Brain Awareness Week
(BAW) is a international effort started by the Dana Alliance for Brain
Initiatives and the Society for Neuroscience to
promote the public and personal benefits of brain research. The official
week for the next BAW is March 12-18, 2012, but any time
is a good time to get involved.
To start the Open House, students were led by Dr. Eric Chudler through
an interactive, multimedia "Brain Assembly" to learn about the nervous
system. The students learned about neurotransmission, compared the brains
of different animals and played with some visual illusions.
Students then visited exhibits set up by University of Washington
departments and other organizations. Students were connected to a
transcranial Doppler machine to measure their brain blood flow (UW Dept.
of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine). The Neurobiology and Behavior
Community Outreach Program had exhibits to test the senses and materials
to build neuron models. The Pacific Science Center provided many exhibits
that they bring out to schools. The DO-IT program, UW Department of
Otolaryngology, Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, Northwest
Association for Biomedical Research, Department of Biology, Center for
Sensorimotor Neural Engineering, Unite for Sight, Youth Take Heart program
and Seattle Hydrocephalus Support Group also provided exhibits.
Planaria exhibit (stem cells)
Doppler brain blood flow
Comparative neuroanatomy display
"Magic" water illusion
Fly flight simulator
Dr. Chudler's Brain "Assembly"
Thank you very much for putting on another amazing experience for all:
students, parents, and teachers! I was extremely impressed by this year's
Open House. I thought that all of the stations were extremely well
planned and executed. The students cannot stop talking about how awesome
We loved Brain Awareness Week! My kids were in awe of all that they
saw and learned. Pretty amazing stuff. The thing that touched my heart
about our visit to BAW was one of my students told me she wanted to be a
scientist. She loved everything! She never gets excited about anything
and the fact that she wants to be a scientist is fantastic. Another one of
my students brought a book of illusions he had to school on Friday and
shared them with the class. Very cool.
Our students had a blast during Brain Awareness Week Open House. Your
event was amazing. I cannot believe how many engaging hands-on booths
there were. The kids were upset they had to leave after spending two hours
at the event! The students that got to go felt privileged and when they
returned they prepared an interactive presentation for their classmates.
Thank you again for inviting us. I have recommended that our 6th grade
teachers apply for your event next year. It was so much fun!
My kids' eyes were opened by the things they saw. When we talked about
their favorite things were I could see a spark in their eyes that I feel
will move them to learn more. I didn't get a chance to teach anything
before we came due to time and all the curriculum we have to cover in 5th
grade. I plan to use your websites etc to show my kids more of what they
might of missed etc. and to continue their learning.
Hearing the experts in various aspects was wonderful. As I told my
class, I am no expert, not even close, in the brain so this was their
chance to interact with folks who do have expertise areas revolving around
My students were able to make real connections between what they
learned in school and how scientists work in this field as a career. This
is a great opportunity for the kids. This open house let the children have
hands-on experience that is essential for concrete minds. This event made
learning about the brain fun and understandable.
Huge benefits!! Lots of learning for all our fifth grade students
whether they knew a little or a lot to begin with. The 'assembly' followed
by the interactive/exploratory format works well.
My students were so excited they actually came back the next morning
with things they had written about it without my even having assigned
A very important benefit is the hands-on component of each station and
presentation. I think the students came away with not only a better
understanding of the brain, but also with more excitement about science.