“Best in Show” Visits Ronan

We have arrived in Ronan to the backdrop of the majestic Mission Mountains!

It has been another successful trip to Ronan! We could not have done it without the help of many volunteers including those from Kicking Horse Job Corps, St. Luke Hospital, Salish Kootenai College, and Ronan High School. With our “Best in Show” exhibit, students and families experienced some of our favorites from Hands on Health, Brain, and Motion. Over three days, 747 students from K. William Harvey Elementary School, Pablo Elementary School, Valley View School, and Charlo Middle School were able to visit the Ronan Events Center, which we transformed into a science museum. During these field trips, every student first met our friend Mr. Sniffles, the giant nose, as we talked about what causes us to get a runny or stuffy nose. Students became doctors and helped diagnose Mr. Sniffles’ case of sniffles.

Students swabbed our giant nose to collect a sample and diagnose the

Students swabbed our giant nose to collect a sample and diagnose the “sniffles.”

Then students observe the sample under the microscope.

Then students observed the sample under the microscope

Students also explored the 14 other exhibits in small groups. From the physics of motion to the parts of the body, students learned a lot about science! Each field trip then ended with a liquid nitrogen demonstration. What’s the coldest temperature that you have ever been in? Maybe -40 degrees F? Well, nitrogen turns from a gas to a liquid at -321 degrees F. Pretty darn cold!

LeeAnna Muzquiz from CSKT’s Tribal Health Department explains Anabody at Ronan’s Family Science Night.

Students watch as the pennies spin faster and faster down the Gravity Well.

Students watch as the pennies spin faster and faster down the Gravity Well.

Students get a chance to take apart and put back together “Anabody”.Many students returned to the Ronan Event Center to share with their families what they had learned during school and to explore a variety of additional science booths from the community. Attendance was fantastic with almost 500 community members coming out to explore.

A glimpse at the Colossal Brain from above.

A glimpse at the Colossal Brain from above.

The biggest hit of the night just may have been making ice cream with liquid nitrogen.

The excited crowd anxiously awaiting the freshly made liquid nitrogen ice cream!

The excited crowd anxiously awaiting the freshly made liquid nitrogen ice cream.

We would like to thank the Ronan Chiefs and Maidens and Ronan PTA for hosting us and sponsoring the experience. Chiefs & MaidensRonan PTA Sincerely, Sarah and Matt, MosSE Educators

Advertisements

“Brain” Travels the Blackfoot Valley to Potomac

Wheels are moving again with MosSE’s Spring tour, this time with a stop in Potomac, MT, home of the Potomac Pioneers.  We set up our neuroscience exhibit in the Pioneers’ gym for school groups and Family Science Night, fittingly during Brain Awareness Week (http://www.sfn.org/BAW).  Living just 30 minutes up the road from spectrUM’s home base in Missoula, many of the kids have been to our museums before, so it was a real treat for us to talk about the brain with some budding experts.IMG_0617

During the day, we explored a variety of neuroscience topics with 68 students in grades K-8.  It’s neat that so much of what we know about the brain comes from studying experiences common to all humans, no matter the age.  For example, have you ever had a memory pop up after smelling some aroma, or shaken a box you got in the mail to figure out what’s inside before excitedly opening it?  Our Senses Station explores fascinating experiences such as these.

What great big brains! Do you know how big your brain is?

What great big brains! Do you know how big your brain is?

Senses Station

Senses Station

One of our favorite parts of the MosSE program is Family Science Night, because it gives students a chance to bring their friends and family to their museum-for-a-day and share what they’ve learned, or spend more time exploring topics that have been on their mind since earlier in the day.  It’s also great getting to meet folks from the community who were not around during the school day.  Family Science Night at Potomac was a blast, and we were stoked to see 43 people show up, mostly for the full 2 hour event!

Family Science Night!

Family Science Night!

In addition to learning about how our sense work, we also explore how the brain communicates chemically and electrically with the rest of the body.  Using special glow-in-the-dark fruit flies, we can learn lots about genetics and the nervous system.  The special fruit flies have a trait engineered into them called “bioluminescence,” which is a big word meaning “life that glows.”  What bioluminescent animals can you think of, and what are some uses for engineering bioluminescence into plants and animals?  There are tons of awesome applications in medicine, industry, sports, and the arts.  IMG_0612

Two of the most popular stations are our Mind Flex game and our iPad electroencephalogram (EEG).  These devices use brain electricity to power a variety of tasks and games.  In addition to being a blast to play with, these devices help us understand how neurologists can measure and study brain and body functions.

Mind Flex

Mind Flex

Handheld EEG

Handheld EEG

Our brain and eyeball dissections are always a hit.  Comparing the anatomy of the sheep brains we use for the dissections to human and other animal brains is a great way to really wrap our minds around the amazingness of the animal kingdom.  We just ask that students please refrain from saying “ew!” if they are squeamish, though “ewe!” is perfectly acceptable.

Eyeballs

Eyeballs

Brains

We also did a special liquid nitrogen demonstration.  No direct relationship to the neuroscience theme of the night, but any night that includes altering the states of our world’s more abundant gas is a good night.

...But it's an amazing floor cleaner.

…But it’s an amazing floor cleaner.

Colder than Montana in Winter!

Colder than Montana in Winter!

Well, that’s it for now, but we would like to express our appreciation for the help, enthusiasm, and curiosity of the the Pioneers students, parents, faculty, and staff.  We look forward to seeing you all again soon!

Sincerely,

Jessie, Sarah, and Matt