Brain Awareness Week

Partner

Reports

University of Wyoming Brainy Bunch

Organized by:
University of Wyoming Brainy Bunch

Participating Organizations:
Dana Foundation

Event(s) Summary

Number of Events Organized During Brain Awareness Week:

2

Year:

2021

Type of Events Held:

  • Lab Tour
  • Online/Virtual
  • School Program

Target Audiences:

  • High school students (9-12)

Approximate Number of People Reached:

180

Details of Major Brain Awareness Week Events/Activities:

Our first outreach began with a virtual laboratory tour of a neuroscience lab on campus. Students then engaged with hands-on activities to further build on their understanding of 3 of the 5 senses: taste, touch, and vision. Students tricked their sense of taste using “Miracle Berries” that temporarily modified sour tasting foods to sweet. Students then performed small group experiments to learn about their sense of touch through the 2-point discrimination task. Together we discussed how the brain processes touch and graphed our class data. From the graph we discussed possible conclusions and how the individual class data compared to the pulled data across all classes. Lastly, the students engaged with some optical illusions and learned that they can’t always trust what they see! Our second outreach also included a lab tour and then walked the students through the Dana Foundation lesson to help solve the Zombie Apocalypse! We started by identifying some behavioral characteristics of zombies and then talked about the different brain regions that must be impacted based on those behaviors. We then introduced the students to how neurons communicate and a couple different neurotransmitters in the brain and their functions. The students divided into small groups to develop a drug to cure the zombies. The student groups each had a brain map and some skittles. Each skittle color represented a specific neurotransmitter. They worked together to determine which neurotransmitters in which regions of the brain needed to be increased or decreased in their drug and presented. We achieved our goals to increase understanding of the brain and excite students about career possibilities in research. We will also host a HS week summer camp.

Event Planning & Publicity

Publicity Methods Used:

  • Other

Other Publicity Methods:

We contacted our K-12 teacher partners and will partner with the University of Wyoming Summer High School Institute for our week long neuroscience camp.

Resources

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

  • Lesson Plans Grades 9-12
  • Truth or Myth Flash Cards

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

  • New Fact Sheets
  • Activities/Experiments

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

  • Brain Awareness Week Logos

Feedback & Keys to Success

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

Institution benefits-allow students in the state to see the possibilities of the University and types of research they could be involved in.Immediate Outcomes- inspiration of students and sustainable partnerships with teachers in different regions of the state of Wyoming. Outreaching across Wyoming is so critical being such a rural and at times, isolated location.

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

Help teachers with the technology prior to the event, especially for virtual programming. K-12 teachers do not necessarily have the technology that the University has access to which can impact the virtual outreach/in-reach events.

Did/do you like our Facebook page?

Yes

Event Photos

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Tour of the vivarium and research rats

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Two Point Discrimination Test

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Student derived graph from their experimental data

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Zombie skittle neurotransmitter key for students to develop their novel drug

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One student group example of their Zombie Apocalyps Drug: Zom-Be-Gone

Contact Information

Contact Name:

Karagh Brummond

Contact Phone:

307-766-4186

Contact Email:

kmurph17@uwyo.edu

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