Brain Awareness Week 2012

Roosevelt University celebrated Brain Awareness Week in 2012 by sharing our knowledge and enthusiasm for science with the students at the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School!  Students taking PSYC/BIOL 310, Fundamentals of Behavioral Neuroscience, taught lessons about the brain to 7th and 8th graders in Ms. Lubinski and Mr. Javier’s science classes the week of 4/9/2012.  The topics covered include the following:

    7th Grade:
    Neurons and glia
    Parts of the neuron
    Synapse
    8th Grade:
    Brainstem
    Visual system

The YWLCS students had a blast building neurons out of pipe cleaners and playing synaptic tag.  One talented 8th grader composed the following poem:

    The Brain – by Veronica Wilson
    It functions your body
    It tells what to do
    It becomes your parents
    It becomes a part of you

    It tells you to sleep
    It tells you to wake
    It tells you you’re tired
    and need to take a break

    Your brain is your friend
    It hurts like you
    It takes in the knowledge
    of everything that you do

    When you’re hurting or sad
    your heart seems to burst
    Just be thankful you’re not damaged
    Your brain could hurt the worst

A couple of students shared their experience at the Transformational Learning Celebration sponsored by the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation on 4/19, 5-7pm, in the Congress lounge of the Auditorium building.  Roosevelt students also benefitted tremendously from this experience.  Below are some reflections:

    “After delivering the lesson plan last week and completing this project I realized a lot about myself, teaching, and group work. I really enjoyed going to the YWLCS and participating in this project it was a great experience. I learned that I am a good communicator, I can teach a class of eighth graders and I am reliable. Working with this group was challenging and rewarding at the same time. I also have a whole new respect for teachers and what goes into each lesson plan. This was a great project to be a part of and after it is completed I am glad I was a part of it and satisfied with how everything went.”

    “The level of inquisitivity of the children was very encouraging, and gave me a new insight on the perspective of teachers. Asking questions and participation is a considerably large part of the learning and instructing process.”

    “”What struck me the most was how fast the kids picked up the material. I thought it would have taken them a while for them to memorize what they had to soak in in such a short amount of time. I think the best part was knowing that I got a chance to take part in someone’s learning. It felt good leaving the school and knowing that I helped students learn about one of the most complicated organs in the body. The questions the students asked were shocking, and sometimes I didn’t know how to respond because the answer was going to be complex or I just didn’t know the answer at all.”

    “It was also a great experience for the girls we were teaching because they had a lot of questions about college or why we were doing what we were doing.”

    “I noticed that the girls responded to that and became very interested in what I had to say. It really showed me that these girls really do want to learn, grow, and succeed. Being a part of such a project actually made me feel really good about myself. I felt like our presentation involved the girls in what they were learning and it made me happy to see them engaging in what we wanted to teach them.”

    “Teamwork and organization were major components in the service-learning project. I had to learn to compromise and really listen to others. Listening and compromising were not the only things I learned during the course of this project. This project stressed the importance of being mindful of the fact that other people were depending on me to pull through and have my portions done in a timely manner, versus doing things at my own leisure.”

    “The girls were so intelligent and eager to learn, I was not expecting that from them. Their excitability towards us made me more eager to teach them this new subject. I learned that the girls were very advanced in their education than what I had originally thought. I knew then that I had to learn and master this material because these girls were very intelligent and I had to be prepared for their questions. I learned a lot more about the synapse and it’s true when they say that teaching others helps one learn as well.”

    “When I first heard that we would need to complete a service learning project for this class I was immediately dreading it.  My reason was that I didn’t want all this extra work to do when I already had a lot on my plate for the semester will all my classes being really content heavy. My attitudes changed about this when we went to observe the girl’s class. I really enjoyed getting to watch them interact and talking with them and letting them ask me questions. The 7th grade girls were really inquisitive and all together curious about the world and what they were learning.”