SAVY 2019: Session 6, Day 2 – Biology of the Brain (Rising 3rd/4th)
Today was another excellent day in our Biology of the Brain classroom! We hit the ground running with a group share, giving students the opportunity to talk about the favorite thing they did in class yesterday and to answer any outstanding questions before moving forward. We started the morning class with a discussion about experimental organization and data visualization— this was a good opportunity to challenge many of the students’ beliefs regarding what data should look like by creating a tag cloud as a large group. Students brainstormed words they believe are related to our subject material, and we then used an online program to create a word cloud, illustrating our data based on the number of times specific words were included. The students are eager to complete this exercise again on Friday, to see how our knowledge and perspectives have shifted.
After diving deeper into discussion and tracing the different brain regions and lobes, the students learned about the importance of cerebrospinal fluid. This lesson was reinforced with a hands-on activity—students completed an experiment using an egg (to represent the brain), a plastic cup (to represent the skull), and water (to represent CSF). The students wrote observations in their Lab Journal, and witnessed first-hand the importance cerebrospinal fluid has in protecting the brain from traumatic injuries. To supplement and expand on the work we did yesterday with neurons, today we completed a Sound Chain activity. Students mimic the process of electrical impulses being sent to the brain via the auditory nerve, highlighting the importance of communication between different biological regions. We wrapped up the afternoon by discussing the science of emotions! Students worked independently to identify two less-common emotions, and we then categorized them as a group using a dimensional approach—based on both valence and arousal.
We watched a short clip from the film Inside Out before dismissal and students really seemed to enjoy this—I’d strongly recommend it for a family movie night, as it’s a great (and enjoyable) way to help reinforce our discussion of emotion.
We’ll be visiting a research lab on Vanderbilt’s campus tomorrow, so please encourage your children to wear close-toed shoes and cool clothing, as we’ll be walking a good bit in the afternoon sun. Looking forward to another great day!