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7th Graders Explore the Brain

Middle School Science Teacher Rachel Tourais partnered with an MICDS father to offer students a unique, off-the-curriculum experience during Flex Time last week.

Dr. Neill Wright, a neurosurgeon at Washington University and dad to Norah ’25, Rowan ’27 and Alayna ’29, brought his experience, photographs and two preserved instructional brains from Saint Louis University’s medical teaching department to MICDS. Seventh graders signed up to participate during one of four Flex Times, meeting Dr. Wright and learning all about the human brain.

Dr. Wright brought preserved instructional specimens of a whole human brain and a single-hemisphere human brain. He gave an overview of skull and brain anatomy and showed students normal and pathological images that included hematomas, a tumor, a gunshot and a stroke. He offered thorough explanations and patiently answered questions.

Ryan Jan ’25 loved the opportunity. He said, “It was a fantastic experience. I learned about how the different parts of the face fit into the little holes of the skull. I learned about how a bullet has to penetrate both hemispheres of the brain in order for the shot to be fatal. I was surprised by how light the skull was until I carried the brain.” Yash Malhotra ’25 learned a lot. He said, “It was really cool to see how much it weighed and what the texture was like. I did not expect it to be that heavy. I really liked seeing the scanning of brains that had been damaged because I could see how that damage really affects the brain. I also learned where each lobe is located and what each lobe does.”

Sophia Huddleston ’25 applied what she learned from Dr. Wright to what she already knew about other organs. She said, “I thought it was really interesting to see how the brain was so similar to other organs we learned previously. For example, it has two ventricles similar to the heart. The brain is also wrinkly which is one characteristic that differentiates the human brain from other brains.” Adithi Srinivasan ’25 was fascinated by the differences between the scans. She said, “I thought that it was really cool when we saw some brain scans of people who had a brain tumor or an injury in their head compared to people with a normal brain.”

Kate Hunter ’25 said, “It was great! I had so much fun learning about the brain from Dr. Wright. I learned so much and thought it was fun to touch and see a human brain. I loved the experience.” Grace Villagomez ’25 agreed, “Dr. Wright was incredible! I enjoyed the presentation, it had a lot of new information, and it was very visual which is very helpful for me and others. I loved the experience and touching a human brain while learning about it was fascinating.”

Who knows…one of these students may follow in Dr. Wright’s footsteps and become a neurosurgeon! Thank you to Dr. Wright for spending time with some of our 7th grade students.