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BrainU Article Honored as SCIENCE Editors' Choice
November 11, 2013 - While attending the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting last weekend, Dr. Janet Dubinsky received word that a paper she authored with Dr. Gillian Roehrig and Dr. Sashank Varma had been selected as an Editors' Choice by SCIENCE magazine. The paper, entitled "Infusing Neuroscience Into Teacher Professional Development," appeared in the Aug/Sept issue of Educational Researcher, the journal of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).
SCIENCE is the highly-respected, peer-reviewed weekly science journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Selection as an Editors' Choice is a great honor. In the Editors' Choice notice entitled "When Neuroscience Guides Education," editor Fanny Bernardon writes "...BrainU succeeded in motivating teachers to implement student-centered lessons, based on the concept of plasticity, and in modeling best practice in inquiry pedagogy."
Upon hearing this news, Dr. Dubinsky contacted the BrainU team with thanks and congratulations. She asked that we get the word out to BrainU supporters and participants so that you can know the impact of your hard work. "I truly appreciate their (BrainU participants and teachers) participation and willingness to let us into their classrooms."
Congratulations, everyone! It's time to celebrate...and read the article online.
NeuroQ: a new App for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
October 14, 2013 - UofM neuroscientist and BrainU presenter Dr. Teresa Nick ("Control of Vocal Plasticity in the Songbird") announced the release of NeuroQ, a fun, multiple-choice quiz on basic neuroscience facts. The program presents 200 questions one-by-one - questions like "What is the major connection between the cerebral hemispheres?" and "Where are orexin neurons located?" are presented with 4 possible answers. If you select an option that is not the correct answer, the option grays out and you get several more chances to get the right answer.
Full details and free download are available on iTunes.
Design a Brain Experiment Competition
High school students in the U.S. are invited to submit an original brain experiment designed to test creative theories about daily brain activity, brain disorders and diseases, and brain functions. Students should not complete their experiments and should, instead, view their submissions as research proposals rather than completed research.
Submissions are due by Friday, January 17, 2014. Winning submissions will be announced during Brain Awareness Week, March 10-16, 2014. The competition, sponsored by The Dana Foundation, was announced in a blog post on their website. Full details can be found in the contest guidelines (PDF).
Good luck, future neuroscientists!
Dr. David Redish Featured on BBC
August 12, 2013 - UofM neuroscientist and BrainU presenter (Addiction & Decision-Making Models) A. David Redish, PhD, was featured in a segment on the BBC TV show Dara O Briain's Science Club recently. The topic: his research into mental time travel in rats.
Mental time travel - once believed to be something only humans can do - is the capacity to imagine doing something that you've not yet done. The rats in Dr. Redish's lab visit corners of a maze. Each corner holds pellets of a different flavor and a tone indicates how long the rat will have to wait before the pellet is delivered. If there will be a long wait for a favorite food, the rat hesitates and seems to weigh its options. Is this food worth the wait? A video of this fascinating 4 1/2 minute story is available on YouTube. Read a transcript of the video.
Dr. Redish has just published a new book, The Mind within the Brain, in which he "brings together cutting edge research in psychology, robotics, economics, neuroscience, and the new fields of neuroeconomics and computational psychiatry, to offer a unified theory of human decision-making" according to the write-up on Amazon.com. Read more...
On Sept 24 at 4pm in the University of Minnesota Bookstore, Dr. Redish discussed and signed copies of his book. Details
Dr. Redish was interviewed on Oct. 17th by Marshall Poe of Big Ideas in New Books on the New Books Network. Listen to this fascinating 55 minute interview.
Kudos to BrainU Participants
The Winter 2010 issue of CBE-Life Science Education journal published an article entitled "Teaching Neuroscience to Science Teachers: Facilitating the Translation of Inquiry-Based Teaching Instruction to the Classroom." A finding reported in the article: Students of those teaching neuroscience as a intensive unit demonstrate increased neuroscience knowledge on content assessments. Read the article - it's the first one listed under Articles.
NSTA: Brain, Behavior, and the Senses in the Next Generation Science Standards
April 13, 2013 - Neuroscientist Janet Dubinsky, PhD, and school Superintendent Patricia Camp, PhD, will discuss approaches to the Next Generation Science Standards for brain science at the National Science Teachers Association conference in San Antonio, Texas. Audience members will learn hands-on classroom activities and how to access credible resources from the world's leading neuroscience society through BrainFacts.org.
The Search for Consciousness: Detecting Awareness in the Vegetative State
March 27, 2013 - Dr. Adrian Owen, a neuroscientist at The Brain and Mind Institute, University of Western Ontario, will discuss this topic in a free public lecture [flyer] Thursday, April 4, 2013, in the Cowles Auditorium, Hubert Humphrey Center, 301 19th Ave S, Minneapolis. location info
Dr. Owen researches cognitive function in disorders of consciousness, frontostriatal dysfunction in Parkinson's Disease, and frontal lobe function. You may read more about this on his website.
Virtual Neurons 3 Demo at Mn Science Teachers Association Conference in Duluth
February 22, 2013 - Dr. Jan Dubinsky spoke in Duluth at the 3rd Annual Minnesota Conference on Science Education: Putting the "E" in STEM! Dr. Dubinsky was the Life Sciences Strand Speaker; the topic of her Strand presentations was "Feedback: A (Neuro)Biological and Engineering Idea." She presented a second session on "Using Engineering to Mimic Neurobiology." During this presentation, she introduced attendees to the NEW Virtual Neurons program.
