Brainwave Learning Center


Brainwave Learning Center

The Brainwave Learning Center (BLC) is back for the 2019-2020 school year and is now fully integrated in the Synapse experience for students at every grade level! This collaboration between Synapse and Stanford University includes unique neuroscience learning opportunities, curriculum support, and leading-edge scientific research on the developing mind and brain. For more information about the goals of the BLC, check out our recent feature by the Stanford Graduate School of Education.
 
Last trimester, Level I students explored how brain activity changed as a result of various SEL calming techniques, and Level II students studied the concept of reaction time during their science unit on the human body. Middle schoolers engaged in EQ seminars on sleep, adolescent brain developments/risk taking, and cognitive control - they also had the opportunity to hold real human and animal brains!  In our STEAM elective “Exploring Brainwaves”, students witnessed and recorded their own neural oscillations, and devised experiments to test which conditions would change their own brainwaves. We invite you to stop by our new BLC classroom in BLDG 4 to see what exciting plans we have for this year!
            
In addition to these classroom-based activities, Synapse students also have the opportunity to contribute to Stanford research in our on-site, fully-equipped Brainwave Recording Studio, located in BLDG 4. Our research hopes to provide insights into cognitive processes important for reading and mathematics, while also providing a safe, interesting, and educational experience for children who participate. We are asking all parents to review and respond to our consent materials below. 

In our studies, we use a number of behavioral measures as well as methods to passively record naturally-occurring brainwaves. Behavioral measures include paper-and-pencil puzzles, simple decision-making tasks on a computer or iPad (e.g. looking at patterns, nonsense characters, numbers, and letters) and listening to simple sounds. To measure brainwaves, we use a set of simple sensors made of wet, salty sponges that rest lightly on a child’s head. These sensors allow us to measure small fluctuations in brain energy in the form of “brainwaves” as the children engage in simple computer tasks. This approach is known as electroencephalography, or “EEG”, which is a safe, non-invasive technique. Participation in research studies is voluntary and separate from other classroom-based BLC activities.
 
Please follow this link to our consent form, which is required for your child to participate in BLC research studies. The consent form is followed by a questionnaire, which will take about 5 minutes to complete. If you prefer a paper copy of the forms or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Liz Toomarian, Director of the BLC at Synapse (liz.toomarian@synapseschool.org or by phone: 650-391-3897). See you at the BLC!
 

See the BLC in action