Grade sevens uncover nuts and bolts of the brain

19 March 2024 | Words Niémah Davids. Photos Robyn Walker.

Dozens of young, bright, inquiring minds from several schools in the Mother City packed the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Neuroscience Institute’s lecture theatre in anticipation of a fun-filled, enlightening day dedicated to the body’s most complex organ – the brain.

Of course, it was a fitting occasion in celebration of Brain Awareness Week, observed globally from 11 to 17 March. The jam-packed programme, held on Wednesday, 13 March, meant the young audience had an opportunity to wrap their heads around the brain’s functionality – a loaded topic for the Grade 7 learners. But with a group of UCT academics at the podium (and behind the microscope) – facilitating talks, demonstrations and discussions, the young folks were in good hands. The event was organised by UCT’s Associate Professor Ursula Rohlwink and formed part of the African Brain Child Initiative – a clinical and research initiative based jointly in the Pediatric Neurosurgery Unit at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (a UCT teaching hospital) and the Neuroscience Institute.

The interactive, engaging sessions had the young audience enthralled. Discussions covered an array of topics, including a sitting on how the brain makes individuals who they are; what it looks like, how it develops and its inner workings. Segments dedicated to brain imaging, mental health and the importance of sleep to keep the brain healthy were also part of the line-up.

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