Back to school


By Sue Armstrong | Monday 06 January 2014

There are more connections in the brain than stars in the galaxy

Children often have a knack of bringing us down to earth – seeing things and saying things just as they are.

We arranged a ‘brain workshop’ at a primary school to explain how the most complex organ in our body works and what happens when it goes wrong. This opened up the subject of dementia to allow the children to gain a better understanding of the condition.

Educational specialist Dr Lizzie Burns ran the workshop for us. And the pupils also enjoyed meeting a mystery guest – Dr Abdul Hye, a scientist based at King’s College London.


The children made brains from modelling clay and in doing so learnt how each individual part of this incredible organ monitors and regulates our actions and reactions. How it constantly receives information from our senses, rapidly analysing and coordinating responses to the things we see, hear, touch and taste.

The class of nine year olds learnt that our brains are sometimes vulnerable to diseases like Alzheimer’s and other dementias, causing nerve cells in different areas of the brain to become damaged and eventually die.


The different areas of the brain

  • Cerebrum – the largest part of our brain which plays a role in memory, attention, thought, language and consciousness.
  • Frontal lobe – involved with our personality, behaviour and emotions.
  • Temporal lobe – helps us understand things we see and hear around us. It helps us recognise faces, objects, scenes, names and words.
  • Hippocampus – hidden inside the temporal lobe, the hippocampus makes new memories, helps us find our way, remember places and layouts.
  • Parietal lobe – helps us put things in order, like letters when we read and write and numbers in calculation. It’s also responsible for body sense, knowing where our arms and legs are and how to locate objects.
  • Occipital lobe – interprets information from the eyes. It determines the shape, colour and movements of the things we look at. It also produces the dreams we experience when we sleep.
  • Cerebellum – helps control our movements, including balance and posture. It’s also involved in attention and language.

In the class room

This short film reveals what the children learnt at the ‘brain workshop’ and their amazing ideas for curing dementia. It’s younger generations like these primary school children who will reap the benefits of today’s pioneering dementia research. Who knows, they could go on to be rising stars in the science world in years to come.

Alzheimer’s Research UK scientists are learning more about the brain and dementia all the time. With hundreds of projects underway looking at causes, diagnosis and treatments, their pioneering research is giving hope to people living with dementia today and future generations. This is only made possible as a result of the donations made by our wonderful supporters – every £20 we receive pays for another hour of vital dementia research.

Join us for a brain tour

Find out more about our amazing brains and our inspiring research to defeat dementia –

Take a tour of The Lab

Explore our unique online tool that lifts the lid on dementia research –


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About the author

Sue Armstrong