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BYB in High School!

Backyard Brains always loves hearing about our equipment making its way out into the world and into a classroom, so we were thrilled to hear from Dr. Nancy Cowdin, a Neuroscientist and Science teacher at Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School. Dr. Cowdin recently taught an elective course in Neuroscience where seniors at the all-girls high school in Washington, DC had done some research with our SpikerBoxes!

“We were given some start-up funds by a donor to purchase the kits. The students first constructed the DIY spiker boxes (with some difficulties… but it proved to be a great problem-solving activity),” Dr. Nancy Cowdin shared–just what we like to hear!For the research projects, each group selected an experiment of interest from those listed on your Backyard Brains website. They designed a research protocol (modified from your experiments), created an Informed Consent for all human-subject projects, were required to keep a laboratory notebook, recruited and tested subjects, and figured out how to use the recordings to analyze the data.

The culmination of their work was a poster session and a formal presentation to fellow classmates and some faculty members. The students took away each other’s free will with the Human-Human Interface; they examined the difference in muscle fatigue between softball players and pianists with the Muscle SpikerBox; they observed the effects of various substances on the cockroach nervous system with the Neuron SpikerBox (which they built themselves!); they looked at eye action potentials and the mysterious P300 signal with our Heart & Brain SpikerShield.

“All in all, this was a very worthwhile endeavor. I have done research with sleep physiology in past years but your equipment broadened our horizons!” Dr. Cowdin plans to order more Backyard Brain kits in the future and further incorporate the SpikerBox into her class again. Another successful recruit to the Neurorevolution! Thank you, Dr. Cowdin and the senior girls of Georgetown Visitation, and keep spreading the word!


We’d love to hear your success stories. Share them with us at and we may feature your students’ work as well! And, you know, junior publication credits look great on College Applications…


Take a look at the students’ posters from their research this year:

Interactions Between Eye Potentials and Brain Activity – Heart & Brain SpikerShield

Activating Your Sympathetic Nervous System – Heart & Brain SpikerShield

EMG Amplitude and Neural Signals During Muscle Fatigue: Analyzing Muscle Fatigue Patterns Between Softball Players and Pianists – Muscle SpikerBox

P300 Involving Frequency: The Effect of Tones on the Human Brain – Heart & Brain SpikerShield

Taking Someone’s Free Will – Human-Human Interface

The Effect of Nicotine & MSG on Neural Activity of a Cockroach – Neuron SpikerBox


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