Learning About the Brain: A Brain Worksheet PDF Resource

This simple brain worksheet PDF is designed to be an easily approachable visual teaching aid for all ages.

By emphasizing basic geography over anatomical correctness, this interactive resource can help kids, teens, and adults learn to identify parts of the brain.

This teaching tool can be useful when teaching in academic and mental health contexts about parts of the brain, how they function, and how they are interlinked.

This worksheet is not exhaustive, but instead it is designed to help people recognize the basic parts of the brain in a way that is approachable and not overly clinical or academic. All resources in this PDF download come in full color and black and white, making it a great option for personal, classroom, or professional use.

In this article, you’ll find: three way to use this illustration in your classroom, why it’s important to learn about the brain, and how the brain is engaged in trauma processing.

colorful illustrated diagram of basic brain anatomy

Three Ways to Use my Brain Anatomy Worksheet

This worksheet can be used in three ways: as a brain anatomy quiz or worksheet, as a brain coloring page, or, as a template for a three-dimensional brain building educational activity.

1. Brain Anatomy Quiz or Worksheet

fill in the blank worksheet of brain anatomy

If you are trying to learn or teach the parts of the brain and how they function, this simple worksheet may be more approachable; it’s easier to remember than a technical anatomical illustration of a brain. You can use this fill-in-the-blank brain worksheet to quiz yourself or your students on the names of the parts of the brain and/or the functions that each of those parts of the brain manages.

Somehow, illustrations of brain anatomy always get paired with very clinical or technical drawings, which have a strange dissonance, for me, given that we all have brains and all can benefit from an easy-to-understand model for understanding brain anatomy.

In my visuals, I swapped out a technical drawing of a brain with a cartoon style that-though perhaps less antatomically accurate- makes it easy to visualize and remember the parts of the brain that are most active in our emotional regulation and mental health.

2. Brain Coloring Page

illustrated diagram of the brain

Research is very clear that studying visually boosts memory retention 1. When we thoughtfully and with attention color in a drawing, add to the drawing, or copy a drawing, our memory is improved. If you are helping your students, clients, or yourself to study the parts of the brain, using art in your study can help

3. Three-Dimensional Brain Worksheet

To maximize the benefits of visual, tactile, and interactive learning and how they can boost memory compared to just hearing or reading, interacting creatively with this brain worksheet can help. Here’s how to use this brain anatomy worksheet as a three-dimensional template:

  • Print multiple copies of the blank worksheet
  • Color in, paint, or add detail to each specific portion of the brain.
  • Cut out each anatomical part
  • Layer the pieces together to make a complete brain

💡Tip: Mount each piece with a foam square adhesive to turn this into an interactive and three-dimensional learning activity.

Download the PDF Worksheet Pack

Why Study the Brain?

The brain does its thing, right, so why study it? Because understanding brains and how they work can help us better understand others and ourselves.

🧠 How Knowing About Brains Helps Us Understand Others

The amygdala, often referred to as the brain’s “alarm center,” and the prefrontal cortex, responsible for making complex decisions and goal-driven choices are both key to human development. Knowing this, you can begin to appreciate why scientists assert that young people do not have fully matured brains until their mid-20s. This awareness can foster empathy and understanding between teenagers and adults when young people make choices that may seem impulsive or irrational.

The amygdala also plays a big role in processing emotions, particularly fear and anxiety. When confronted with a threatening or traumatic situation, the amygdala activates, initiating the body’s “fight or flight” response. This activation results in a surge of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, which prepare the individual to respond to the perceived danger.

For trauma survivors, this process can be intensified. Research has shown that in some individuals who have experienced trauma, the amygdala may become both enlarged and hyperactive. This means that their amygdalas not only process threats more intensely but also remain on high alert even in non-threatening situations.

Knowing how trauma impacts the brain helps us cultivate compassion and understanding for trauma survivors and the challanges they face. A basic understanding of key brain regions and their functions can significantly enhance our ability to communicate effectively, navigate interpersonal conflicts, and lead more fulfilling lives.

