Pennsylvania Homeschoolers

AP* Online Classes

This was simply an excellent course for learning Calculus BC. It was very well organized and utilized every opportunity to prepare students for the AP exam.

Neuroscience and the Brain

On-Line for Summer 2020

Teacher: Bonnie Gonzalez





Instructor:  Mrs. Bonnie Gonzalez, M.ED.


 Text required:  No Text is Required.  Students can purchase Brain Rules,12 Principles for Surviving at Work, Home or School. John Medina.  ISBN 10: 098326337X / ISBN 13: 9780983263371

All other required readings will be posted as pdf. files on the website.  No application is necessary.  

Class fees: $150.00.

(A minimum of 5 students will be required for the class to run. Class is limited to 20 students)

 The Brain is an amazing thing.  There is no more complicated information traffic system anywhere on the earth.    Your brain is able to make sense of squiggles, lines, and colors on a page and view it as a work of art.  You can imagine a scene of a beach vacation in vivid detail, or transport yourself to a future event all in your “mind’s eye”. This ability along with all of your decision making, muscle movements, and emotional expression originates in this marvelous structure called your brain. 

Over the course of this intensive three- week class we will be studying neurons, brain structure and function.   We will take a guided tour of the brain viewing neural connections, and specific brain regions as we discuss 12 principles of brain functioning. 

 TOPICS OF STUDY include the moral brain, the adolescent brain, the history of neuroscience, the brain and pain, the brain’s response to stress, individual brain wiring, attention span, and the brain, how the brain stores memory, our brain’s sensory integration and organization, and epigenetics. 

 FORMAT  This course will follow a lecture format.  A video lab component will also be added to these lectures where students will observe different parts of the brain, identifying structures and associating them with particular functions.    Live sessions will be held for 1.5 hours two days per week, for 3 weeks from June 29 – July 17.  Live sessions will be held on Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM. (All live lectures will be recorded and posted for student viewing in the event the student is not able to attend the lecture).

 The live portions will be set up in the following format:  week 1 will be all teacher-led lecture.  Beginning with the second week, the first half of the session will be teacher lecture; the second half of the live portion will be student-led presentations on one of the 12 principles of brain functioning.  Following these short presentations, the instructor will lead a discussion on the application of these topics.  The goal of these live sessions is to encourage students to explore brain functions and their application to daily life. 

Earned Credits:  Students can earn .50 credit hours if this class is taken in conjunction with the Neuroscience and the Brain course also offered by this instructor. Otherwise, this class will be .25 credit hours. 


 REQUIREMENTS: There is no required text for this class, however, students can purchase the book Brain Rules, 12 Principles for Surviving at Work, Home or School, by John Medina. We will be using this text as a background for studying brain functions.  Additional supportive material will be required reading, including research studies and reviews of the topics.  These materials will be provided in pdf format.  Class material will be posted on a class website in modules for each week. Students will also be required to watch 1 short lab video each week on a different structure of the brain.    Assessments in the class will include a student presentation on one of the brain principles, weekly lab questions and discussion board questions posted on the second and third weeks of class.    

 In addition to the many forms of communication which occur in this class, students can expect to receive a Monday email which will include an explanation of the concepts which will be covered, discussion questions posted for the week, and a list of student-lead presentations.   

My virtual office door is always open.  Students can communicate with me via email, or through the discussion board, and I attempt to answer all email communication on the day I receive it (there are some exceptions to this, but they are infrequent).  I encourage students to share information about the topics which they are learning and ask questions in order to improve their understanding. 

Start Date: Monday, June 29th, 2020 with a short Zoom orientation to the class and the website.   The class will run from June 29 – July 17, 2020

WHO SHOULD APPLY:  This class is for high school students who are looking for an interactive class, and are interested in learning about neuroscience and brain functions.  This is not an easy class, and each student must be willing to put in the required time.  Qualified students will spend about 6-7 hours per week on this class. This accounts for reading assigned articles, completing work on your presentation for the class, answering discussion board posts and participating in the weekly online live portion of the class.

Note: this course is open to 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th graders.  Although not a prerequisite, a previous course in biology is highly suggested


Instructor Qualifications:  This is my 14th year teaching online with PA Homeschoolers.  I teach AP Psychology with PA Homeschoolers and I have also taught Introductory Psychology and Developmental Psychology at local community colleges.  My AP classes are audit approved by the College Board, and 85% of my students have earned a score of 4 or 5 on the AP exam.   My teaching experience has also included classes for high school students on the topics of Grit, Self-Control, Positive Psychology and Time Management.   I have also developed online seminars for healthcare providers on the topics of stress, communication, job burn-out, anger assessment and management, and setting boundaries.    I have 39 years of experience as a counselor in the field of individual, marriage and family counseling where I have had the opportunity to instruct individuals in developing new and more productive behaviors. I have also earned over 150 hours in post-graduate continuing education class in various topics in psychology and counseling.   My degrees include an M.ED. in Counseling Psychology and a B.A in Psychology, both received from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.   I home-schooled my own three children and spent 8 years teaching in a home-school co-op.







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