Is there any cost to participate? No, Brain Discovery is offered free to both to schools and homeschoolers.
What does my student need to bring to class? Please bring a pencil, crayons or colored pencils, and your curiosity!
What happens in class every week? Each week is focused on a major question in neuroscience (“What is the brain made of?” “How does the brain communicate with the body?” etc). We spend the first 10-15 minutes discussing this question and providing necessary background, then devote the rest of class to hands-on exploration and experimentation. Students practice a variety of different experimental techniques, ranging from microscopes to electrical recording of nerve impulses, and learn how to apply the scientific method to answer questions.
Why is the last class longer? After our final class, we invite the students to stay an additional 30 minutes for a “field trip” touring several neuroscience labs on campus. Parents may join us as space allows, though unfortunately we cannot accommodate siblings.
Is there homework? There is no required homework, however we do send out a weekly email during the session with fun extension activities you can do at home.
Where does the class meet? Brain Discovery homeschool sessions are held on the Washington University Medical School campus. We meet in the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center, located at 520 S. Euclid Ave. (Specific room information will be sent out a week before the session begins). Teachers will meet the students downstairs in the cafe area, just inside the building entrance, and bring the group upstairs to the classroom.
Where can I park? We cannot be responsible for supervising students outside of class time, so we request that an adult accompany them into the building and ensure a teacher is present before leaving. Teachers will be downstairs to start gathering students approximately 10 minutes before the beginning of class.
What can parents and siblings do during the class? There is a cafe in our building where families can wait, or you might visit the playground located just south of us in Hudlin Park. Parents are also welcome to sit in on class, though we ask that siblings do not as we have had issues with disruptions in the past.
What if we have to miss a class? We ask that you make every effort to attend all classes, since they do build on each other, but if you need to miss one due to illness or other circumstances just email and let us know. If you know ahead of time that you will be missing classes, we would suggest waiting for a future session to get the most out of this program.
My child has already attended a Brain Discovery session. Can we sign up again? Unfortunately, no. We currently offer only one curriculum, so it would be the same material again. While we would love to offer more options in the future, right now we are focused on sharing Brain Discovery with as many different students as possible.
Who teaches Brain Discovery classes? Our volunteers are working neuroscientists at Washington University, generally either graduate students or laboratory technicians, who enjoy sharing their passion with kids.