PULLMAN, Wash. — The Washington State University neuroscience department’s Palouse Kids Judge! Brain Awareness Day is set for Tuesday (March 9) from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Compton Union Building’s Carey Ballroom.

To capture students’ attention about opportunities in neuroscience and brain research, some 100 fifth-grade students will eat fake “brains” made with molded gelatin.

The local fifth-graders will judge 20 educational projects developed for the event by WSU students and faculty. The projects are hands-on activities designed to help kids discover the importance and functions of the brain while in a fun atmosphere.  A wide variety of neuroscience topics are represented covering the blood-brain barrier, playing “tag” across nerve cells, a mouse maze and more. 

The day will conclude with an award presentation for the best brain project, as chosen by the student judges.

The Brain Day activities are part of a national effort sponsored by the National Kids Judge! Program and the Dana Alliance (www.dana.org) to provide information about the benefits of brain research. 

Today one in five Americans suffers from a brain-related disease or disorder, including learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease and spinal cord injuries.

WSU’s neuroscience department provides a vital and unique degree program for undergraduates, said Sandi Brabb, assistant director neuroscience. An undergraduate degree in neuroscience is an ideal stepping-stone for students wanting to enter a career in biomedical research, pursue graduate education or to seek professional medical training as a physician, veterinarian or dentist, she said.

The Dana Alliance is a nonprofit organization of more than 200 neuroscientists established to provide information about the personal and public benefits of brain research.