University of North Carolina

Organized by:
University of North Carolina

Participating Organizations:

North Carolina Museum of Life + Science

Event(s) Summary

Number of Events Organized During Brain Awareness Week:




Type of Events Held:

  • Exhibit

Target Audiences:

  • Elementary school students(1-5)
  • General Public
  • High School students(9-12)
  • Middle school students(6-8)

Approximate Number of People Reached:


Details of Major Brain Awareness Week Events/Activities:

For Brain Awareness Week 2019, scientists from the UNC Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies organized an interactive exhibit “Memory Games” as a platform for the community to learn about attention and memory. The main event was held at a local science museum, the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science (, in a hands-on laboratory exhibit area. Visitors from across the region first explored the human brain by observing and touching a postmortem human brain, a sheep brain and a brain/skull model. Scientists talked with visitors about the different parts of the brain and their function, especially those functions used in the “Memory Games” activity – vision, perception, attention, memory. Scientists answered and asked questions to promote conversation. Next, visitors entered a gated lab area for the “Memory Games” activity, which began with a quick game of Spot It! (Asmodee). In this card game, each card has a number of pictures, and any two cards will have one item (but only one) in common, and whoever identifies the common item first wins the round. This game introduced the concepts of attention and sort term memory. Then we explicitly tested short-term memory by showing visitors 10-20 small toys and other items on a tray, giving them time to study them, then covering the items and assessing how many they remembered. This activity was adjusted based on the age of the visitor, and supported conversations on memory, mnemonics, and attention. Scientist volunteers were given detailed instructions on the activity and trained before their shift. The exhibit was staffed by 35 scientists and students. Approximately 600 children and 260 adults participated in the “Memory Games” activity over the 5 days (4-6 hr/day), with many more engaging with the brain exhibit. The activity was also adapted to an outdoor science expo. As these events were supported by an NIH grant to the UNC Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, brochures on underage drinking facts and prevention from SAMSHA and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism were distributed. Conversations on science outreach and brain health (wearing a helmet, eating healthy food, protecting our brains from drugs and alcohol) were encouraged.

Event Planning & Publicity

Publicity Methods Used:

  • Emails
  • Website

Which of These Publicity Methods Was The Most Successful?

The Museum advertised the Brain Week activities in their member emails and on their website.


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:

  • BAW Stickers
  • BAW Pencils
  • Brain-shaped Erasers

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 museum visitors and school groups appreciated having a hands-on activity that was more involved than is usually available at the museum. The museum staff appreciated having help during hte week and interacting with the volunteers, plus having additional time to plan for upcoming events since we staffed the lab area. Finally, the students and scientists who volunteered in the event enjoyed interacting with the museum visitors and applying their scientific training in a very new way.

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

It was very helpful to have detail ed instructions for volunteered to read before the event, which made out on-site training more effective.

Did/do you like our Facebook page?


Contact Information

BAW Website:


Contact Name:

Donita Robinson

Contact Phone:


Contact Email:

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