Ben Routhier never imagined brain cells could be so tiny.
As the 9-year-old squints through the eyepiece of a microscope for the first time, his exclamation echoes through the classroom.
“It’s like a whole bunch of black lines and black dots,” he murmurs, inspecting the preserved mouse neurons.
Routhier is part of a group of home-schooled students participating in “Brain Discovery,” an outreach program that aims to get kids excited about neuroscience. Washington University graduate students and researchers work closely with elementary students across the St. Louis region, using hands-on experiments to help them understand how the brain works.