OPDC Career Development Fellow Dayne Beccano-Kelly, undergraduate student Natalie Sepke and former OPDC administrator Melanie Witt paid a visit to a local Woodcraft Folk Elfins group to talk about the research carried out by the OPDC and to support better understanding of how the brain works. The children aged between 6-9 years listened carefully as Dr Beccano-Kelly introduced ideas of how the brain works, how sometimes things can go wrong in conditions like Parkinson's, and how we are trying to better understand what is happening so we can try to fix it.
They started with an introduction to “Albert” a model human skull and brain (pictured centre). Brain hats for the children to wear and learn that different regions of the brain control different roles. Based on this the children were set the challenge of working out which animals went with a set of model brains that were brought along. They were taught that the brain is made up of many tiny cells called neurons. Though games they were taught their role, how they work together to make sense of the world around us, and what can happen when they stop talking to each other well.
The children were taught about learning vs memory using goggles to turn their world upside down, finding out that they had to re-learn basic motor skills. After the traditional Woodcraft Folk songs, the children left with crafts to continue their learning at home, with many of them eagerly explaining to their parents what they had seen and learnt as they were collected.
It was a fun evening and we pass on our thanks to the children and adults for making us so welcome.