What is BrainReach/Mission: Cerveau?
BrainReach/ Mission: Cerveau is an award-winning, non-profit, community outreach program managed by IPN graduate students with the goal of giving them the opportunity to educate young students from challenged neighborhoods around Montreal. While providing fun, interactive supplementary education to pupils, BrainReach also gives IPN graduate students a chance to create or give presentations at either the elementary or high school level.
Neuroscience defines who and what we are; its study is ideal for engaging pupils - who are still discovering themselves, and exploring what and who they intend to become. Having enthusiastic young neuroscientists teach students allows them to ignite students with a passion for neuroscience and for learning in general. Further, this becomes a valuable opportunity for graduate students to learn the art of teaching.
Each month, for up to eight months, IPN graduate students (individually or in pairs) visit the same classrooms at the chosen schools. They lead a 40-45 minute interactive workshop, created with “brain based learning” in mind and specially designed to captivate young minds. Each month, they deal with a different facet of neuroscience that is relevant to the pupils.
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See what Learning Quebec's The GOAL (Guidance-Oriented Approach to Learning) Post Spring 2012 issue had to say about BrainReach. (The article on BrainReach runs along the bottom of pages 1-3.)
Become a BrainReach Educator
Every year, we need dedicated IPN volunteers to be the leaders of BrainReach at both Francophone and Anglophone schools. This is an incredible opportunity to mentor young students in the community and to gain teaching experience. We target Grade 4 and Secondary 3 from both French and English schools. BrainReach is just the beginning of what we hope will become an established supplement to science teaching in Montreal’s schools.
Members of the BrainReach Presentation Committees (elementary and high school) prepare all sessions for volunteer educators along with a “Presenter’s Guideline” for these presentations. We provide all volunteers with an orientation session offering some guidelines and information about pedagogy. Throughout the year we also provide you with online resources to keep you up to date with articles on education and neuroscience. Although the presentations for these interactive workshops are already prepared for you, they allow room for your own personal changes according to your own teaching style and expertize and to the specificities of your class.
If you are passionate about teaching young enthusiastic minds and bringing the wonder of science to your future peers, please contact ipnbrainreach [at] gmail [dot] com for details on registering. IPN is the largest neuroscience graduate program in Canada, with over 320 Masters and Ph.D. students – we are perfect for this role!
Simply put, we want to extend the enthusiasm for science shown by our graduate students into Montreal’s classrooms, especially focusing on the Grade 4 and Secondary 3 aged pupils. We want to reach out to these kids and show them that:
- Science is interesting
- Science is fun
- Science is important
- They can do it!
IPN is the largest neuroscience graduate program in Canada, with over 320 Masters and Ph.D. students – we’re perfect for this role!
BrainReach at your School
Our first 2 years have been very successful. Applauded by teachers, school board officials, pupils and presenters alike. Interactive BrainReach workshops are evidently an effective way to generate curiosity about science in children in grade 4 and secondary 3. The brain is such an interesting topic that it makes things easy for us! We work in collaboration with McGill’s Education department and have showcased our presentations to them in order to get feedback from trained educators. Please contact ipnbrainreach [at] gmail [dot] com for details.
BrainReach sessions include the following topics:
Elementary schools - Grade 4
• What is the brain?
• What are different functions of the brain?
• What is the brain made of?
• How does the brain get information from the world?
• How does your brain control your emotions?
• How good are you at paying attention?
• How do we remember?
High schools - Secondary 3
- Brain: from the organ to the neurons
- The scientific method
- Neurotransmission and drugs
- Attention and sleep
- Memory and the brain
- Psychiatric Disorders
In our 2012-2013 session we had over 65 BrainReach educators teach at 30 elementary and high schools in both French and English. We reached over 1400 students!
Here are some comments from Montreal teachers who registered their school with BrainReach:
“..normally there is not much time in regular classes for hands on experiments so every hands on activity with BrainReach felt like a very special reward”
“Brain reach is a good complement to an elementary school science program. We were highly satisfied with the content, the presenters and the interest it engendered in the students. We would gladly participate again.”
“They loved the drama skits. One of my kids came staggering into the gym… “Miss, Miss I’ve hurt my sara…sara.. “ “Your cerebellum.” “Yes!” (He was acting)”
“It’s really a treat to have guest educators and to expose our students to different teaching styles, an important and rapidly changing field of research and discovery. Its very empowering to learn about the brain."