Volume 5, Issue 7 (July, 2001)


Welcome to the Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter.

Here is what you will find in this issue:

1. What's New on the Neuroscience for Kids Web Pages
2. Neuroscience for Kids Page of the Month
3. Neuroscience for Kids CD is Ready
4. Book Review
5. Traveling Brain Exhibits
6. Summer Brain Activities
7. Media Alert
8. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
9. How to Stop Your Subscription


Neuroscience for Kids had several new additions in June. Here are some of them:

A. June Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. August NeuroCalendar
C. Brainy Icons for Your Computer Desktop
D. Monkeys Shed Light on the Nightlight Controversy
E. Bipolar Disorder
F. The Brain Adventure ("Mad-lib" game; requires Shockwave plug-in)
G. Jet Lag May Affect Your Brain
H. Alcohol and Tobacco Use in G-Rated Animated Movies

In June, 25 new figures were added and 41 pages were modified.


The Neuroscience for Kids "Page of the Month" for July is the "Animal Skull Collection" at:

The brain needs a home...your skull! DeLoy Roberts, a biology/zoology teacher at Skyline High School in Idaho Falls, Idaho, has put together the "Animal Skull Collection" web site with an amazing collection of skull photographs. Mr. Roberts has more than 200 pictures of mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish skulls that can be used to learn about comparative anatomy. There is also information about how to prepare skulls for display. The real skulls are all on display at Skyline High School. Mr. Roberts invites schools to visit the skull exhibit as long as he gets a few day's notice.


The Neuroscience for Kids CD-ROM is available for your middle school science classroom! The CD is part of a University of Washington research study designed to assess the effectiveness of instruction using CD-ROM technology. The CD contains material from the Neuroscience for Kids web site with basic information about the nervous system, interactive games and activities, and worksheets to teach about how the brain works. The CD will be mailed to you free of charge along with a pre- and post-test to measure your students' attitudes about science and their knowledge of the nervous system.

Participation in the research project is voluntary and all names will be kept confidential. If you are interested in receiving the CD and participating in the study, please contact Dr. Chudler at: or Dr. Eric H. Chudler; Department of Anesthesiology; BOX 356540; University of Washington; Seattle, WA 98195-6540.


Frightful's Mountain by Jean Craighead George, Scholastic, September 2000 [Book review by Lynne Bleeker, middle school teacher and science education specialist.]

Reading level: children and adults

Are you looking for a great book to read over the summer? Check out "Frightful's Mountain," a sequel to the classic "My Side of the Mountain." Frightful is a peregrine falcon who is imprinted on a human boy, Sam. The story is told from the falcon's perspective. Does that sound boring? It's not! The story of Frightful's survival when Sam goes back to town is full of peril and danger, new adventures and new experiences. I literally could not put the book down once I started reading it.

So what does a book about a falcon have to do with neuroscience? A great deal, I discovered. A major theme of the book is bird migration. For example, how do birds know when it is time to go south for the winter? The book explores how the angle of sun above the earth affects the physical responses in a bird's brain. A quote: "She took a reading on the sun's rays, listened to her internal compass, and started south." Jean Craighead George's understanding of zoology shines through on every page of the book. The book got me so interested in questions about how bird brains know when it is time to fly south that I picked up another book, "How Do Birds Find their Way?" by Roma Gans. Typical of the Let's-Read-and- Find-Out-Science series of which it is a part, the book is full of information and pictures, and it answered a lot of my questions (as well as raised some new ones!). Still, it didn't hold me on the edge of my seat the way "Frightful's Mountain" did.


A. "BRAIN: The World Inside Your Head" is a new neuroscience exhibit that opens at the Smithsonian Institution (Arts and Industry Building) in Washington, D.C., on July 14. The stop in Washington, D.C., is the first in a five-year, 15-city tour for the exhibit. "BRAIN: The World Inside Your Head" was made possible through a grant from Pfizer (a pharmaceutical company) and was produced by BHH Inc. in collaboration with the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

According to a press release, the exhibit will feature hands-on activities with seven major themes: 1) Your Dynamic Brain, 2) Lightning Storm, 3) Wired!, 4) A Hole in the Head, 5) The Living Brain, 6) Mystery of the Mind, and 7) Next Steps. With virtual reality, video games, and optical illusions, the exhibit is sure to be a fun way to explore the workings of the brain.

B. The Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ, is hosting an exhibit called "Exploring Human Memory" from May 19, 2001 through September 9, 2001. This exhibit of 35 hands-on activities was developed by the Exploratorium in San Francisco. You can also catch the "Grossology" exhibit that is also at the Science Center until September 9, 2001.


If you can't get to the new neuroscience exhibit in Washington, D.C., don't despair. There is plenty to do on your own this summer to learn about the brain. To get you started, here is a calendar of short activities that you can do at home:


A. "The Truth and the Hype of Hypnosis" in the July 2001 issue of Scientific American.

B. "A Mind for Consciousness," a profile of neurobiologist Christof Koch, in the July 2001 issue of Scientific American.

C. "The Serotonin Surprise," by Gary Greenberg, in the July 2001 issue of Discover magazine: Do antidepressants rewire the brain permanently?

D. "Still Not Out Of The Woods" in the June 25, 2001 issue of Time Magazine: Antibiotics and Lyme disease.


A. Three neuroscientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2000. (For details on this event, please see

B. The word "physician" comes from the Greek word "physis" meaning "nature."

C. For centuries, people thought that the heart, not the brain, was important for memory. The expression "memorize by heart" is derived from this old belief. Also, the word "record" comes from the Latin word for "heart."

D. The entire last name of the person for which Tourette Syndrome is named is Gilles de la Tourette. People dropped the "Gilles de la" and the disorder is known simply as "Tourette Syndrome."

E. Normal vision for people is 20/20. A hawk's vision is equivalent to 20/5. This means the hawk can see from 20 feet what most people can see from 5 feet. (Scientific American, April 2001, page 24)


To remove yourself from this mailing list and stop your subscription to the Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter, send e-mail to Dr. Eric H. Chudler at:

Your comments and suggestions about this newsletter and the "Neuroscience for Kids" web site are always welcome. If there are any special topics that you would like to see on the web site, just let me know.


Eric H. Chudler, Ph.D.

"Neuroscience for Kids" is supported by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Center of Research Resources.