WRITER: JENNIFER BROWN
CONTACT: BECKY SOGLIN
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 384-4638
Release: March 16, 2001
Public invited to Iowa Kids Judge! Neuroscience Fair
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Curious how your brain works? Children and adults are
invited to investigate the complexities of the brain at the Iowa Kids Judge!
Neuroscience Fair on Saturday, March 24 at the Iowa Children's Museum located
at Coral Ridge Mall. The fair is part of Brain Awareness Week 2001, organized
by the University of Iowa Neuroscience Graduate Program, and will be open
to the public from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. for the general admission price of
$4.50 ($3.50 for seniors over age 60).
Hands-on exhibits will allow visitors to create visual illusions in the
Art and Design Studio, find out about brain food facts in the City Grocery,
get their reflexes checked by a neurologist in the hospital or play a game
in the theatre. Additional activities, demonstrations and visual displays
will help people learn about neuroscience.
Students in the UI Neuroscience Graduate Program and other individuals have
designed the fair's exhibits, which aim to convey fundamental concepts about
the brain, such as learning, memory, vision and anatomy, said Sarah Berke,
a student in the UI Neuroscience Graduate Program and co-chair of the UI Brain
Awareness Week Committee.
"Numerous individuals and area businesses have collaborated to make
the fair a huge success and fun time for all involved," Berke said. "To
mention a few, Iowa City's City High School students will decorate the museum
in 'brainy attire,' the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers are developing
a puzzle to teach children about the functions of different brain regions,
and volunteers from UI Health Care and various UI graduate programs will present
Nearly 350 fifth-grade students from area schools will be the first to try
out the exhibits as they take part in the Iowa Kids Judge! Neuroscience Fair
March 20-21. For these students from Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Muscatine, Olin,
Vinton, Wellman and West Liberty, the event will be structured like a traditional
science fair but this time the children get to judge and select the winning
exhibits. A virtual version of the fair will ultimately be available online
In addition to providing grade-school students with a closer look at neuroscience
research, the local fair is part of a national project investigating the best
ways to introduce kids to and teach them about science. The Iowa fair is organized
in collaboration with the National Kids Judge! Neuroscience Fairs Partnership
and funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The National Kids Judge! Partnership is directed by Deborah Colbern, Ph.D.,
president and scientific director of BEEMNET (www.beemnet.com), Brain Exchange
Electronic Mentorship Network. Based in Venice, Calif., the company links
practicing neuroscientists with children to promote education about the brain
and nervous system and neuroscience research.
In addition to the groups described by Berke as providing exhibits or assistance
at the Iowa Kids Judge! Fair, organizations helping with the event include
the Iowa Children's Museum, EMPI, Inc., Brain Awareness Week Partners in Education,
Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and numerous area businesses that will
be recognized at the fair.
The event is one of many activities planned by the UI Neuroscience Graduate
Program in observation of Brain Awareness Week. Other activities will include
a poster session by UI neuroscientists on Thursday, March 22, and a public
lecture at 6 p.m. that day by Anthony Movshon, Ph.D., from the Center for
Neural Science at New York University, in the Seebohm Conference Room, 283
Eckstein Medical Research Building.
The Brain Awareness Week campaign was launched in 1996 by the Dana Alliance
for Brain Initiatives to promote public awareness of the accomplishments,
benefits and promise of brain research. The event is now celebrated worldwide
and involves a coalition of more than 1,200 science, advocacy and other health
For more information regarding the Iowa Kids Judge! Neuroscience Fair, contact
Sarah Berke at the UI at (319) 335-9859.
For more information about the National Kids Judges! Neuroscience Fairs
Partnership, contact Deborah Colbern at (310) 776-0877.
For questions regarding the Iowa Children's Museum facilities, contact Deb
Dunkhase, director of education, at (319) 625-6255.
To find out more about neuroscience at the UI, visit www.uiowa.edu/~neuro/
For more information about other Brain Awareness Week events around the country
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the
UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care,
medical education and research programs and services they provide.