CN AWEOn May 6 and 7, 20 students from Nueva and nearby schools took part in two, two-day classes as part of Northwestern University’s Accelerated Weekend Experience hosted on our Hillsborough campus.

In addition to building telescopes and soda bottle rockets, students in fourth and fifth grade spent two days immersed in discussions about the magnitude of outer space and the discovery of our solar system’s lesser known entities. The class was led by John Dagdelen, Berkeley graduate and current research associate in the Applied Energy Materials Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Meanwhile, in the classroom next door, seventh- and eighth-grade students worked with diagrams, models, and two actual human brains to unlock the anatomy and functions of the brain’s distinct components. The class focused on learning the language of neurons as students engaged in discussions about the sensory systems. The Neuroscience course was taught by Rose Larios, a current PhD candidate in Neuroscience at UCSF. In her research, she investigates the genetic and molecular correlation of social attachment behaviors.

Reflecting on the experience, one student shared, “Most people don’t know what a neuron looks like. It was cool to visualize and learn about the neural pathways.”

Another said, “We learned that autonomic functions are buried in the brain, near the brain stem, because they are so important. You can’t live long without breathing.”

“I have observed that the students are really engaged during these classes. The instructors lead with authenticity and have deep knowledge of their content area — something high-achieving students thrive on,” observed Jim Morrison, who coordinates the relationship between Nueva and Northwestern’s Center for Talent Development.

“We hope to expand these offerings next school year with a series of courses in the fall and spring. It’s great to get Nueva students together with other high-achieving students from throughout the Bay Area. From what I have observed, these classes provide an immediate community of discovery and focused learning, which must feel great for the students.”

Nueva hopes to continue this program early in the fall. Stay tuned for updates about course options and registration.



 May 12, 2017



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