UBCO students showcase fun side of neuromuscular physiology

How much facial muscle strength does it take for you to chew a gummy bear? Why do doctors test reflexes by tapping your knee with a hammer? How can playing a video game impact your reaction time?

About 30 students from Grades 3 to 6 found out the answers to these and many more questions at the inaugural Mind over Muscle event at UBCO Thursday.

Students of the university's School of Health and Exercise Sciences neuromuscular physiology class organized the event, which included several experiments that explored the science behind how the body adjusts to strength demands.

"It's to show kids that the human body is more than just what they think about, and to help them understand the brain, the spinal cord and the muscles all work together," said associate professor Jenn Jakobi.

Jakobi said the university students are constantly challenged to "create in-depth, complex concepts and link them together," but don't often have the chance to take that complex knowledge and convey it to the general population.

"We wanted to create an opportunity for elementary school kids to participate in science…so it's almost like a flipped classroom environment, where the (university students) are now teaching others."

The young participants were broken up into small groups and visited six different stations, which each featured unique experiments relating to reflex responses, reaction times and muscle activity.

The UBCO neuromuscular physiology students were responsible for putting on the event, coming up with the experiments and even creating media releases to promote it to the public.

Jakobi said she was happy with the turnout, especially considering it was the first time the university has hosted the event and the kids who attended were on spring break.

"We really want to make the university an accessible place for learning, and start that (process) really young."

Twitter: @PatersonWade


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