23 Mar Brain Day
Proudly displaying their “brain” erasers, “brain” pencils and touting, “I touched a Brain!” was the scene as South Orangetown Middle School (SOMS) students left the classroom of Health teacher, Vickie Shaw. The students had just departed a lesson packed full of pertinent information on how the brain functions. One of the classroom activities included the students watching a short video in which six people, three in white shirts and three in black shirts, pass basketballs around. While watching, the students were asked to keep a silent count of the number of passes made by the people in white shirts. At some point, a gorilla strolls into the middle of the action, faces the camera and thumps its chest, and then leaves, spending nine seconds on screen. Would you see the gorilla? This helped to guide to class toward discussions on the topics of how the brain is affected by the use of seatbelts, helmets, sleep and drugs and alcohol. The power of this lesson will have a long term impact on students understanding how the brain works will hopefully deter adolescent risk taking. “Brain Day” was such a success that students are asking for a second “Brain Day!”
A special thanks to the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research (NKI) and Dr. Michael Milham MD, PhD, founding director of the Center for the Developing Brain at the Child Mind Institute who are internationally known for pioneering contributions to psychiatric research and for sharing their knowledge with students at SOMS.