May 1, 2014

On the Cutting Edge of Brain Research

Friends' 1st graders working with under-
graduate students from CU's Institute of
Cognitive Science
At Friends’, our teachers pride themselves on being lifelong learners. They are forever learning and constantly on the cutting edge of the latest educational research. One of our professional educators, elementary literacy specialist teacher Tricia Callahan, has been instrumental in bringing the very latest in brain research directly into our classrooms. Tricia invited some of their undergraduate students from the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado to Friends’ to work with our students.

Tricia explains:

“Over the last few weeks, Friends’ younger elementary students were fortunate to participate in a new program offered through the CU Institute of Cognitive Science. Small groups of neuroscience undergraduates came to our K-3 classes to teach interactive lessons that focused on the brain. They taught our students how the brain works and how to enhance its growth and development. The lessons were developed by CU neuroscientists and focused on teaching students about cutting-edge neuroscience research.”

Nicole Speer, Director of Operations, Intermountain Neuroimaging Consortium, states that “one of the primary hopes we have for the program is that, in sharing the results of current neuroscience research with young students, we will be teaching them how to make good choices regarding sleep, nutrition, and safety, helping them to build a strong healthy brain.”

Tricia Callahan
The Intermountain Neuroimaging Consortium is a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and the Mind Research Network in Albuquerque, New Mexico that brings together internationally recognized neuroscientists from the Rocky Mountain region who study complex psychological processes such as emotion, attention, sleep, learning and memory.

Tricia continues:

Our teachers were impressed with the hands-on nature and variety of age-appropriate activities and demonstrations. Students built neurons out of pipe cleaners solidifying their understanding of how neurons work. Students then joined their neurons together while learning about how neurons transmit information to the brain. The demonstrations provided tangible evidence regarding nutrition and safety.

CU students proved how much sugar there is in common foods such as apple juice, peanut butter, and soda by showing baggies filled with equal amounts of sugar for all of the foods. Teachers noticed that snack time conversations after the CU lessons were frequently about sugar content in food. Students were even checking food labels for sugar! This lesson complimented the second grade unit on nutrition.

Another demonstration regarding safety was very effective. CU students put an egg in a baggie and dropped it. You can imagine the result! They did the demonstration again, but this time they padded the egg. A lively discussion about helmet safety ensued.

We are grateful to the CU Institute of Cognitive Science for bringing this program to Friends’ School. The CU students’ passion for the material was evident in their teaching. We also appreciate the very positive and warm interactions they had with our students.”

And we are grateful to dedicated teachers at Friends’, like Tricia, who model our mission of lifelong learning for their colleagues and students. 

No comments: