Noggin. Noodle. Grey Matter. No matter what you call it, Speyer celebrated Brain Awareness Week!

Speyer launched its first-ever celebration of Brain Awareness Week! Taking part in the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research, different subject teachers came together in a collaborative effort to engage students to explore ways the brain processes information, how we can improve self-regulation, and and how exercise and mindful breathing play an important role in brain development. 

Middle School Learning Specialist Mrs. Goldstein and School Psychologist Dr. Grimaldi kicked off the week with their “Brain Breaks,” emphasizing the importance of taking short, targeted breaks in between working periods to regulate our attention and maintain better concentration. Next up, Athletics Coordinator Mr. Huffman explored the fundamental parts of a neuron. Using models made from colored pipe-cleaners, students demonstrated how exercise enhances neuroplasticity and the signal messaging system between neurons forming the complex neural network in our brains. 

Middle School Science Teacher Dr. Perry took this idea further by zooming into the synapse and students simulated how serotonin and dopamine transmitters find matching receptors through a matching puzzle-game based on intriguing scenarios, such as “What neurotransmitters fire in your brain when you’ve just eaten cake?” Art teacher Ms. Rennie guided students through an optical illusion activity, discussing how our eyes ‘fool us’ into seeing things that aren’t really there. 

To wrap up the week, the Boulevard was transformed into a yoga studio with peaceful forest sounds and a gong signaling students to move on to a different station to practice a new position. Spanish teacher Professora Peñaherrera and Technology Integrator Ms. Beckwith emphasized how several deep breaths reduce the responses to stressful events in our amygdala. The group focused on how mindful breathing and focused yoga practice can make our minds more aware, attentive, and present in our everyday lives. 

Speyer students loved learning about their brains and asked many insightful questions…not a day goes by without billions of neural networks forging new pathways!