Altered Reality: Impossible Made Possible Activity
November 9, 2012 - Two BrainU participants created an activity based on the Altered Reality lesson -- "Impossible Made Possible Prism Goggle Activity." One take-away of this activity is the value of repetition in helping students master a new skill - tossing beanbags, running with the ball, or tackling mathematical calculations. Thank you, Jacky and Brian, for this great addition to the BrainU curriculum! Visit the Altered Reality lesson page to download the new teacher and student guides.
Dr. Dubinsky on Brain-Based Learning
October 23, 2012 - "One of the best ways teachers can use neuroscience in the classroom is by helping students to understand what's happening in the brain when learning takes place." said BrainU director Dr. Janet Dubinsky in response to the question: What are the best ways to practically implement what we know about how the brain learns into our teaching? Education Week blogger Larry Ferlazzo posed this question last week and published three of the responses he received. Read the full article at blogs.edweek.org/teachers/classroom_qa_with_larry_ferlazzo/2012/10/response_using_brain-based_learning_in_the_classroom.html
"Smart Drugs" Ethical & Safety Concerns
October 19, 2012 - An article published in the online journal Education Week today reports on the ethical and safety concerns of "smart drugs." Neuroscience for Kids website director Dr. Eric Chudler is quoted in this article which was based on discussions held at the recent Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, D.C. Read the full article at www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/10/19/09smartdrugs.h32.html
BrainU: A Recognized Resource
August 29, 2012 - Many websites list BrainU as a resource for teachers and students of neuroscience. Just a few examples are:
- Educational Resources in Neuroscience, a service of the Society for Neuroscience. Type BrainU in the Search field to bring up a short description and link to the BrainU.org website.
- BrainFacts.org which features BrainU on the main page as well as on a resource page.
- The Highlight Health Network article about BrainU that describes the program and gives readers access to The Synapse cartoon in our Cool Stuff section.
- The American Physiological Society (APS) Archive of Teaching Resources, a digital library of peer-reviewed science teaching resources that is free and open to educators worldwide, includes BrainU lessons. Visit apsarchive.org and click on Search the Archive. Type BrainU in the search field and you'll see the 11 lessons -- all the lessons we've submitted so far. More lessons will be submitted in the next few months.
If you visit a website and see a reference to BrainU, please let us know!
April 1, 2012 - A video describing the BrainU program and featuring participants of last summer's workshops has just been released. Check it out below:
Mini Medical School 2012 to Focus on the Brain
February 1, 2012 - Registration is now open for It's All in Your Head: The Latest in Brain Science and Treatment, the 26th session of Mini Medical School, which meets on Mondays, February 6 – March 5, 2012, 6-8:30 pm at the University of Minnesota.
Discover how world-renowned experts in the Academic Health Center are making major advances in the field of brain science. Explore topics like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Alzheimer's disease, addiction, and rehabilitating stroke survivors, all directly from the researchers and doctors who are developing the latest breakthrough therapies in modern medicine.
To read full details and register, click here.
iNeuron™ in Development
October 11, 2011 - Adventium Enterprises, a Minneapolis-based software research and development company, announced that it has been awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to develop iNeuron™, an interactive game-like approach to teaching neuroscience and mental health concepts at the classroom level and beyond. iNeuron will teach key concepts by transforming a set of handheld electronic devices into functionally connected neurons to solve sets of story-based, neuroscience challenges. This award has been granted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIHM) as part of the Innovative Neuroscience K-12 Education program.
Adventium's partner in the effort is the University of Minnesota (UMN), which for years has been promoting neuroscience education in K-12 schools through its BrainU program, funded by a National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) Science Education Partnership Award and a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Science Education Drug Abuse Partnership Award. BrainU provides professional development resources and materials for K-12 science teachers interested in understanding the brain and its relevance to education. Dr. Janet Dubinsky, the BrainU director, an internationally recognized leader in neuroscience education, and co-lead of the iNeuron project, observes that: "Neuroscience education goes beyond simply teaching the mechanics of nervous system function. Studies have shown that students' understanding of how their own brains control body and cognitive functions has a positive impact on reinforcing healthy behaviors." Read the press release.
August 26, 2011 - The 47th Nobel Conference — held October 4-5, 2011 at Gustavus Adolphus College in St Peter, MN — is titled The Brain and Being Human. Lecturers will explore the neurology of human nature, therapies for autism, depression treatment using direct brain stimulation, music and biological evolution, brain-computer interfaces, and decision making. Master teachers from 11 Minnesota high schools have developed lesson plans specifically for the conference; one of these teachers is a BrainU Institute participant. To access the lesson plans, visit https://gustavus.edu/events/nobelconference/2011/teachers/.
June 29, 2011 - In a General Session at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Texas Regional Collaboratives, BrainU director Dr. Jan Dubinsky gave a presentation entitled Science Educators and Neuroscientists: A Collaborative Agenda. Dr. Dubinsky's presentation explored the relationship between neuroscience and education.
The Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching is an award-winning network of P-16 partnerships that provide sustained, high-intensity professional development to P-12 teachers of science and mathematics.