Summer Career Connections Session 4, Day 1, Neuroscience 101
Day 1: Dear “Neuroscience 101” parents,
It is such an honor to be spending the week co-constructing knowledge with your fabulous students. We began the day with introductions, where I got a small peek at your students’ individual interests. We then engaged in some peer-to-peer class norm-building and interviews about previous neuroscience experiences, interests, and/or hopes/fears for the week ahead. It was shortly after this morning’s slew of icebreakers that some of your students’ personalities really began to come to life. We jumped into our “journey through the brain” segment of the class, where each student picked a part of the brain from a bucket, came up and read about it to the class (if they were comfortable doing so), and even summarized it for their classmates in their own words. All students were tasked with writing keywords or a ”catchy” slogan for each part of the brain on a Post-it and hanging it up in the room. Our room is now very colorful and well-decorated😊 But most of all, your students really enjoyed looking at a 3D model of the brain while doing this activity, and the spontaneous discussions we had about each part.
Before we knew it, the morning had flown by, and it was time for lunch. After lunch, we enjoyed diving into a lively debate about whether “Nature” or “Nurture” is more important for who we become as people. As your students quickly caught on, we know now that it is very much BOTH that contribute, but I still encouraged them to debate solely for their side, as this is what researchers did in the past! It was quite a challenging activity with many laughs and great class bonding. Afterward, we talked about how learning happens in the brain on the molecular level, and how that process is why a “growth” vs. a “fixed” mindset is what we should be encouraging students to have – the more we practice and challenge a skill, the stronger and faster the neural connections get for that skill – we don’t gain anything by avoiding new risks or challenges just to preserve perfection/great grades! They ended the day by applying all of the knowledge of the day into an individual or group project to create an intervention for a local elementary school explaining the neuroscience of learning and encouraging a fixed mindset. It has been a real pleasure seeing their creativity shine, and I am looking forward to beginning the day tomorrow with presentations of their projects.
We have much to look forward to still!