Driving dendrites @ Discovery!

A nice crowd of Noggin volunteers spent their Friday afternoon with science teacher Nina Gross’ enthusiastic 7th grade students at Discovery Middle School in Vancouver.  We were guests of Nina’s, and her fellow science teacher Sam Barnhart, whose classes many of us will return to visit next Tuesday…

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Hilary Frey and Austin Howard of Portland State, and Chelsey Taylor Anderson, Rosie Salice, Michael White, Caitlin Calsbeek, Jonas Calsbeek and Ram Kandasamy of WSU Vancouver came prepared to ask students what they already knew about brains, and to explain how our different lobes do different things… 🙂

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Students asked great questions, including what happens when people suffer a stroke, why neurons carry messages, and why we need to sleep.  Our graduate and undergraduate volunteers also gained useful experience explaining how brains function, learning to break down complex ideas to make them clear…

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Noggin participants also discussed what they were studying, and emphasized how the opportunity to learn more about our brains and behavior is available after middle school, and high school, through study in college and graduate school.

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Then Noggin Arts Coordinator Jeff Leake divided students into separate “lobe” groups, and asked them to list functions associated with each large chunk of cortex.  Students thought about how to visually represent these functions, and drew them directly on large paper cutouts of frontal, temporal, occipital and parietal regions…

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Our graduates and undergraduates joined them at individual tables to answer questions, and help them “brainstorm…” creative ideas 🙂

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Art truly engages students (all of us, really) in learning, and exploring new ideas…

Relight

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Then of course it was time to examine real brains!

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Many thanks to Nina Gross and Sam Barnhart for welcoming us to Discovery..!

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