On Friday the 8th of June, Maia Hilu, Jake Range, Noam Goldberg and Gadiel Fisher went to represent Carmel School in the WA Brain Bee competition, against 21 other schools with four candidates within each group.

During the drive to UWA, we tested each other on the Brain. The four of us arrived at the entrance of UWA, collected our nametags, a bag full of goodies and waited for the double doors of the lecture room to open. The first thing we did was listen to the opening by a Professor from UWA who teaches Neuroscience, and then the competition began.

First was the individual round. We read a question on the screen, wrote down the answer, and moved on to the next question, there were 15 tough and interesting questions. Next was another 15-question test, based on diagrams. We then moved on to the team round of twenty questions and a chance to discuss the answer. Finally, there was a teachers’ competition. These questions were on the brain, but had nothing to do with what the students had learnt. The most fascinating question that not only blew everyone’s mind but also confused the students and teachers was; "How long did a headless chicken live for?"

The answer: 18 months! Is that not fascinating?

Anyway, we then had morning tea, followed by a tour of the anatomy labs. We looked at skeletons of humans and Homosapiens. We looked into microscopes, learnt how the brain can do certain tasks with certain machines and get this, we held a human head that had been plastinated. Just half of a man’s head, which still had his teeth, hair, half of a brain, his tongue and all the little wires inside his head. It was awesome, but after, when it was lunch, we did not feel so good thinking about it. It was an unforgettable experience for all.

We then had lunch, followed by the finals, which Jake and Noam qualified for but unfortunately did not place. We then heard a talk from a Neuroscientist about what he does and then had the prizegiving.

It was a great experience and I definitely want to study Neuroscience when I get into University.

A huge thank you really needs to go to the School but also to Mrs Paioff, who gave up her lunchtimes every Wednesday to mentor us and sent us emails to help us, and so much more. We could not have done it without her. She guided us along the way even on Friday. I think I speak for all of us when I say thank you, and we really do not deserve such an incredible teacher like you.

Also a shout out to UWA for hosting us year after year. 

To those of you who will try to do it next year, good luck, it really is an experience not to be missed.

Gadiel Fisher