Havre Beneath the Streets

Hey everyone, Erin here.  Although we were not teaching today, I want to share something cool that we did.  Sarah and I decided to do some learning of our own, so we went on a tour of Havre Beneath the Streets.  If you are ever in Havre, check it out!



“Brain” in Harlem

As we drove into Harlem on yesterday evening, we had no idea we would have a host as gracious as Marcia. After setting up the “Brain” exhibit in the Harlem gym we were welcomed with arms wide open into Marcia’s home.   Thanks Marcia for the hospitality!

Mind Flex

Today’s schedule was jam-packed!  We taught students from Elementary to High School about the human brain.  We also did sheep brain dissections with each class.  Every time we do a dissection, some kids want to say “eeew” or “gross” because they’ve never seen a brain dissection before.  And let’s be honest, it is not everyone’s favorite activity.  However, at spectrUM, we think dissections are the coolest!  It is so rare to actually see the inside of a brain, eye, or heart, and we get to learn so many new and amazing things.  So we have a rule when we do dissections: if you want to say “eeew” or “gross”, you need to stop yourself and say “cool” or “awesome”.  And now the kids from Harlem agree, getting to see and feel the inside of a brain is the coolest part!

After five very full days, Sarah and I are going to get a few days off to rest.  We are going back to Havre for the weekend, then will begin again in Poplar on Monday.

A huge thanks to Marcia and North Central Talent Search for making all these stops along the Hi-line possible by providing funding, volunteers, and homestays.


Montana Students exposed to new scientific experiences today: 248

Tour-to-Date Total: 1198

Rocky Boy

Here we are at the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation, and we are deep in the midst of Native American week.  Our time with the students of Rocky Boy was rushed, but what we lacked in quantity we had in quality time.  We had little more than a half-day of instruction and we were able to see all of the high school students!  The “Brain” exhibit was a hit with the students, especially the extension activities added by Sarah.  The students gravitated toward her optical illusions and brain tricks at the table.

Sheep brains!

Sarah and I really appreciated the amazing volunteers today.  Because they were so flexible with our short schedule, we were able to provide a high quality experience for the students of Rocky Boy.  Thank you Talent Search volunteers!

Now we are on our way Harlem, Montana.  Blaine County, here we come!

Thanks for following us on our adventure!


Montana Students exposed to new scientific experiences today: 145

Tour-to-Date Total: 950

Here in Havre

Day 1:

Today Sarah, Hannah, and I pulled up in Havre, excited to see the 7th graders from Havre Middle School and the 5th graders from Sunnyside Intermediate School with spectrUM’s “Brain” exhibit.

The seventh graders of Havre Middle School had been learning about neuroscience in their class, so the spectrUM Brain exhibit was a welcomed supplement.  The hands-on activities allowed students to bring real-life context to the readings done in class. They were overwhelmingly excited to be able to experience the dissection of a sheep brain and identify the lobes of the cerebrum.

Dissections with Sarah

After school, Hannah headed back to Missoula.  Sarah and I really wanted something to eat.  We headed over to the local Dairy Queen.  A few of the middle school students saw the famed spectrUM UHaul parked outside the Dairy Queen and came over to get some soft serve and to say hello.  We sure felt like local celebrities!


The second day of our time in Havre was spent with local fifth grade students who bussed over from Sunnyside Intermediate School. They had not yet studied the brain in class, and they were very interested and enthusiastic to learn!

spectrUM’s popular “Synapse Pop”

These two days in Havre have been among my favorite days of the tour so far.  I was a student at Havre Middle School and I had fun seeing the changes made over the years.  It was so cool to explore my old stomping grounds!

There is no rest for us… after our last group from Sunnyside, Sarah and I loaded up the UHaul again and headed down to Rocky Boy, Montana.

Stay tuned for what comes next!


Montana Students exposed to new scientific experiences today: 259

Tour-to-Date Total: 805

On the road to Box Elder

Hi friends of spectrUM!  I am Erin, one of spectrUM’s Outreach Educators. Sarah, spectrUM’s other Outreach Educator, and I are excited to start on our first nine-day long tour. We will visit six schools in five communities in four counties in northern Montana.  We have two exciting exhibits to share, “Hands on Health” and “Brain”, both of which are tightly packed in the back of the UHaul.

