Researchers at the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre are continually learning about the brain and sharing their knowledge through lectures, seminars and educational programs like the MOOCs. These educational programs traditionally target adults, however, they are now sharing knowledge with school children to teach them how our brain works.
Over the past year, Drs Sharn Perry and Jenna Ziebell have actively pursued designing community engagement activities to encourage and excite our next generation of scientists and their families. Together they have designed community friendly activities that are based on current neuroscience evidence, to learn how our senses rely on each other to understand our surroundings. These short activities, that include eating jellybeans to understand how our sense of taste and smell interact, have been very positively received by both adults and children alike at Agfest and the University of Tasmania Open Day!
With the help of PhD candidates Yasmine Doust and Ellie Bucher, working together with teachers and children from schools around Hobart, Drs Perry and Ziebell adapted these neuroscience-based community engagement activities for school groups. These school sessions were tailored to focus on more challenging concepts like what happens when our brain gets injured, and include a ‘Question Time’ where students ask the scientists some pretty complex questions! So far, the program has been successfully delivered to three schools within the greater Hobart area and over 100 students aged between 4 and 8 years of age.