University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Don Moyers Boys and Girls Club Neuroscience Fair

June 1, 2011 - 2:00am -- Hillary Lauren

What color do you see? Do you see what I see? How do our brains help us make sense of the world around us? Students from the University of Illinois planned and conducted a science fair for 100 K-5 students at the Don Moyers Boys&Girls Club to teach them about vision and the brain.

This event was a collaboration among undergraduate students, graduate students in education and neuroscience, and post-docs. From modeling a neuron to exploring how the environment influences what we see, childrenwere introduced to themes in neuroscience. In one activity, students learned that the environment influences their perception of color bysorting M&Ms. In normal white light, they were all very good at this, but in red and green light, students discovered the M&Ms seemed to change color!

To demonstrate the brain’s remarkable ability to adapt to new visual information, students used prism goggles while trying to hit a target with beanbags. The first trials were dismal, but students quickly adjusted  their aim based on the visual feedback. Practice makes perfect

Future science fair events at the Boys&Girls Club will allow University of Illinois students to design activities and experiments that allow them to share their enthusiasm about neuroscience with young students.