Brain Awareness Week is 3 weeks away!

outreach
baw

#1

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!


Welcome to Neuronline Community!
#2

Plan a 2-3 days workshop and invite neuroscientist who can share their ideas with these kids.


#4

The Brain Bee competition for high school students is also another popular, well-liked program for BAW - we have grown from a handful of interested students to over 50 within the last 3 years… and fairly easy to organize in the last minutes even.


#5

We do a whole host of activities for BAW but are always looking for more suggestions. Some of the stuff we do includes:

  • Neuroscience - fact or fiction? Takes a bit of prep, but you can find a lot of good fodder on brainfacts.org . Essentially, make a bunch of index cards with different statements + pictures on one side (e.g. “We only use 10% of our brain”), then on the flip side, write whether it’s true + why, or false + what’s the real science/misconception. A lot of fun!

  • Visual plasticity in real-time Borrow or buy some prism shifting glasses (e.g. DIY version) to teach about adaption and plasticity.

  • Sheep brain dissections - classic hands-on neuroanatomy lessons. Requires some prep + materials (dissection trays, blades, gloves, brains, etc.) but students of most ages (middle + high school) tend to love it!

  • Pipe-cleaner neurons - I loved this one because it’s low-key and informative. Buy some pipe-cleaners, some colorful cotton balls, and have at it! Teach about how neurons look and work while having students make their own. Especially good for younger kids (but no shame - I had a blast making 'em with the kiddos, so no age limit for sure).

Also, be sure to check out Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education for plenty of other great classroom and class visit suggestions!


#6

BAW is now only ONE WEEK AWAY!!!

Thanks for all the amazing ideas. I’ve seen the pipe-cleaner neurons at SfN. They are amazing! I totally forgot about that option. Here are some other activities that don’t require too much prep work:

  • Panel discussions -I personally like discussions on mental illness. Not just the research, but what it looks like for patients, when to get help, etc.
    *Brain Hats -There is a great print out to have kids color while discussing brain regions. Click here for a template.
    *DNA extraction from strawberries -kids like smashing up strawberries and getting to see separated DNA is pretty cool.
    *Taste and smell -Have them old their nose while eating a jelly bean or hot tamale. You can’t taste it without smell.

Good luck on everyone’s last minute planning!!!