White matter, gray matter, regional volumes, neural activity, fiber architecture, bilateral symmetry, connectivity, plasticity. The vocabulary of neuroscience is a cornucopia of terms to describe the complexities of a 3-pound organ. Hidden from view by a bony shell, our brains orchestrate a symphony of chemical, electrical, and mechanical interactions to produce the behaviors that define our individuality and humanity. While the brain is the source of our every thought and movement, this complex organ is also changed by the very experiences it creates. This dynamic loop is crucial to our ability to learn, evolve, develop, and know.

We are because we respond. We are because we change.

With advances in technology and the ability to view the brain's inner workings, questions that have haunted scientists for centuries are finally being answered. Among the most intriguing are those related to a child's development and growth. Just as expectant parents pray for a "healthy child" above all else, after their baby's birth, parents place their greatest hopes, dreams, and worries in their child’s ability to develop the necessary social, emotional, and academic skills to succeed in school — and ultimately, in life. Can the brain, the source of human intellect, predict classroom abilities? Click "view slideshow" to see each of these recent neuroscientific studies related to school performance.