Scientist of the Hour Sheep brains in McIntoshville

"Is my brain really this squishy?"

Each week at Springdale Elementary in the classroom of Mrs. Denise McIntosh, aka "McIntoshville," students are asked to present an experiment to the class along with their parents. As a mom/scientist I support this effort to bring hands on activities into the classroom and look forward to my time with the students. As the Scientist of the hour on April 13, 2017 my son Eliyah and I introduced the class to sheep brains, a classic lab used in Anatomy and Physiology courses to give students an overview of the parts of the brain. We provided the students with handouts on brain structure, a brain dissection demonstration, and Eliyah shared with the class brain facts.

(l_-R) Students excited about sheep brain dissection. Eliyah prepares to discuss brain facts
A bigger brain doesn’t mean a smarter person. Albert Einstein’s brain was slightly smaller than average

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) supports the notion that inquiry science must be a basic in the daily curriculum of every elementary school student at every grade level. Elementary school students learn science best when they are involved in first-hand exploration, investigation and inquiry/process skills are nurtured. The elementary science program must provide opportunities for students to develop understandings and skills necessary to function productively as problem-solvers in a scientific and technological world.

Students in McIntoshville get to hold and observe sheep brains

NSTA declares that the learning environment for elementary science must foster positive attitudes towards self and society, as well as science. Elementary school students value science best when a variety of presentation modes are used to accommodate different learning styles, and students are given opportunities to interact and share ideas with their peers. I consider Mrs. McIntosh a leader in education, pushing the boundaries of when science can be fully integrated into the curriculum. The idea to incorporate families into the science hour is innovative, providing students with engagement and support outside the classroom.

The brain is more powerful and complex than even the most advanced supercomputer.
McIntoshville, Springdale Elementary, led by Denise McIntosh, Teacher of the Year 2016-17

Dr. Sabrina Walthall is an Associate Professor of Science in Penfield College of Mercer University, Department of Mathematics, Science , and Informatics. As a STEM educator and Women in Science advocate, she works to ensure that we create an educational system that values the work of scientist and encourages all children, especially girls, to be curious, build on the known and explore the unknown.



Created By
Sabrina Walthall


Mrs. Denise McIntosh

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