Today we talked about our brain. We learned that our brain controls everything we do, is necessary for us to live, and is always working. Our brain is also very smart because we can learn new things and remember them! But we realized that learning something new often needs a lot of practice. Then we discussed together what we already learned by practice – such as our letters, riding a bike, or learning a foreign language. We also talked about babies how they learn to move, walk and talk. Then, we wanted to know what happens inside the brain when we learn new things. To understand this, we had to learn that our brain is made of special brain cells that are called neurons. When we learn something new, connections between neurons are made and these connections make it possible for us to remember what we learned.
Afterwards, we wanted to test our brains. We used special goggles called prism goggles that made our eyes see differently. First we tossed a bean bag on a target without goggles, then several times with the goggles on, and finally again without goggles. We found out that our brain could learn soon that our sight is shifted and we could then hit the target even with the goggles on. We could not trick our brain for long because our brain is so smart!
Then we tried something else to trick our brain. We made a thaumatrope. Every student got a card stock, folded it in half and drew a picture on both halves so that there is one picture per side. Then students attached a straw between the two sides and the thaumatrope was finished. When we spun our thaumatropes quickly, we saw both images together as one continuous image. We have tricked our brain! This was possible because our eyes are capable of “remembering” an image for a very short amount of time after the image disappears. We had so much fun watching the thaumatropes of all students as they spun them for us.
In our last activity, every student got a space coloring sheet and colored a half of page with prism goggles on and the second half without the goggles. Then we discussed if it was more difficult to color with or without the goggles. We found out that our brain adjusted very quickly to the goggles and the coloring was not really much more difficult. Prism goggles were really funny but did not trick our brain much.