From Teachers to Neuroscientists

A team comprised of an Interdisciplinary Science and Research (ISR) Pathway, Biology, Spanish, and English teacher from Stratford's Academy of Science and Engineering spent a day investigating neuroscience with scientists from Vanderbilt's Center for Science Outreach (VCSO). During the morning sessions, team members studied the effect concussions have on the brain. Team members conducted a test for the presence of a protein released when the brain suffers a concussion and graphed data gathered. In the afternoon session, VCSO scientists led team members through an introduction to diagnosing brain injuries as well as a discussion of the brain and drug addiction. Team members diagnosed brains—really molded ice sculptures—and contemplated the problems of drug addiction in our society. Team members met the following day to develop a PBL for ninth grade Interdisciplinary Science Research (ISR) students. Motivated by the discussion of drug addiction the previous day, the team decided to ask ISR students the driving question, “How do drugs impact your body, your family, your community, and your world?” After researching the effect of medication on the brain and disorders of the brain, students will collaborate to create concise, videotaped public service announcements which will be played in the school lobby. Not only will the students who participate in the PBL learn about the connection between addiction, chemicals, and brain function, but they will have the opportunity to share their understandings with peers in other pathways and academies.