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  1. Amanda Labuza

    Brain Awareness Week

    Brain Awareness Week 2018 just ended. I hope you had an opportunity to participate. I’d love to hear about the events other groups did. Please share below. For those of you who didn’t hold and event, feel free to live vicariously through my experience. Our BAW event started early morning on Pi Day. Four graduate students piled into a car and filled the trunk with human brains, mini e-phys equipment, and even a few cockroaches. We went to an inner city middle school in Baltimore and took over the science classroom. We started by introducing ourselves and in very basic terms what we study. The classes broke into three stations. The students got to spend time holding fixed human brains and comparing them to mouse and rat brains. We brought slides for them to observe and compare. The second station used the backyard brains spiker box to make a cockroach leg “dance” to music. We used the frequency of the bass to stimulate the nerves in the leg. They learned how we use electrophysiology to study action potentials and record neuronal activity. Finally, they used a simple EMG to control each other’s fingers. They discussed how our bodies use electricity and the principles behind robotic limbs. At the end of each class we saved time to discuss with students careers in science. For many of them, they had never considered anything beyond being a doctor. Many of the students had not considered they could financially afford a PhD versus an MD. The most rewarding part is always seeing a student suddenly realize science is more than just a textbook filled with simplified drawings of complex cells. Hopefully we have inspired some of them to explore their passion for science. picture 1.jpg2048×1536 362 KB Having worked with middle schools, high schools, and elementary schools, we have found middle school is the easiest to work with. Most of the high school students seemed to have already made up their mind and were not interested in changing their plans. The elementary students love the break, but we struggle to think of simple activities that last long enough to keep them occupied. The middle school students were old enough to understand what a neuron was, but young enough to still be open to new ideas. I’m interested in hearing others’ experiences. Which age group do you prefer working with? What activities worked the best for you? Please share your ideas below!
  2. Brain Awareness Week is just around the corner! It starts March 12th. It isn’t too late to plan an event. The outreach group on my campus has already arranged to visit two local middle schools during BAW. We’ll be teaching science classes for the day. While this requires a bit more than three weeks of organization, there are still plenty of other activities that can still be arranged. For example, instead of teaching the class, have you considered visiting a high school and briefly speaking at the beginning of the science classes about careers in research? Hosting a table at your local science museum is a great chance to get kids interested in the brain. Does anyone else have ideas for last minute BAW plans? Because it isn’t too late to arrange an activity for this year!
  3. leanne_boucher

    BAW 2016 video contest

    Hi all - It’s that time again! The call is out for the 2016 Brain Awareness Video Contest! The winner will receive $1000 and a trip to SfN 2016 in Chicago. All you have to do is create an educational video about the brain for the 2016 Brain Awareness Video Contest that demonstrates a neuroscience concept through animation, song, skit, or any other creative approach. Be creative! Anyone can enter, and you can work on a video by yourself or in a group. Top videos will be featured on SfN.org and BrainFacts.org and will be recognized at Neuroscience 2016. Submissions are due June 16 — start working on your video today! Videos must be submitted by an SfN member. Find a member near you with the Find A Neuroscientist Program at BrainFacts.org. Watch last year’s winning videos and learn more at BrainFacts.org/bavc. If you have any questions about the contest, please email baw@sfn.org.
  4. Hi all - Have you heard about the Brain Awareness Week Video contest? The first place winner will receive $1000 plus travel to the annual meeting and 2 nights lodging; there are cash prizes for the 2nd and 3rd place winners and the People’s Choice award. If you’ve never watched one of these videos, I highly encourage you to check out the archives. Lots of great videos from people at all stages of their neuroscience career (even high schoolers). All you need is a good idea, a camera, and a member of SfN to sponsor your entry. If you know of anyone who is good with video, or if you’re affiliated with a student group, you can offer up your expertise and can sponsor a video. All details, plus previous winners can be found here: http://www.brainfacts.org/bavc. Break a neurons! Leanne Boucher, PhD
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