Brain Awareness Week
Brain Awareness Week is described by its founding organization, the Dana Foundation, as "the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research". Every year, organizations around the world reach out to their local communities to educate the public and celebrate the brain and brain research.
Since 2013, we have participated in Brain Awareness Week by visiting local elementary schools where we do fun and educational activities with students. Our volunteers consist of students (undergraduate and graduate) and faculty from the Neuroscience department and the Brain and Cognitive Sciences department at the University of Rochester.
In 2019, we worked with over 40 volunteers to reach over 500 students at five schools over the course of 2 weeks. Our activities are designed to encourage children to think about the importance of their brains and how their brains help them interact with the world. Our topics range from perception and the senses to memory and learning. We have incorporated activities proven to be fun and effective by other organizations, as well as designed many of our own original activities.
After much consideration due to the pandemic, we decided to host our 2021 Brain Awareness Week virtually for any elementary school that was interested. We were able to coordinate with the classrooms of Mr. Kunzer and Mrs. Buonomo. Each of our members hosted a breakout room where we taught kids something about their brain. The theme was visual perception and memory where we not only taught kids about neuroscience, but to do so we had them participate in a perceptual closure task, a stroop task, and play a few rounds of the grocery game. It was super hectic, but extremely fun and the kids had an absolute blast.
We are happy to announce that for our 2022 Brain Awareness Week, we were able to resume our in-person school visits! We worked with seven classrooms in-person to investigate how our brain uses our senses to make assumptions about our surroundings, and one classroom virtually to investigate how attention affects how our brain understands information. We are looking forward to Brain Awareness Week 2023!
Activities to try at home:
Educators: If you would like us to attend your school during the next Brain Awareness Week or if you would like to coordinate a separate event with us, please contact us at URBrainAwareness@gmail.com.