The Voice: Summer 2003
Brain Day gives students brain tour
By: Andrew De Jong
On a Saturday in March, students from area grade schools were invited to
come to the Dordt College Science and Technology Center to participate in the
second annual Brain Day. Approximately seventy students from grade five and up spent
their day hearing lectures and participating in hands-on activities to learn about the
complexity of the brain.
Brain Day was inspired by Brain Awareness Week, which is observed during the
second week of March. Sponsored by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, this
week is intended to inform people about the intricate functions of the brain.
We dont have the resources yet to do an entire week, says Tony
Jelsma, professor of biology, who was involved in setting up this years Brain
Day. Rather than trying to organize activities for an entire week, he and
Ralph Davis of Northwestern College teamed up to organize Brain Day. Last year
the event was held at Northwestern College.
Kicking off the festivities was Dr. Dale Nystrom, who lectured on how nerves
communicate. Danny Hitchcock, professor of psychology, led a discussion about the brains of
infants and the autonomic nerve system, and Davis gave students a tour of
the brain, explaining its different sections and functions. Later in the day, the
students participated in a number of hands-on activitiesdissecting sheep brains and cow eyes,
working with a 3-D computerized model of the brain, and examining a model
of the human brain under a microscope.
This is really a fun day for the kids, says Jelsma. The response
has been very positive. Many of the students enjoyed the hands-on activities most,
especially the dissection. And with Brain Day in its second year, theyre constantly
getting ideas for what to do next time.
Next year we would like to involve the college students more, he says.
Maybe well try to involve education students, to give them some experience while
we educate the kids.