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Educational Outreach Program at Sedona Red Rock Schools


A select group of Spring Brain Conference scientists interested in sharing their passion for neuroscience and neuroscience education will visit Sedona Red Rock High School in Sedona, AZ.


Spring Brain Conference 2023 Outreach teams will work with local students in classes reflecting the diversity of the school district. Teaching teams will include neuroscientists from academic institutions across the U.S. and graduate and medical students from Boston University School of Medicine and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Teaching Teams will present three interactive activities that were devised and tested in St. Louis City Schools by Washington University’s Young Scientist Program. Dr. Thomas Woolsey, a prominent neuroscientist and founding member of Spring Brain Conferences first shared these lessons with the Spring Brain Conference outreach many years ago.


The first demonstration will illustrate structures of the brain, the cells of the nervous system, parts of the neuron and diseases of the brain and spinal cord.  It will also explore substance abuse disorders (SUDs) and the resulting brain changes.


The second demonstration will introduce students to proprioception, or how the brain senses where the body and limbs are in space. Physiotherapy vibrators were used to stimulate muscle spindles via the triceps and Achilles tendons, giving the participant false information about where the limbs and body are in space. With their eyes closed, students cannot touch their nose during triceps stimulation and they fall backwards when the Achilles tendon is stimulated (right). The latter two demonstrations are presented in a format that addresses the scientific method, where students are encouraged to formulate hypotheses for each given experiment, collect “data” and analyze their results.


The third demonstration students will explore how learning occurs and will be introduce to the concept that an ancient part of their brain, the cerebellum, helps to adapt to changes in visual input. Students do a reaching task and a throwing task with prism goggles that shift their field

of view 25° to the side. At first, students miss a target to one side, but gradually adapt to it while wearing the goggles due to long-term potentiation. The adaptation persists when the goggles are doffed (middle) and students now miss the target to the opposite side from which they eventually recover.r

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