Summer SAVY 2018: Session 6, Day 2 – Neuroscience Navigators (Rising 2nd)
In our second day at Neuroscience Navigators we really put our new knowledge into action! To start, we reviewed some material from the previous day. We built an impressive concept map as a class of all the new words we’ve been learning, and importantly, how they connect conceptually.
Next, we got back to our build-a-brain activity. Each student envisioned an imaginary creature, including a description of its environment, what it eats, and how it manages to catch or find its food. We then defined the senses and behaviors most relevant for its survival. Finally, we had to translate these capacities into to a proportionally sized brain. So, for instance, Mr. Ben’s “snarfhopper” lived in caves, and relied on a sense of smell to catch cave insects and auditory information for navigation. This required a proportionally larger olfactory bulb and temporal lobe. The final piece of the activity was to actually build the brain out of playdoh, again attempting to be anatomically accurate, along with mirrored hemispheres. The navigators got really creative with this and the final results were really cool! Ask your navigator about their creature and its brain!
To close out the day, we began learning about methods in neuroscience by talking about eye-tracking. We discussed how eye movements provide useful information about how our brain processes visual scenes, including saccades and fixations, and that this technology has been useful for studying reading as well as optimal advertisement design. We then visited a real-life cognitive neuroscience research lab, where we saw the eye-tracker in action! Most of us got to try out a “Where’s Waldo” experiment while our pupils were being tracked. We then viewed our gaze trajectory data and saw heat maps of our fixation times across the image. Tomorrow we will learn about another method in neuroscience research, fMRI, and get see a life-size (mock) scanner in action!
Mr. Ben Conrad
Play Doh Brains Model Activity
Eye Tracker Lab Visit