In today's lab we used an accelerometer stuck on a hammer to measure the exact time of a stimulus (the hammer hitting the table and the hammer hitting your knee). We hooked up our legs with electrodes to measure the electrical current caused during muscle contraction (when you choose to kick - reaction; when your leg reacts - reflex). The average time of a reaction to an auditory stimulus was around 0.4 seconds while the average reflex time was around 0.08 seconds. Pretty neat lab!
Students spent a couple of days looking at reaction time using two different online simulations. Each student pair designed their own experiment to see what effect their variable would have on reaction time. Popular variables this year included an assortment of distractions (pen clicking, poking, yelling, noise from the metal fabrication lab, "spontaneous bursts of clapping"), caffeine, gamers vs. nongamers, being in the cold, etc. Some results were inconclusive, but many found a clear correspondence between their variable and reaction time.
Check out the brain map swim caps the students made while I was out for the day speaking at Fox High School! One side represents the outside structures and the other shows the internal structures. I think they turned out great. (Each map has a key that explains the symbols. Each symbol represents a specific brain function.)
Finally two days of school in a row! Today's class was about the brain. Students researched the central and peripheral nervous systems in order to create a nervous system body organizer. Next, they built a physical brain for their Manikens. The activity did a great job of making them think about what they were doing, and I overheard some wonderful comments as the pairs and table groups collaborated. Tomorrow we will wrap up with drawing some pictures of the structures and researching the main functions of each area of the brain.
We have had 10 snow days this semester and it is just the second week of February. It's been a rough start to HBS. Today we started Unit 2 - Communication. I hope that the weather will settle and we can all fall back into a routine. The activities in this unit center around the different ways the body communicates with itself, others and the environment. The focus for today was to get students thinking about communication being more than just talking. We did a quick activity in pairs to demonstrate communication. Next we had some group work time to collaborate on the meaning of communication and to encouragement thinking about the outcome when miscommunication happens.