Brain Awareness Week

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Reports

University of Oklahoma Cellular & Behavioral Neurobiology Graduate Program

Organized by:
University of Oklahoma Cellular & Behavioral Neurobiology Graduate Program

Participating Organizations:
Oklahoma Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience

Event(s) Summary

Number of Events Organized During Brain Awareness Week:

4

Year:

2017

Type of Events Held:

  • Exhibit
  • School Program

Target Audiences:

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

Approximate Number of People Reached:

1400

Details of Major Brain Awareness Week Events/Activities:

We had 4 events in the spring semester, 2 large and 2 smaller. The largest was our "BAW" event, actually held in April, at Science Museum Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, which we do each year, but this year did in collaboration with the renewed Oklahoma Chapter of the SfN, which expanded publicity (and hands-on activities). We know that 650 kids attended (because they filled out cards), plus additional family members. The other large event was the Annual ScienceFest at the state fairgrounds in Oklahoma City, for 4th and 5th graders from around the state; about 400 kids visited our exhibit. The smaller ones were a visit to the Community After School Program in Norman, OK and participation in the "Expo" portion of the March for Science at the state capitol in Oklahoma City. Our regular activities are: 1) see/touch a human brain 2) see/hear electricity from your own muscles (surface electromyograms from the biceps) 3) see how your brain changes in a minute (throwing balls after wearing prism goggles) 4) fool your brain about where your hand is using a proprioceptive illusion (muscle massager on triceps tendon with eyes closed) 5) see how fruit flies stop moving when their synapses temporarily stop functioning (temperature-sensitive mutation) 6) experience how smell is integrated with taste in the brain (judging jellybean flavor with eyes and nose closed). Some photos of these activities are at http://www.ou.edu/cbn/news-and-events/annual-events/. These activities all tend to get kids engaged and teach them a fundamental concept in neurobiology.

Event Planning & Publicity

Publicity Methods Used:

  • Calendar Listings (newspapers, radio, television)
  • Website
  • Social Media

Resources

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

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?

I'm not sure there is any benefit to our organization, but I think there is an important benefit to the community. About 40% of our visitors (including adults) are not aware, for example, that electrical signaling is used in their muscles and nervous system, until they engage in our activities. (We are documenting this with a one-page survey.)

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

It is critical to use engaging activities that are not time-consuming and that teach a fundamental concept that can be communicated simply and briefly. We have winnowed down our activities over the years to these 6 that we know work well.

Contact Information

BAW Website:

http://www.ou.edu/cbn/news-and-events/annual-events/

Contact Name:

Ari Berkowitz

Contact Phone:

405-325-3492

Contact Email:

ari@ou.edu

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