K-12 Curriculum: Overview

The Mind Project offers immersive online virtual experiences that capture students' imagination.

The Mind Project’s goal is to bring cutting edge research to classrooms to excite students about the application of STEM concepts in real world careers. Students are thrown into the drama of trying to solve real-life scientific mysteries and of implementing state-of-the-art medical advancements.

We have dozens of modules on a wide range of topics in the cognitive sciences. Here is a comprehensive list of all of our modules listed 3 different ways: by category (or topic), by author, and by title.

Category    (Topic / Discipline)
Author    (A - Z)
Title    (A - Z)

There is a good deal of material here. Below we will draw your attention to our most popular, fully immersive virtual labs. If this is your first time to the TMP website, take some time to experience these modules for yourself. The robotics modules are used by high school students and by some middle school students. The neuroscience modules are used primarily in high schools but can also be used in the proper kind of middle school setting.


Our Most Popular Immersive Virtual Labs


Search our curriculum modules by "Category" and you will find a number of "Neuroscience" modules. For example, Rob Stufflebeam's animations explaining neurotransmission

   Introduction to Neurons, Synapses, Action Potentials,
  and Neurotransmission

are among the most frequently viewed on the Internet. In addition to these shorter modules, we also have three immersive neuroscience labs. In the first two, students become neurobiologists doing research on rats. In both, they implant electrodes into a rat's brain so as to monitor dopamine levels. In the first, dopamine levels are monitored in a rat that self-administers cocaine with important discoveries made about the nature of addiction. In the second, rats who have lost many dopamine neurons (similar to Parkinson's patients) are monitored as students gather data to help them evaluate competing theories that attempt to explain the brain mechanisms that produce the motor deficits in Parkinson's patients. The second lab (on Parkinson's) is more sophisticated than the first one and allows the students to be more directly involved in implanting the electrodes into the rat's brain, though it does take students longer to do. In the third lab, students are not researchers but are endovascular neuroradiologists who are confronted with a patient in an emergency room having a stroke and they must perform a "coiling procedure" as therapy for an aneurysm.

Virtual Neuroscience Lab #1: Cocaine Study

Virtual Cocaine Lab Until recently, it was thought that dopamine was only associated with the brain's reward system. Recent experiments have shown that dopamine plays a role in reward seeking behavior as well as the consuming stage. The user becomes a neurobiologist and performs an experiment to study this issue by implanting electrodes in a rat's brain, monitoring dopamine level as the rat self-administers cocaine, and interpreting the data.

Virtual Neuroscience Lab #2: Parkinson's Study

Virtual Cocaine Lab The death of dopamine neurons produces a loss of normal motor function. Surprisingly, a Parkinson's patient can lose 80% of her dopamine neurons before symptoms are evident. The student becomes a neurobiologist implanting an electrode into a rat's brain, measuring dopamine levels to test two competing theories that seek to explain how the body "compensates" for the loss of neurons.

Virtual Stroke Lab

Virtual Cocaine Lab Students become a neuroradiologist in an emergency room with a possible stroke victim awaiting diagnosis. They consult the patient's history, check risk factors for stroke, perform diagnostic tests and discover the patient has an aneurysm, leading to the selected therapy -- which is to perform a "coiling procedure." Students learn about different types of strokes, their risk factors, symptoms, causes and treatments.



One of the best ways to learn about the nature of robotics is to begin by learning about two of the most influential "models" for producing machine intelligence. One model for producing an intelligent machine is to equip it with a computer-brain and computational states that function as "beliefs" and "desires". Sensors generate "beliefs" about the state of the world and the machine behaves so as to achieve its goals. This is the "top-down" approach. The alternative is to build robots on the model of simple insects, which don't have big brains but produce intelligent behavior with a relatively small number of "behaviors" -- rank-ordered in priority to produce intelligent behavior. Build both kinds of robots . . and much more in our modules below.

Virtual Robotics Lab ("Top-Down")

Virtual Robotics Lab ( Users build and program a mobile robot -- assembling all physical components of the robot, constructing a robotic arm, writing scripts to direct the arm to pick up a Coke bottle, writing scripts to steer the robot's wheels to the activity table, loading "beliefs" into the main AI engine (ProtoThinker), and watching the Iris.4 robot move through the lab, recycle the Coke bottle (because in its "language of thought," it is a committed environmentalist).

Virtual Behavior-based (or "Bottom-up") Robotics Lab

Virtual Robotics Lab In contrast to "top-down" robotic architectures, behavior-based (or "bottom-up") robotic design does not equip the robot with anything like a "mind" (with beliefs and desires) but instead uses very little computational power and gives it instead a relatively small number of stimulus-response mechanisms, each by itself just a stupid behavior. But if you can create the right "hierarchy" -- giving each behavior the right rank-ordered priority, you get intelligent behavior. Observe, design & test your own robots.

Introduction to Robotics (with Virtual Labs & Medical Robots)

Virtual Cocaine Lab This "Introduction to Robotics" has integrated many of The Mind Project's modules on AI and robotics into a general introduction that focuses attention on a broad range of different robot-types and shows how they are currently being used in the medical field. Effective use is made of images and videos, together with three separate virtual robotics labs -- including our two main stand-alone labs on "top-down" and "bottom-up" robotics.