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A report of a researcher's first visit to present their work at a primary school.

WIN researchers Lucy Starling, Lilian Weber, and Marco Wittman at Longford Park school. © Miriam Klein-Flugge
Lucy Starling, Lilian Weber, and Marco Wittman at Longford Park school

As part of the ‘Your Amazing Brain’ exhibition at Banbury Museum, I was invited to deliver a session to a class of Year 4 students at Longford Park School in Banbury. This was the first time I had ever stood at the front of a class to present anything, so I am very glad I had a wonderful group with me who had much more experience with kids than myself!

The pupils were amazed by facts such as the speed that information travels along a neuron (faster than an F1 car!) and the average number of neurons in a human brain (around 86 billion), and they leapt at the chance to stand at the front of the class with a plush neuron and demonstrate how neurons communicate. It felt very rewarding to introduce this area of science to the class, and what surprised me most was how much some of the pupils already knew! One pupil in particular gave a detailed explanation of memories, the hippocampus, and the nervous system.

I specifically delivered slides about MRI and how we can use magnets to look inside things, such as the brain. We started with a guessing game where I showed MR images of fruit before moving on to say that we can use MRI to see the structure and function of living brains. This got the class excited and curious about things that might affect the scanner, with one pupil asking what would happen if someone fell asleep and another asking whether someone with braces can have an MRI scan. And of course, everyone was excited to make their own model brain out of plasticine at the end of the session!