Brains!

The Brain: Mysterious organ of the mind!  This week the Chartreuse Band studied that lumpy stuff between our ears. We looked at the brain as anthropologists, biologists and psychologists.

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We started the week with a look at the evolutionary advantages and impacts of the human brain.  In Alice Robert’s Origins of Us: Brains,  we saw how having to adapt to a rapidly changing landscape could’ve made a larger brain advantages.   We saw how this larger brain made it possible to make better use of stone tools and work in a group.  And we saw how a bigger brain allowed for the transmission of culture to our children through learning.  

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This led into a study of the anatomy and physiology of the brain.  We watched several crash course videos on the central nervous system and filled in anatomy of the brain coloring pages.  

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We reenacted the nervous system and worked together to send sensory input to the brain and relay those messages back to body.  

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Of course the crowning moment of the week was dissecting sheep brains!

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  There is nothing like donning latex gloves and squishing some brains to really stoke curiosity.

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It was really wonderful to see students using scalpels and manuals to discuss and identify structures with their peers.  I saw students drawing on all they had been learning as they poked around and drew on what they saw.  It was a true culmination of all that we have been exploring this week.

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Lola, Nora, Bruno and Clementine continued dissecting and exploring long after everyone left.  They even demonstrated what they had learned to the Orange and Indigo bands who happened to be passing through.

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To round out the week we had Jeremy Mintz, Phd in Psychology and good friend of mine, visit our class.  He opened our time with a question: what is the relationship between brain and mind?  We watched a Ted Talk by Iain Mcgilchrist’s called The Divided Brain.  We discussed and acted out the ways in which the specialties of each side of the brain influence us.
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This exploration of the brain is going to continue into next week as we take a look at child development, intelligence and memory.