🧠 How Knowing About Brains Helps Us Understand Ourselves

When an amygdala is overwhelmed by fear, danger, or any overwhelming emotion, it activates, making us seem to “flip our lid” and act in ways we normally wouldn’t.

Growing self-awareness can help us learn to notice when our brain is getting flooded and we are about to become Very Upset™️. With practice paying attention to cues, we can be more aware of it when people we care about, like partners, children, or students, are moving towards a blow up.

With practice, we can have both:

1. awareness of when it’s about to happen, and

2. skills we can use to de-escalate ourselves and others.

Many times, just taking a break can help give our brain a chance to self-soothe and regulate. It might be as simple as saying something like, “I know this conversation is really important, but I’m very overwhelmed right now. I need to take 10 minutes to splash some water on my face/run around the block/meditate in the backyard/etc to calm down, can we continue this conversation in __ minutes?”

Brain Anatomy Engaged in Trauma Processing

illustration of brain anatomy engaged in trauma processing

The prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus are all engaged in trauma processing. Understanding the functions and interactions of these brain regions in relation to trauma can be key for effective therapy and healing.

  1. Prefrontal Cortex: The prefrontal cortex is the brain’s control center for rational thinking, decision-making, and emotional regulation. In cases of trauma, this region may become overwhelmed, leading to difficulties in managing emotions and making rational choices. Therapy aims to help individuals strengthen the prefrontal cortex by developing coping strategies, gradually restoring their ability to manage emotions and responses to traumatic triggers.
  2. Amygdala: The amygdala acts as the brain’s emotional alarm system, primarily processing fear and anxiety. Trauma can cause the amygdala to become hyperactive, resulting in intense emotional reactions, flashbacks, and heightened anxiety. Therapy often focuses on teaching techniques like mindfulness and relaxation to help individuals manage the hyperactivity of the amygdala and reduce emotional distress triggered by trauma-related stimuli.
  3. Hippocampus: Responsible for memory formation and organization, the hippocampus plays a crucial role in trauma processing. However, during traumatic events, stress can interfere with its function, leading to fragmented and intrusive memories. Therapy aims to facilitate the gradual processing and integration of these traumatic memories, allowing individuals to regain control over their memories and reduce distress associated with fragmented recollections.

Final Thoughts

This simple brain worksheet offers an accessible and engaging approach to learning about the parts of the brain, making it suitable for individuals of all ages. It prioritizes basic geography over anatomical precision, and is versatile as a teaching aid in both academic and mental health contexts.

Understanding brain anatomy and function can foster compassion, empathy, and improved communication. It enables us to recognize the neurological basis for emotional responses and empowers us with tools to regulate our emotions and help those around us. This worksheet, with its approachable style, offers a bridge between complex brain science and everyday life, making it a valuable resource for anyone looking for an introduction to brain anatomy.

Mockup image of the internal vs external boundaries PDF printable.

Illustration: Boundaries are Internal & External

External boundaries are where we bump up against each other (like setting boundaries around our time or how we allow others to treat us), while internal boundaries are where we bump up against ourselves in ways that bring dissonance between competing desires (like wanting to take on a new project but knowing we can’t don’t have the resources to complete it). In this illustration, I tease out some of the nuances between internal and external boundaries.

A hand doodled brain

Image Description for Screen Readers:

The featured image in this post is a colorfully illustrated diagram of basic brain anatomy. The background is pink and orange stripes with a brain doodle in the middle. The brain is grey with each labeled part in a different color for emphasis. The labels point to the correct areas of the brain and read clockwise as follows: circulate cortex (left), corpus callous, thalamus, cerebellum, hippocampus, amygdala, insula, and prefrontal cortex.

References:
  1. Lindner, K., Blosser, G., & Cunigan, K. (2009). Visual versus auditory learning and memory recall performance on short-term versus long-term tests. Modern Psychological Studies15(1), 6. []

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