Teacher's Guide for ODYSSEYTM Sleep & Dreams
Think Tank (Discussion Starters to Use Before Reading the Magazine):
Article / Page
"The Brain Never Sleeps," pg. 6
"The Tick and Tock of Your Inner Clock," pg. 10
- The brain sleeps, but it never shuts down! It cycles through five stages of sleep every night.
- Vocabulary, Inductive Reasoning
"Yaaaawwwwnn! Are You Sleep-Deprived?", pg. 16
- The body's internal control center, its biological clock, maintains life's daily rhythms. A sidebar (pg. 12) explains the brain's sleep / wake control mechanisms.
- Vocabulary, Deductive Reasoning
"Keep a Sleep Diary" (Activity), pg. 17
- Sleep-deprivation (less than 9.2 hours nightly) is a big problem for teens. It depresses the immune system and interferes with school performance.
- Inductive Reasoning, Application
"Taming the 'Night Owls'" (People to Discover), pg. 19
- Good sleep health comes from good sleep habits. Begin with this self-check.
- Following Directions, Inductive Reasoning
"Learn While You Sleep?", pg. 21
- ODYSSEYTM interviews psychologist and sleep researcher Amy Wolfson. Dr. Wolfson, who studies the sleep needs and patterns of adolescents, answers questions about teen sleep habits and offers strategies for improving daytime performance.
- Deductive Reasoning, Predictions / Consequences
"A Brief History of Dreaming," pg. 24
- Scientists study how the stages of sleep play different roles in learning and memory. REM (rapid eye movement) may be especially important for sleep learning.
- Inductive Reasoning, Application
"The Monster in My Basement," pg. 27
- Recording dreams dates back to prehistoric cave paintings and is woven into all early cultures' mythology and literature. Modern interest in dreams focuses more on scientific research.
- Vocabulary, Process / Development
"The Dream Readers," pg. 28
- A playful poem about a monster who invades a dreamer's basement before becoming a star in Hollywood.
- Rhythm, Literal Imagery
"Eyes Wide Open: The Sleepwalkers," pg. 32
- What do dreams mean? Are they windows into the subconscious or merely random electrical impulses in the brain? Theories are accompanied by a list of famous discoveries made in dreams (pg. 31).
- Critical Thinking, Inductive Reasoning
"Counting Sheep and Dogs!" (Brain Strain), pg. 35
- Sleepwalking occurs in a world of unconscious perception, where sleepwalkers interact with their environment without awareness or memory. The possible causes of sleepwalking include genetics, sleep deprivation, illness, and age.
- Inductive Reasoning, Drawing Conclusions
"Do Animals Dream?", pg. 36
- This puzzle challenges the reader to hide sheep from dogs. You won't sleepwalk your way through this one!
- Following Directions
"Sleeping with the Bears," pg. 38
- Intriguing evidence suggests that animals do dream and that some of their dreams are derived from the waking world. Questions remain about why animals replay some experiences, but not others, and have varying sleep needs.
- Observation, Drawing Conclusions
"What's Up? (Planet Watch and Backyard Observations)," pg. 40
- Hibernation helps animals cope with harsh winter weather. Because animals undergo physiological changes during hibernation - studying this phenomenon may lead to valuable medical applications for nonhibernating humans.
- Observation, Application
- January kicks off with the Quadrantid meteor shower, but stargazers should look also for the Winter Circle of six constellations. Explore the colors of stars, using a companion activity (pg. 42).
- Observation, Following Directions
Classroom "Syzygy": Talk, Connect, Assess
- Where do you think dreams come from? List ideas on the chalkboard. What evidence supports the ideas you have listed? What questions remain?
- Why do people have trouble falling asleep? What kinds of sleep problems interfere with human health and performance? What do you think happens to human bodies and brains during sleep?
Pg. 10 - "The Tick and Tock of Your Inner Clock"
Far Out!: Moving Beyond the Magazine
pg. 28 - "The Dream Readers"
- Talk It Over:
- Why do we become drowsy? What environmental cues make people sleepy? What role does the body's internal clock play? What do we know about circadian rhythms? What questions remain unanswered?
- Should middle schools and high schools start later? Would you like to start and end school one hour later daily? What effect would such a schedule change have on other activities, such as work, sports, and family life?
