FamilyOfaVet - Real world info about PTSD, TBI, & life after combat
FamilyOfaVet - Real World info about PTSD, TBI, & life after combat.

TBI - Science Experiment for Kids

Materials Needed:

  • Baking sheet
  • 2 small drinking cups (like Dixie cups)
  • Piece of paper
  • 1 bottle of nonpareils (round sprinkles)
  • Pencil/Pen


1. Label one cup "Right Hemisphere".  Label the other "Left Hemisphere".

2. Fold the piece of paper in half long ways.  Explain that this piece of paper is the
pathways the brain uses to communicate information from the right hemisphere to the left
hemisphere which is how memories are made and then used.  It's also how the brain sends
information ALL over the body to itself through the nervous system.

3. Place the two cups on the baking sheet almost as far apart as you can.  Balance the
paper on top of the two cups showing it as connecting the two halves of the brain so that
the paper has just enough room to sit comfortably on each side but there's plenty of room

4. Pour the nonpareils into the cup on the right. Explain that the little nonpareils are little
pieces of information that need to be transmitted from the right hemisphere to the left
hemisphere.  Lift up the cup and raise the paper just enough to make a "bridge".  Then
pour the nonpareils slowly from one cup to the other using the "bridge".

5. Send them back the other way.  Explain that this is how information moves around within
the brain, on bridges just like these.

6. Remove the piece of paper.  Now talk about how Mommy/Daddy has a brain injury.  
Remember a bit about what happened.  Explain that when the brain was hit, these bridges
were damaged, just like if someone were to hit a real bridge really hard.  Poke a few holes
in the bottom of your "bridge" with the pencil.

7.  Repeat Step 4.  Show the kids that now the pieces of information get lost before they
can go to the part of the brain where they're stored.  (this is why the baking sheet is there...
to catch them!)  Whatever manages to make it from one side to the other, try to transfer
back.  Chances are, most of it will be lying on the tray - lost from the brain into no man's
land.  Explain that this is what happens in the brain when TBI happens and right now, we
really don't know how to plug the holes in the bridge, but we're trying.  Show them that your
TBI loved one doesn't mean to forget or get upset, they just don't remember and it's not
their fault, their bridges are broken.

This article was written by our own Heather Hummert, the wife of an OIF Veteran & Purple
Heart Recipient, and Contributions Coordinator for our site.  If you would like to contact
Heather directly, you can e-mail her at Heather -at- or
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TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury, MTBI, Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury, MTBI, Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
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