Primary students explore the brain

At first appearance it might look like an instruction class for junior Dexters or zombies looking for a snack.

Yet the Dampier and Karratha primary school students were not dissecting sheep’s brains at a special class on April 5 to spice up their lunch menu but rather to gain insight into the makeup of the human brain.

The class was part of the Primary and Extension Challenge for gifted students from the Baynton West, Dampier, Karratha, Tambrey and Millars Well primary schools.

With the PEAC students choosing to study the human brain this term, Donna Collins, the head of maths and science at Karratha Senior High School, came in to take the class.

She said the students learnt fast.

“I have taught them stuff today out of the year 12 books and they have remembered it like that,” Donna said.

“They were able to tell me [about] the hemispheres and the lobes and which bits were at the back of the brain.”

But not all of the answers were straight out of the textbook.

When asked, ‘What are convolutions?’, student Riley Boardman described them as “the spaghetti stuff” in the brain.

Olivia Bunter said she found it “gross” but “cool” to dissect the sheep’s brain and was fascinated to learn facts about the human brain, such as that it used more parts to control our faces than our arms.

Karishima Byles was amazed that a sheep’s brain was so small relative to the size of the animal.

For teacher Donna Collins, the class was important in helping students appreciate science.

“It is about them loving science and having that desire to know more about the world and their bodies and to become little scientists because it is science that makes our life easier,” Donna said.

Student Jaxon Degebrodt could also see the real world applications of science when he asked if he could take his sheep’s brain home.

“I want to throw it at my brother,” Jaxson said.

Students examining specimens

Students examining specimens

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