Education Outreach

Lesson plans and teaching materials

Start incorporating the Allen Institute's open resources into your classroom with these free teaching materials by Allen Institute staff and educator partners.

Encourage students to explore research-grade cell biology and neuroscience data, spark their excitement for scientific material, and get them started on independent research projects. Activities are available for introductory high school biology, AP/IB biology, college-level cell biology, and college-level neuroscience.

Neuroscience     Cell biology     Immunology

 

Neuroscience

Cell Types, Health, and Disease

This unit strengthens students’ understanding of the biological and social contexts of Alzheimer’s disease. Prior to exploring the neuropathology of Alzheimer’s disease, students are prompted to explore how brain donation plays a key role in neuroscience research and how studying the healthy human brain provides potential insights as to the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease.

Grade level:

Advanced high school students (AP/IB Biology): Lessons 1-3. Lessons 2 and 4 require a stronger understanding of transcription, transcriptomics, gene expression, and data analysis that high school students would likely not have encountered yet in their courses.

Introductory/intermediate college-level cell science and/or neuroscience students: Lesson 1-4.

Lesson materials

Neurons: Beyond the Textbook

In this lesson, learn about the concept of cell types and how they are defined, gain a more realistic perspective of neuron morphology, and develop a deeper understanding of how neuron features are analyzed.

Grade level:
Advanced high school to advanced college, sections progress from introductory to advanced levels

Lesson materials

Exploring Pathways in the Brain

This unit advances students’ understanding of neuroanatomy, explores the relationship between gene expression and brain region function, and guides students through developing their own experimental questions about brain connectivity.

Grade level:
College neuroscience, sections progress from introductory to advanced levels

Lesson Materials
 

Brain Bingo

This bingo game pairs images from neuroscience research at the Allen Institute with descriptions of neuroanatomy, cell features, and important concepts in neuroscience.

Grade level:
Introductory neuroscience and up

Activity materials

The Building Blocks of the Brain

This unit helps advance students’ understanding of neuroanatomy and genetics in the brain with real data, and drives students to evaluate types of data, data interpretation, and experimental design.

Grade level:
AP/IB/Honors Biology, any grade, or introductory level college

Lesson materials

From Single Cells to Whole Brains: Gene Expression, Cell Types, and the Brain

This short activity introduces students to the concept of cell types in neuroscience, why cell types are important, and how they are defined. Students then explore data from two methods used to capture gene expression: single-cell RNA sequencing and in situ hybridization (ISH).

Grade level:
End of introductory high school biology, or AP/IB/honors biology or advanced electives like anatomy and physiology

Lesson materials

Data science with the Allen Brain Map, Defining cell types by their electrophysiology, and more

FEATURED EDUCATOR RESOURCE

These open course materials using resources from the Allen Institute for Brain Science range in scope from virtual experiments that last a single class period through a full-term data science course. Some Python experience is highly recommended.

By Ashley Juavinett of the University of California, San Diego.

Grade level:
College neuroscience and data science

Data science course

All lessons

A Course-Based Research Experience Using the Allen Brain Map: From Research Question to Poster Session

FEATURED EDUCATOR RESOURCE

In this six-week course module, students learn how to use Allen Brain Map data through tutorials, conduct experiments of their own design completely online, and present a conference-style poster.

By Jim Ryan of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, with Kaitlyn Casimo of the Allen Institute.

Grade level:
College neuroscience

Read article

Full issue with supplements

Pandemic Teaching: Using the Allen Cell Types Database for Final Semester Projects in an Undergraduate Neurophysiology Lab Course

FEATURED EDUCATOR RESOURCE

This course-based research experience for upper-level undergraduate neuroscience majors guides students through an interactive activity to analyze electrophysiology data from the Allen Cell Types Database. Students conduct and write up a small independent lab project using the same data.

By Yi-Yun Ho, Bruce Johnson, and colleagues at Cornell University

Grade level:
College neuroscience

REad article

Read Supplement 1, Supplement 2, Supplement 3, and Supplement 4.

Cell biology

Allen Cell Explorer Quick-Start Guide for Teachers

Get started teaching with scientific resources from the Allen Cell Explorer that are particularly popular with educators. This quick-start guide for teachers provides in-depth tips for new users, detailed information on how to view and interact with data online, and use cases for each resource in classrooms and curricula.

Grade level:
N/A, introduction to scientific resources

Read guide

Introduction to Cell Biology

This collection introduces fundamental concepts in cell biology using images of human cells from the Allen Institute for Cell Science. Topics include the link between cell health and human health, differences between healthy and diseased cells, using microscopes to take images of cells, image analysis, and more.

Grade level:
As marked, ranges from middle school to advanced high school

Lesson materials

 

Mitosis and Microscopy

This unit helps advance students’ understanding of mitosis with real data, and drives students to evaluate types of data, data interpretation, and experimental design.

Grade level:
9-12

Lesson Materials

 

Cell Biology Bingo

This bingo game pairs images of real human cells from the Allen Institute for Cell Science with descriptions of important cell structures and concepts in cell biology.

Grade level:
9-12 and up

Activity materials

 

A virtual laboratory on cell division using a publicly-available image database

FEATURED EDUCATOR RESOURCE

Teach mitosis using Allen institute for Cell Science cell images, incorporating statistics and data analysis. Students quantify the amount of time it takes a cell to progress through the stages of mitosis using cell images.

By Eric Shelden of Washington State University

Grade level:
College cell biology

Lesson materials

View webinar

 

Does Organelle Shape Matter?

FEATURED EDUCATOR RESOURCE

With this unit, teach organelle morphology, analysis of large high-throughput cell datasets, and interpretation of cell image datasets using Allen Institute for Cell Science data and the Visual Guide to Human Cells.

By Carlos Goller of North Carolina State University

Grade level:
Intermediate to advanced college

Lesson materials

View webinar

Immunology

Introduction to Immunology

This lesson introduces basic knowledge of functions, cell types, and disorders of the human immune system, describes a common technique used to study the immune system through a model-building activity, and asks students to conceive an experiment that studies the human immune system. It also introduces some open research questions in the world of immunology.

Grade level:
9-12

Lesson materials

Have you developed an open resource for educators using Allen Institute data? Email us at communications@alleninstitute.org to share your resource and tell us about your experience.