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Neuroscience for Everyone!

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Teacher Spotlight: Successful DonorsChoose campaign electrifies Mrs. Kielma’s classroom

Last year, we were introduced to a number of teachers who wanted to fund their classroom through DonorsChoose–check out our previous blog post about it! Mrs. Kielma is a biology and biotechnical engineering teacher at an urban school, and her DonorsChoose campaign was for a Human-Human Interface to explore biomedical engineering and neuroprosthetics. In her words, “One of the most fascinating things we’re researching is neuroscience and motor function – how an amputee can have a device attached to a limb that will respond to commands using only their THOUGHTS!”

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Brain Awareness Week

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.

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Bill Nye Under Mind Control?

Bill Nye Under Mind Control?

Don’t worry – it was just temporary!

Earlier this year we received an order for a Human-Human-Interface that had our team glowing with excitement. It was addressed to none other than Bill Nye and one of his producers on Bill Nye Saves the World. In this recent Netflix show, Bill Nye and his science correspondents dig into the world of popular science, investigate the unknown, debunk misconceptions, and spread awareness of issues that the scientific community works to tackle every day.

In the last episode of the third season, Bill Nye and his correspondent, the hilarious and insightful Joanna Hausmann, experiment with some mind control… Bill hooks Joanna up to the Human-Human-Interface and describes the neuroscience behind the experiment before Joanna takes total control of Bill. For Bill Nye, Neuroscience has never been more exciting!

Check it out on Netflix: Season 3, Episode 6 of Bill Nye Saves the World! You and your students will enjoy seeing the clip as much as Joanna enjoyed controlling Bill!

Required Kit:
Human-Human-Interface

Bill Nye, Zachary Quinto, The Rock, Kevin Hart, Members of the Mythbusters Team, thousands of K12 teachers, and Chuck Gaidica of ClickOnDetroit’s Channel 4 News can’t all be wrong… the Human-Human-Interface is a blast!

Who will be next? Will it be Neil deGrasse Tyson? Will it be you?

Check it out in the store below and bring the excitement of this hands-on lab to your classroom. Use it as a “phenomena anchor” to get your students hooked on the life sciences, and watch as they start digging in deep to understand how it all works.