Jared Stirland | Staff writer | [email protected]
A small group of children gathered around UVU professor Claudia Lieberwirth on Saturday, March 21, while she demonstrated the protective effects of cerebral spinal fluid – a layer of liquid between the brain and the skull – as part of Brain Day. Brain Day was this month’s query event organized by the Science Association for Women (SAW) to teach kids aged 2-12 about the various functions and responsibilities of the brains. February’s query focused on solar systems and April’s will be marine biology. Lieberwirth serves as a co-advisor for SAW with Heidi Creer, UVU biology academic advisor,
Hello, how are you today? one boy asked his younger brother while he held up the neuron he made from pipe cleaners after a volunteer explained to him neurons are cells inside his brain that can talk to each other. At another station children examined four tiny brains and tried to match them with the flash card of their animal owner: a pigeon, a rabbit, a snake, and a fish.
There were snacks, pictures of brains for the children to color, and one station involved a taste guessing game. Children would close their eyes, plug there nose, eat a starburst candy, and try to guess what color it was. Then, they would unplug their nose to see if they could notice a difference in taste perception.
“It is way easier with my nose unplugged,” said Tyler, a participant. “At first I thought it was orange flavor, but when I unplugged my nose I knew it was pink.”
“That’s because you experience taste with your tongue and your nose, so if you have your nose plugged it’s harder to taste things. That’s why if you ever have to take yucky medicine it doesn’t taste as gross when you plug your nose,” said Garret Stirland, a psychology student at UVU, and one of the volunteers.
The event ended with the kids and parents receiving the opportunity to hold a human brain.
“Learning about the very organ that makes all of us unique and allows us to do all of the things that too often we take for granted, I think is an important thing… I had been wanting to create a Brain Day at UVU. The Brain Day at Query was a small but a meaningful step into that direction,” said Lieberwirth.