University of Michigan

Organized by:
University of Michigan

Participating Organizations:

American Association of University Women

Event(s) Summary

Number of Events Organized During Brain Awareness Week:




Type of Events Held:

  • School Program
  • Symposium
  • Workshop

Target Audiences:

  • Middle school students(6-8)

Approximate Number of People Reached:


Details of Major Brain Awareness Week Events/Activities:

Our event, called BrainsRule!, this year consisted of a series of 10 demo activities of which groups of 15 6th grade students and their chaperones attended 8 during their time at the event. Protect Your Melon Objective: to demonstrate the mechanisms by which our body protects our brain and the mechanisms by which we protect our brains Brain Toss Objective: to give kids an example of implicit learning and plasticity in the brain Hey Kid, You’re Wired! Objective: to demonstrate the structure of a neuron Backyard Brains Objective: to demonstrate the electrical activity of neurons and how neuroscientists record action potentials Brain Quest Objective: to teach gross anatomy of the brain and to give kids the opportunity to see real human brains Dopamine Ball Toss Objective: to demonstrate how neurotransmitters (specifically dopamine) are used to communicate between neurons at the synapse Brain Eaters Objective: to teach a little anatomy and to discuss the effect of lesions in the brain Marshmallow Molecules Objective: to demonstrate the process by which DNA leads to the formation of proteins Super Stem Cells Objective: to demonstrate how stem cells differentiate and how they may be useful in repair Reasoning Fear Objective: to demonstrate the fight or flight response in anatomical detail We would love for the students to be able to experience all the activities, but we don’t quite have the resources to make that happen yet. Maybe next year!

Event Planning & Publicity

Publicity Methods Used:

  • Emails
  • Posters/Flyers
  • Website
  • Social Media

Which of These Publicity Methods Was The Most Successful?

Emails to teachers. We have a rapport with many teachers at the schools that attended, and they decided to bring their classes to our event as a field trip.


Of the Dana Foundation publications/resources distributed at your event(s), if any, please indicate the three most popular. Please choose up to three. If "other," please indicate below:

  • It’s Mindboggling!
  • BAW Stickers
  • BAW Pencils and Erasers

What downloadable materials from the Foundation did you use for your events?

  • BAW Certificate of Participation

What other downloadable materials would you like the Foundation to provide?

  • Activities/Experiments
  • New Puzzles/Games
  • New Coloring Sheets

Which BAW graphic materials did you use in publicizing your events?

  • BAW Logos

Feedback & Keys to Success

How do you feel BAW participation benefited your organization and the local community?

The students really love coming to the university and spending time with us learning about the brain. Some of our volunteers also volunteer for other organizations that reach out to middle schools, and they were able to make connections to teachers who want more science activities for their students at these schools. It’s useful for networking as well as for education!

Please share any suggestions or lessons learned that may help others plan future events:

Our organization finds itself in a bind every year trying to find an inexpensive place to host the event. We require a lot of space and we want to keep it on-campus so that faculty and students from the university can drop by and see what we’re doing, but our current venue is expensive and requires us to buy only its food instead of catering in something cheaper. Choice of venue can be very important to the sustainability of the BAW organization you run! Also, be sure to have a mandatory meeting for volunteers beforehand, so they all know exactly what to do.

Did/do you like our Facebook page?


Was the information provided on Facebook useful?


Quotable comments which capture successful aspects of your event(s):

"The U of M graduate students do a fantastic job of bringing science to life while relaying the information and overall make a tremendously positive impact on my students. Many of my former students who are now completing their bachelor's degrees still speak enthusiastically about their experiences with BrainsRule." -from one of the teachers who brings her students every year

Contact Information

BAW Website:

Contact Name:

Christina May

Contact Phone:


Contact Email:

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