- Visual Arts: Organize a poster campaign for your school, teaching students about healthy sleep habits. Each poster should offer only one piece of information or advice. Make the posters both colorful and informative.
- Persuasive Writing: Write a brief persuasive essay supporting or opposing later school starting and closing times. Back up your view with facts and logical argument. Organize teams to debate the issue formally.
- Mathematics: Select 15 terms from the article (including the sidebar on pg. 12) to create a crossword puzzle. Give each letter and box in the puzzle a space of one centimeter square. Compete to see who can make the most compact puzzle. Measure compactness as the total area (length times width) of the rectangle that encloses the puzzle. Compete in other categories, too, such as the longest word, greatest total number of letters, and best clues.
- Student Assessment:
- For centuries, it was thought that biological clocks were regulated by outside forces such as sunlight. In the 1700s, it was shown that body rhythms are controlled internally. In a brief essay, explain how recent research has shown that each of these views is partly correct.
- Prepare a speech for your school administration, proposing a later starting time for teen students. Back up your position with solid research from the article and the accompanying Web sites. Consider presenting your proposal to the school board.
- Talk It Over:
- Have you ever had a dream that seemed to warn you about something or give you an idea for solving a problem? Do you think dreams mean something, or are they random images without meaning? Why do you think so?
- What hypotheses offer possible explanations for why people dream? Which among them makes the most sense to you? Do your opinions change when you consider that dogs and cats also seem to dream?
- Science: Organize a Dream Log to record as much information about your dreams as possible. Before going to bed, record information about your day. What did you have for dinner? Was it a stressful day? What emotions did you feel? What interesting things happened to you? Set up your log so that these items are listed regularly, along with whatever dream content you can capture when waking during the night or remembering your dreams when you wake. After one week, see if you can discern any patterns in your dreams or pinpoint relationships between your waking and sleeping experiences.
- Art: Draw a picture that depicts one of your dreams as accurately as possible. If you want to show a series of events from your dream, draw a panel of small pictures, comic-strip style. Does your drawing suggest anything about your dream's source or meaning? Does it capture the emotions you felt while dreaming?
- Literature: Poetry is sometimes called the language of dreams. That is probably because both poetry and dreaming rely on visual imagery, and because both are free from the rules of reality. Find a poem that sounds something like a dream. Read it to your class and talk about how poems resemble dreams.
- Student Assessment:
- Form an opinion about what dreams mean (if anything), based on the views mentioned in the article. Then write a persuasive essay, presenting your idea and supporting it with evidence. When you are finished, switch papers with someone who has a different opinion. Debate whose essay is more convincing and why.
- Sometimes celebrities read their lines from cue cards. Pretend that J. Allan Hobson and Sigmund Freud are guests on your TV talk show. Each gets a few minutes to present his theories to the television audience. Write cue cards for the presentations and script a debate between your expert guests. Let volunteers from the class be actors to read the parts.
An old knight who had slain many dragons
Whole-Class Project: Prepare a questionnaire about sleep habits and patterns, including such questions as "How many hours of sleep do you get at night?"; "When do you go to bed and wake up?"; "Are your sleep habits different on weekends?"; "Do you dream? How often?"; "Do you get sleepy during the day? When?"; and others. Organize the class into three teams to get answers from adults, children, and students in your school. Tabulate results, make graphs, draw conclusions, and communicate your findings in your school and community.
Would often drink too many flagons.
Large-Group Collaborative Display: Divide the class into three groups: Poetry, Painting, and Stories. Challenge each group to find examples of dreams in their category. Teams may also create poems, stories, or art pieces that involve dreaming. Organize the results into a bulletin board titled "Dreamscape."
While awake he was bright,
Small-Group Collaborative Project: Ask students to work with a partner to create questions for a Jeopardy-style game on topics related to sleep and dreams. (Luke Sleepwalker will be the host, of course.) Compile and package the questions as a board game and play it with another class.
Noble, sober, and upright,
But while sleeping, he fell off the wagon.
Community Connection: Famous meteor showers occur in November, December, and January. Have an area astronomer (contact local astronomy clubs) talk to the class about meteors and meteorites. Prepare questions in advance, and consider holding an astronomy club "slumber" party - where nobody sleeps, but star-dreaming is definitely encouraged!