Lesson plans

Explore a variety of teacher-authored curriculum units for middle and high school STEM classes. Ranging from 1-5 weeks, these materials were specifically designed for use in biology, physics, computer science, chemistry, and STEM courses. The curriculum units offered on these pages were authored by middle and high school teachers as participants in the summer Research Experience for Teachers program, with support from members of the CNT education team. We add additional units each year. We welcome your feedback on these teaching materials.

Introductory Curriculum for Middle/High School

This 4-5 week, 11-lesson unit uses a project-based learning approach to provide an introduction to the exciting world of neuroprosthetics and brain-computer interfaces.

Using neuroethics as a common theme, this 1-week, 5-lesson unit will give an overview of a broad range of neural engineering topics including the human nervous system, electrophysiology, the history of neural engineering, medical devices, and the ethical implications of these emerging technologies.

Middle School Curriculum Units

This 4-5 week, 7-lesson unit provides background in neuroanatomy, neuroscience, and neural engineering with a special focus on traumatic brain injury.

This 4-5 week, 10-lesson unit engages students in exploring the relationship between electrical circuits and the nervous system and constructing a model of a sensory substitution device with Arduino microprocessors and breadboards. In this unit, students experience the iterative stages of the full engineering design process.

High School Curriculum Units

In this 1-2 week, 4-lesson unit, students will explore the applications of artificial neural networks and construct a simple, three-level artificial neural network using Arduinos to simulate neurons.

This 1-week, 4-lesson unit challenges students to design, construct and test a device that optimizes the transfer of electrical current from one electrode to another within a chemistry context.

This 1-week, 5-lesson unit engages students in designing, constructing, and testing an Arduino-based model of a neural network, introducing concepts of programming, computer engineering, and systems design.

This 2-week, 4-lesson unit challenges students to extend their knowledge of basic electric circuits in the context of a neural engineering design project. Students design, build, optimize, evaluate, and present a sensory-substitution device using circuit boards.

This 2-week, 6-lesson unit challenges students to design and build a model of a device that uses circuits and is based on neural input that would help someone improve their everyday life.

In this 8-day lesson, students will be introduced to qualitative research methods such as semi-structured interviews in order to grapple with the ethics of neural enhancement using technologies such as brain implants and study drugs.

In this 3-week unit, students will explore the problem of what causes epileptic patients to have seizures and/or how neurotechnology works to help epilepsy patients with their seizures.


This 1-week, 4-lesson unit was designed for a high school Fundamentals of Biomedical Engineering class. With adaptation, it might also be a fit for similar courses at the community college level. In this unit, students will be able to build upon their existing knowledge on neuroscience and genetic engineering technologies and evaluate the potential of optogenetics as a solution to study brain activity.