Sarah and I arrived last night in Box Elder, Montana after a long drive from Bozeman and set up the “Hands on Health” exhibit.  Hannah, spectrUM’s Outreach Coordinator, has also joined us today, from Missoula, to help us get the tour started.

In Box Elder, we saw all students ranging from Kindergarten to Seniors in high school.  They were exposed to content that opened many eyes to prospective careers in the medical field. Multiple students confided in the three of us that they wanted to study to be doctors or nurses!  How wonderful!

Overall, the crowd-pleasing favorite was the dissection table, of course.  Students were excited to see the insides of cow eyes and pig hearts.  If you have never seen the inside of an eye, you must!  It is truly an amazing sight.

After a full day of field trips, we packed up the exhibits into the trusty UHaul and drove up the road to Havre, Montana, where I used to go to school.

Looking forward to another fun-filled day tomorrow!


Montana Students exposed to new scientific experiences today: 346

Tour-to-Date Total: 546

Ready, Set, MosSE! Cut Bank Health Fair

This blog post marks the official kick-off of the MosSE 2012 Fall Tour. Yahoo!

We arrived in Cut Bank late last night and set up our “Hands on Health” exhibit at the Cut Bank Civic Center. We were all pretty excited, as this tour stop marks the beginning of our jam-packed fall tour.

Unfortunately, we experienced one minor hiccup on our way to Cut Bank when we realized that we had forgotten to pack pig hearts for dissections. Oh no! Luckily, our outreach team consisted of three thrifty Montanans, so we immediately began calling butcher shops in all the towns we were passing through on our way to Cut Bank. Oddly enough, all the butcher shops were apparently plain out of plucks (hearts with lung, esophagus, and trachea still attached) for the day, so we were feeling a bit downtrodden as we entered Cut Bank. While we still had eyeballs and brains for dissections, hearts are just so much fun to dissect!

However, we should have remembered that we were, after all, in Montana. Within one hour of the health fair the following day, we found a man at another booth who just happened to have two  fresh sheep hearts in his fridge at home. His wife promptly brought them in and we began dissecting them with a group of middle-schoolers within minutes of receiving them.

Our visit to Cut Bank was sponsored by the Northern Rockies Medical Center as part of their annual health fair. Various groups of school children walked over to the fair throughout the day and we had a blast showing them our exhibit.

We ended up sleeping at the medical center in old patient rooms, which turned out to be quite the adventure in itself. We definitely felt that we were very “hands-on” with health.

Next stop: Box Elder!

MosSE Fall 2012 Tour Schedule is Released!

Follow along with our MosSE (Montana spectrUM Science Experience) Uhaul as we drive over 2,300 miles in the next three months to bring our “Hands on Health” and “Brain: A World Inside Your Head” exhibits to the following communities:

Tour Stop 1: North Central Montana

Sept. 6th: Cut Bank Health Fair

Sept. 24: Box Elder Public School

Sept. 25-26: Havre Middle School

Sept. 27: Rocky Boy High School

Sept. 28: Harlem Elementary School

Oct. 1-2: Poplar Middle School

Tour Stop 2: Central Montana

Oct 9: Stanford Public School

Oct 10-11: Fort Benton Elementary School

Tour Stop 3: Eastern Montana

Oct. 22-23: Crow Agency Public School

Oct. 24-25:  Northern Cheyenne Tribal School

Tour Stop 4: Bitterroot Valley

Nov. 6-8:  Stevensville Public School

Nov. 12-14: Corvallis Public School

spectrUM’s fall tour stops are powered by: The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, Western Montana AHEC, The UM Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience, North Central AHEC, Jane S.Heman Foundation,  North Central Talent Search, and Chouteau County PEAK.

The  “Brain: A World Inside Your Head” exhibit was developed in collaboration with the UM Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience. ” Hands on Health” was developed with support from Western Montana AHEC and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana.

The MosSE Blog is Back!

Hi All! After a brief hiatus the MosSE blog is once again being updated. You may wonder “What has MosSE been up to since their last post in 2009”?  Well, the answer is: a whole lot!

Since our last post in 2009, our mobile science outreach (MosSE) program has visited over 40 different schools in 22 Montana counties. Check out our map:

Our goal is to bring hands-on science to every county in Montana. I would say we’re well on our way!