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Center for Neurosciences Foundation distributing 'Brain Boxes' to students

Neat activities designed to understand the brain
Posted at 12:58 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 16:00:28-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Center for Neurosciences Foundation (CNF) is a non-profit created right here in Tucson to share information about neuroscience with health professionals, patients and their families, school children and our community. The goal is to help everyone learn about, care for and appreciate the amazing brain.

CNF is the brainchild of several Neurologists, Neurosurgeons, and Pediatric Neurologists from the Center for Neurosciences. They created this non-profit foundation in 2010 to support research and education in the neurosciences and to raise awareness of diseases of the nervous system. Their mission includes engaging people in learning about development and lifelong care of the brain and nervous system and bring universal access to information about the many things that affect the brain and nervous system, e.g. prenatal care, early nurturing, nutrition, physical activity, literacy and education, creative pursuits, and environmental and community well-being.

The Brain Box is a variety of neuroscience activities intended to teach brain function and provide exercises to improve brain function. The guide book, A Journey Through the Brain, leads students on a "trip" through the lobes of the brain. The program was put together in the midst of the pandemic, to offer activities to students that didn't require screen time.

One of the first stops on the journey is a visit to the Parietal lob of the brain with an explanation of its function to receive sensory information and help us identify objects. Students are instructed to find the Sensory Bag in their Brain Box and attempt to identify objects wearing a latex glove. Next, the glove is removed and it is discovered that nerve endings in the fingers are able to collect much more information. The explanation for this difference is that our fingers contain receptors that help us identify our environment. When there is a barrier between the receptors and an object, the receptors are not activated.

After exploring the brain, the guidebook has lessons about emotion, a space for journaling, and exercises for mindfulness and memory improvement.

Believe it or not, assembly of these boxes required a lot time and a large space. They actually turned the project into an intergenerational activity. Residents of B'nai B'rith Covenant House - a HUD funded apartment community for seniors offered their assistance and use of their multi-purpose room. CNF invited girl scouts and U of A students and prepared 300 Brain Boxes, while having lots of fun. The boxes were requested by several teachers last year. They were all delivered to Title 1 Schools in TUSD, Sunnyside, and Amphi Districts, including Prince Elementary, Kellond Elementary, Borton Elementary, Elvira Elementary, CE Rose Pre K - 8, Mesa Verde Elementary.

This year, 'The Gray & White Fête' is back, so save the date (November 4th). I will be serving as emcee.