Brain workshop for Steyning pupils with the Brighton Science Festival

Steyning Grammar School students learn about the brain with the Brighton Science Festival SUS-150902-111655001
Steyning Grammar School students learn about the brain with the Brighton Science Festival SUS-150902-111655001

The Brighton Science Festival School Tour visited Year 8 pupils from Steyning Grammar School recently with their ‘Of All The Nerve’ workshop about the brain; how it thinks, learns, remembers, how it forgets, tires and gets distracted.

Students were involved in a variety of activities to help them extend their knowledge on how the brain works. During one session they learned about the structure and function of a neuron.

To do this each student became a neuron in a class simulation of a simple neural network and discovered that although the neuron’s task is simple, that the combined effect of 30 or so neurons can be dramatic.

Students also performed a dramatisation of a reflex arc and they witnessed how illusions work by looking at some examples.

Mr Scott Robinson, Steyning Grammar School, Learning Leader KS3 Science said: “It was a brilliant opportunity to learn about the nervous system in such an innovative way, our students really loved it!”

Jessica Brown, one of the students said: “It was really great and they explained things in ways we could understand, I learnt loads.”

All the students participating were also asked to write a Scientific Report about the workshop. Melissa Shaw and Mya Sampson gave a detailed report on one task explaining: “Students were asked to look at black and white chequered strips that were all parallel but gave the illusion that they were crooked because their brains could not adjust to the picture.

“They then were told to stare at the middle of a hypnotic wheel, and when they looked away, the scientist’s head had become enlarged and wobbly.”

Miss Cheryse Rahaman, Steyning Grammar School Literacy Leader said: “It’s important that Literacy is embedded into all subjects across the curriculum and driven by teachers in order to develop writing skills and empower students.

“Extended writing opportunities, that link to ‘real life’ experiences are extremely powerful and enable students to reflect and focus on the ‘bigger picture’. Opportunities such as inviting the Brighton Science Festival into the classroom enable students to be actively involved – teaming up Science and Literacy makes a great stimulus to generate ideas and help students to actively write and engage in the task.”

Brighton Science Festival is now in its tenth year proving there’s a lot more to science than test tubes and prime numbers. This festival gives students the chance to experience this exciting approach to science learning with some hands-on demonstrations, engaging talks and live experiments all designed to unleash a curiosity for science.

Report and pictures contributed by Steyning Grammar School.