Skyhawk Synapses @ Skyridge!

Post written by PSU Psychology undergraduate Allie Clark.  Pictures by Kanani Miyamoto (PNCA), Jessica Patching-Bunch (PSU), and Joey Seuferling (WSU Vancouver)…

Noggin returned for three days this week to Skyridge Middle School in Camas, Washington to teach over 250 students about their fascinating brains…

OUR PREVIOUS VISIT:  Synaptic Pruning @ Skyridge

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This time the students came decked out in brain caps they had made themselves. These colorful caps outlined the various lobes of the brain and  –  thanks to their teachers  –  the students already knew a lot about their functional roles..!

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After reviewing their knowledge, as well as some common brain myths, Christina Williams, Joey Seurferling, and Matt Carlisle from WSU Vancouver, Allie Clark, Jesse Hamlin, Isha Whittaker, and Jessica Patching-Bunch from Portland State, Kanani Miyamoto from PNCA, and Noggin co-founder Jeff Leake talked about the structure and function of neurons…

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Along the way there were many fun tangents about topics such as memory, concussions, dreams, and even what would happen if you ate a brain… ?

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The students then learned how to make Noggin’s tried-and-true pipe cleaner neurons.  They took to it quickly, making many bright, whimsical specimens to either take home or hang as a neural net in their classrooms.

MAKE YOUR OWN NEURONS
LEARN MORE:  Pipe Cleaner Neuron Project Background
CREATE:  How to Make a Pipe Cleaner Neuron

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Then it was brain time!  Students crowded around the human and sheep cerebrums our Noggin volunteers had brought along, oohing and ahhing (and maybe some eewing) over their chance to touch and hold actual brains.

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The whole time, students continued to ask excellent questions. How does the brain heal? What happens in paralysis? And how come dinosaurs were so big but their brains were so small?

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The questions even ranged into the land of fiction – for example, how would the magic of Harry Potter work?  The volunteers and the students worked together to form a hypothesis as the Skyridge Yearbook class dropped in to take photos for posterity.

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The inquisitive students of Skyridge Middle School were great fun to teach, and Noggin hopes to return again next year!

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