The Bentil Group

January 15, 2019: Visit to a 5th Grade Class at Edwards Elementary School

written by Anna Buchholz (education and outreach coordinator for The Bentil Group)

On January 15, 2019, Anna Buchholz and Lucas McPherren visited Mr. Douglas’ 5th grade class, at Edwards Elementary School in Ames, Iowa. During their visit, Anna and Lucas taught Mr. Douglas’ students about the importance of the brain and how shock waves can damage the brain.

Anna Buchholz (center) discussing the brain with 5th grade students.

Anna and Lucas each presented information about the different regions of the brain, and also shared their research involving brains exposed to shock waves.  A short video featuring several members of The Bentil Group (TBG) was shown, to explain how shock waves are created using custom-built shock tubes by members of TBG.  The video intrigued many of the students. Following the video, the class completed a word search featuring the different parts of the brain and keywords heard throughout the presentation, such as “shock wave” and “shock tube”.

Lucas McPherren (kneeling) discussing the brain with 5th grade students, while they are working on the word search.

The 5th grade students also examined foam models of the brain and learned more about the function of the different regions of the brain. Students asked several “what if” questions, to better understand how the brain function will be different given various scenarios that would result in brain trauma.

The feedback from the elementary school visit was positive, with many of the students saying that the video did an excellent job explaining the shock tube. Students also mentioned that the video helped to clarify their lingering questions that remained, after the pre-video discussion introducing the shock tube.