Outreach Event: Brain Awareness Week 2016

Sleep! Taste! Heart rate! Emotions! Memory!

These were only a few of the winning performances by middle school students during Brain Charades, a Psychology in Action (PIA) led event during Brain Awareness Week. The PIA outreach team was on the frontlines, as middle school students battled it out in head-to-head competition – acting out various functions of the brain for their teammates to guess. Students played for the championship through several bonus rounds where they had to accurately name specifically where in the brain that function was located.

This was all part of Brain Awareness Week, hosted by the UCLA Brain Research Institute. Over 250 K-12 students from schools in Los Angeles county visited UCLA for a special field trip to learn about and be fascinated by the brain. Students were engaged in hands-on activities, lab tours, and lively presentations ranging from brain injury, synaptic function, hemispheric differences, motor system and lobe functions.

PIA outreach members Beth Moroney, Julia Hammett, Sasha Reed and Mark Straccia
PIA outreach members Beth Moroney, Julia Hammett, Sasha Reed and Mark Straccia

Aside from Brain Charades, the PIA outreach team led hands-on arts and crafts activities to provide students the opportunity to creatively apply and extend all that they had learned about the brain. From “Aqua Girl,” to “The Silver Shield” to “Mindreader,” students created their own superheroes with special powers. Using a variety of materials, students crafted the necessary neural pathways to achieve the superpowers.

All together, the PIA team effectively engaged students in a variety of hands-on activities, stimulating excitement and interest in the brain!