First Grade Studies the Brain [photos]

by: Raffi Darrow, Ebytes Editor
First graders continued their human body investigation this week by visiting Shorecrest's Peck Center for Medical Sciences. Their lesson with Mrs. Peck started with learning about the nervous system. The nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord, and a complex network of nerves. This system sends messages back and forth between the brain and the body. The brain is the boss of the body and controls all the body's functions.

Mrs. Peck shared a color-coded model of skull. They talked about the right hemisphere and left hemisphere of the brain. They learned the main purposes of the cerebrum and cerebellum. Then they talked about their five senses, finally landing on smell. Did you know your sense of smell can get lazy? If you smell the same scent for a long time the brain stops getting messages about the same smell over and over, and you can become "nose-blind." This is why flowers may seem to have a heavy scent at first but it dissipates over time. This was important information for the young Chargers for what came next...

Mrs. Peck had two sheep brain specimens for the children to examine, touch and learn about. She explained the brains had been in chemicals that may smell strong, but if the students continued to breathe normally, they would soon not be bothered by the smell. She excitedly reminded them that most first graders do not have the opportunity to study real brains, and to be respectful of the specimens.

They saw the gyri, sulci and ventricles of the brain, the cerebellum, the arbor vitae, and two cerebral hemispheres. As a special treat, Mrs. Peck demonstrated a knee-jerk reflex on one of the teachers!

Finally, the students had fun testing their blink reflexes. They stood behind a piece of plexiglass and Mrs. Peck threw a tissue toward their faces. Even though they had a protective barrier, they still instinctively blinked to protect their eyes from damage! 

Get a peek inside their visit to the Peck Center for Medical Sciences here.

The first grade body study is not over yet! Keep an eye out for more in future ebytes.


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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.