and explore...

Brain Room

Learning Objectives

Different parts of the brain work together to form different types of memory.

The brain processes a lot of information at once.

In order to be stored in long-term memories, information must flow first through sensory and short-term memory


In a classroom-sized model, students use color-coded yarn to connect different parts of the brain, building a model that shows how brain regions work together to form different types of memories.


One skein of yarn in each color below (6 total), rolled in to a ball:

  • Red: divide skein in half and roll in to two balls
  • Blue: divide skein in half and roll in to two balls
  • Green, yellow, purple and orange: one ball each

Flashlight or Laser Pointer

Brain Room - Teacher Guide (pdf)

Brain Room Cards

Print and cut out. There are 16 unique cards, make extra copies of page 2 as needed to ensure one card per student.

Brain Outline (lateral view)

For your reference in setting up the space, or to project.

Stroop Test

A classroom-friendly application of a classic test of working memory and attention. Students work in groups of 2-3 to conduct a simple comparison of working memory tasks.

Stroop Test (fillable pdf)

Extension: Group class data and graph the number of errors for each task, or errors vs. time.

Seven Sins of Memory

A worksheet to help students take notes on the failings of memory depicted in The 7 Sins of Memory video on the Learn.Genetics website. A discussion question about the sins of memory being adaptive in other contexts is also included.

Seven Sins of Memory Worksheet (fillable pdf)


Supported by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) Grant No. R25OD011129.

The contents provided here are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIH.