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Neuroscience for Everyone!

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The Case for Neuroscience Research in the Classroom

Scientific publications are a bit more formal than our preferred mode of “sharing the good word” of DIY Neuroscience–our TED videos are a great example of our normal route. But, scientific publications are a currency of authority, and they do offer the opportunity to lay out, very precisely, why we think that students around the world should study neuroscience!

In the past, we have published the results of our own DIY neuroscience research, as well as the research of our students and fellows, but the publication we are excited to share today is a little bit different!

This argumentative piece by our co-founder Dr. Greg Gage presents an argument for why neuroscience isn’t just a fun and engaging subject in K12, but it is rather a critically important subject that must be addressed if we want to see real progress and change in the future of neuroscience research.

From the paper, Greg argues,

One in five people will have a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lives (World Health Organization, 2013), and the economic costs of these disorders are staggering. Many of these disorders do not have approved treatments or are in need of newer, more effective ones to be developed. In order to accomplish this, basic and translational research is needed to increase our collective knowledge of the principles that govern brain function. Given the importance of this research to society, it seems odd that the only way to study the nervous system has been to enroll as a neuroscience graduate student. “

Obviously, we think that that’s bogus, which is why we do the work that we do at Backyard Brains. You don’t need grad school to get started learning about neuroscience! In fact, we have lots of examples of students in Middle School and High School tackling big questions in neuroscience!

Check out the whole article here!

And check out these examples of K12 Neuroscience Research and Experience:

And lastly… it’s worth mentioning that if you are a teacher or a student attempting to make YOUR CASE for why your school should be teaching hands-on neuroscience, this is a fantastic resource for you. Take advantage of the journalistic prestige of Neuron and single-author papers to help make your argument. And let us know what we can do to help!


Paper, Tape, Straws: Neuroscience

A simple Neuroprosthetic may be made with anything and everything!

Recently, I’ve been working with an 8th grade STEM teacher – Ms. Amy Farkas, from Riverview, MI – as she guides her students through a unit on prosthetics, neuroprosthetics, and other assistive technology. She began her unit having her students learn about hand articulation, tendons, and the median, ulnar, and radial nerves.

They built paper models to get started – Love it! In my mind, this is the kind of prototyping that makes the basics of this science accessible to literally everyone with access to arts ‘n crafts supplies.

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Senior Fellows at “Soapbox Science” and “Munich Science Slam”

As part of the kick-off to the International Senior Research Fellowship, the fellows attended Soapbox Science Munich and the Munich Science Slam presentation skills workshop to begin immersing themselves in the scientific community in Germany and learn strategies to become better science communicators.

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