Every year in late March, scientists across the world band together to participate in Brain Awareness week, an extended event created by The Society for Neuroscience and Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives to expose kids to neuroscience research. It is a week-long celebration of the brain, really, with participants ranging from universities to government agencies in over 120 countries! Here at Backyard Brains, we are all about hands-on neuroscience education, so we’ve put together a list of some of our Greatest Hits experiments to spice up your week!
There are a lot of typical experiments used as a go-to for talking about the brain and introducing kids to thinking about it, like looking at cross-sections of sheep brains or listening to a talk on neurons, but what if you don’t have any sheep brains on hand? We have found that the best way to get kids excited about the brain is to get them into really interactive experiments, ones where they can move things and see reactions in real time, and this is the basis of our Muscle/Neuroengineering line of products.
At Backyard Brains, we are always striving to make neuroscience accessible, and our demonstrations are some of the best ways to do that! Often when we are at conferences, we call on civilians approaching our booth to help us out as we showcase a new experiment, proving that neuroscience is truly for everyone. Here are some experiments that we have noticed are some of the biggest crowd-pleasers.
Required Kit: Human-Human Interface
Number one in all of our hearts, the Human-Human Interface. Who wants to roll up their sleeves and sacrifice their free will for science? Will the student become the master? With our HHI, you can make your muscles talk to and direct the reactions of another person!
Required Kit: Muscle SpikerBox Pro and Reaction Timer
Is it a reflex or a reaction? How can you tell the difference between the two? With our new and improved Reaction Timer, try your hand at doing just that!
Required Kit: The Claw
This experiment is our basic neuroprosthetic, the step before the Human-Human Interface. Your own muscles control the stepper motor of a claw, like the mechanical grabbers of old. What kinds of objects can you pick up? How long can you hold them?
Required Kit: Muscle SpikerBox Pro
Has anyone ever said no to snacking for science? We don’t think so! Investigate how your jaw moves when you chew, and learn about the neurons that fire to make you so snack happy!
For more information or ideas about hosting your own Brain Awareness Week event, visit http://www.dana.org/BAW/eventideas/. If you use our experiments for your events, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know! Welcome to the Neurorevolution!