By: Hannah Asprey, Program Manager for Indigenous Health
Dalhousie Indigenous Health in Medicine (IHIM) Program along with PLANS (Promoting Leadership in health for African Nova Scotians) partnered with the group at Acadia University leading a WISE in a box activity on July 22nd 2021. Hannah Asprey Program Manager IHIM, Sarah Upshaw Program Manager PLANS, Mercedes Stemm IHIM Student Assistant, Yolanda Watungwa PLANS Student Assistant, and Tiffany Brooks Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick (DMNB) Third Year Clinical Clerk leads the group through various activities.
The activities were those developed by Luke Burke & Adrianna Broussard through Dalhousie’s IMHOTEP Legacy Academy during their service-learning program in 2020/2021. Thank you for sharing your ideas and love of science with our students Luke and Adrianna!
One of the activities focused on the nervous system. The nervous system refers to the brain and the collection of nerves that connect the brain to the rest of the body. These connections are extremely important for every single bodily function – allowing us to think, behave, move, and understand the way we do. The brain even allows you to interpret these very words on the page and understand their meaning. The first purpose of these exercises was to develop an understanding of the structure and function of the neuron, a small unit of the nervous system that sends electrochemical signals throughout the body. Next, the group examined how neurons interconnect within the brain and body to allow us to move and feel in the form of circuitry. Finally, to examine the importance of nerves and the circuits of the body, they created reflex hammers to help visualize these circuits in the real world on both ourselves and our friends/family!
In the first activity, students created a model of the neuron to better understand the structure/function. They created this neuron using pipe cleaners and following the lead of Mercedes Stemm (IHIM Program Assistant)
In the second activity, students learned about the circuits of the nervous system and got to build their own electrical circuit using small light bulbs, alligator clips, and a battery. This activity was lead by Sarah Ann Upshaw (PLANS Program Manager) and Hannah Asprey (IHIM Program Manager).
In the third activity, Yolanda Watungwa (PLANS Program Assistant) leads the group through fabricating their own reflex hammer using pencils, erasers, and elastic bands. The group then got to test out their reflexes (or their siblings) and learn how reflex arcs are short circuits within the body.
To wrap up our day, Tiffany Brooks (third-year DMNB Student) lead the group through some breathing exercises and explained how oxygen is produced in the body. During this exercise, Tiffany tied in everything we learned about the nervous system, including neurons, circuits of the nervous system, and reflex arcs. This activity allowed the students to reflect on the entirety of the new information they learned. This relaxing exercise also allowed the students to wind down after a very exciting day. Both the students and coordinators were very thankful for this!
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