Project History

See the video about the BrainU Institute.

2011-13: iNeuron™: A contemporary platform for neuroscience education

The objective of this project is to develop an interactive educational resource on neuronal circuits for high school classrooms using handheld electronic devices. iNeuron™ will use an interactive game-like approach to teaching neuroscience and mental health concepts by transforming a set of handheld electronic devices into functionally connected neurons to solve sets of story-based, neuroscience challenges. This project is supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIHM) as part of the Innovative Neuroscience K-12 Education program.

2011-12: NIH/NCRR Neuroscience Blueprint Supplement

Supplement to BRAIN to High Schools: This supplement addressed how neuroscience knowledge changes teachers' beliefs about pedagogy and created demonstration videos for teacher professional development dissemination. Additional matching funds were provided by the Medical School and Academic Health Center of the University of Minnesota.

2009-14: BRAIN to High Schools

Expanding on a successful model previously developed for training middle school science teachers to incorporate neuroscience in their classrooms, BRAIN to High Schools combines University of Minnesota expertise with that of teachers in two school districts to promote enhanced understanding and application of neuroscience and its health-related issues into high school science curriculum. A two-year sequence of summer teacher workshops (called BrainU 101 and BrainU 202) will be offered. Content focus of the institutes will be neuroscience, including an understanding of cognition, learning, emotions, the clinical trial process, and how the autonomic nervous system regulates homeostasis, with an emphasis on inquiry pedagogy. This project was supported by a grant from NIH NCRR SEPA.


2009-2011: Changing Brains Through Inquiry, Not Drugs

Sponsored by NIH NIDA SEDAPA, trained high school teachers in neuroscience and inquiry pedagogy emphasizing how the neurobiology of learning can be disrupted by drug abuse. BrainUs were offered in summers of 2009, 2010, and 2011 and over a series of weekends in the academic years 2009-2010 in Winona, MN and 2010-2011 in Duluth, MN.


2002-09: BRAIN to Middle Schools

When teachers requested more BrainUs, the Department of Neuroscience and the Science Museum of Minnesota sought additional funding. Sponsored by NIH NCRR SEPA, the BRAIN to Middle Schools program expanded the BrainU institutes to a series of 4 weeks of workshops over 3 summers.

Bringing Resources, Activities, & Inquiry in Neuroscience to Middle Schools was designed to promote and facilitate inquiry-based learning in neuroscience among fifth to eighth grade students and their teachers. The project had three components:

BrainU - a series of teacher professional development workshops

Explain Your Brain - assembly, exhibit hall, and class activity programs for schools

Brain Trunk - neuroscience resource and materials trunk for classroom use


The Beginning

From visiting classrooms for Brain Awareness Week, we became aware that teachers wanted to learn what neuroscience has uncovered about brain mechanisms of learning and memory.

2000-02: Brain Science on the Move

To meet this demand, funds were sought to develop the neuroscience teacher training project. We received sponsorship from Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Brain Science on the Move was born. Additional funding from the Minnesota Department of Higher Education: Eisenhower Professional Development Program, enabled delivery of the BrainU teacher professional development institutes by a team of scientists at the University of Minnesota Department of Neuroscience working with educators from the Science Museum of Minnesota.