Thursday, April 23, 2020
12:30 - 4:30 How to Build A Brain Workshop
Converging lines of evidence from neuroscience, molecular biology, genetics, and the social sciences tell us that early experiences are literally built into our brains and bodies to affect a lifetime of learning and health, for good or for ill. This has profound implications for policies, programs, and services that support children and families. In this session, you will learn how brains are built: what kind of experiences promote healthy brain architecture, what kind of experiences derail it, and how these experiences get "under our skins" to affect learning, health, and social outcomes across the life span.
Facilitated activity: Brain Architecture Game - This interactive session helps illustrate the learnings from earlier in the day. The Brain Game is an interactive activity based on decades worth of scientific research on how experiences are built into our brains and bodies to affect a lifetime of learning and health, for good or for ill. Participants work in small groups to build a model brain out of pipe cleaners and straws based on the life experiences they draw at random from a deck of cards. The object of the game is to build as tall and as strong a structure as possible, but watch out: as your brain ages, the rules change and your negative experiences are represented by small weights that need to hang from the structure without toppling it over!
About the Presenter:
Dr. Nicole Sherren, PhD
Nicole Sherren has a PhD in Neuroscience from Carleton University and moved to Alberta in 2003 to hold an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research/Neuroscience Canada research fellowship at the University of Lethbridge. Her area of expertise includes experience-based brain development, neurodevelopmental disorders, and brain plasticity.
Dr. Sherren joined the Palix Foundation in 2007 to focus on mobilizing scientific knowledge into public policy and clinical practice. She is particularly interested in creating innovative solutions for complex social problems, as well as strategies to incent individual and organizational change. She is an acclaimed public speaker, providing numerous workshops and presentations each year, and lends her expertise to a number of committees, community-based projects, and non-profits across Alberta. In her spare time she volunteers on the board of directors for Calgary Alpha House Society.