spocksbrain (spocksbrain) wrote,

International Brain Bee

common_duck's post in neuroscience inspired me to look up The International Brain Bee. In honor of the upcoming Brain Awareness Week in March, The Society for Neuroscience sponsors a high school competition about neuroscience knowledge. The winner of the international bee gets $3,000, a trophy for the high school, and a summer fellowship working with a neurologist. A list of regional bee sites is here; turns out there's one right nearby in Farmington, Connecticut. I love some of the questions here. I wish this had been around when I was a closet neuro nerd in high school...

Do you ever wonder:

- what makes you who you are?
- how you can improve your memory?
- why we need sleep?
- what determines intelligence?
- how your brains are different from computers?
- how your brains create emotions?
- how eyes see and ears hear?
- why pain exists?
- how male and female brains differ?
- how scientists can see and hear changes in the brain?

Then consider the International Brain Bee a way to find out the answers, compete with students from many cities, win prize money, and visit some of the best brain research facilities in the world.

About the Brain Bee
The International Brain Bee (IBB) is a live Q & A competition that tests the neuroscience knowledge of high school students. Young men and women from all over North America compete to determine who is the "best brain" on such topics as intelligence, memory, emotions, sensations, movement, stress, aging, sleep, addiction, Alzheimer's, and stroke. In a two-step process, local competitions are held throughout North America, with the winners invited to the championship at the University of Maryland during Brain Awareness Week in March. The IBB is an attempt to motivate our youth to learn about the brain, capture their imagination and inspire them to pursue careers in biomedical brain research. We challenge educators and scientists to start a brain bee in their city. We challenge students to compete! It's fun, easy, and rewarding.

The Society for Neuroscience congratulates the 2005 International Brain Bee Champion, John Liu of Troy High School in Troy, Michigan.

The 2006 International Brain Bee competition will take place on March 17 & 18 (full days) at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. For a complete overview of resources, scoring, prizes, directions, and an event schedule of the 2006 International Brain Bee, click here.

Information on the 2006 International Brain Bee Championship in Maryland

Date and Location
March 17 and 18, 2006; The University of Maryland in Baltimore and the National Institutes of Health. The location of the championship is at the University of Maryland Medical School, Health Science Facility, 685 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. For directions to the University of Maryland Campus, parking information and a map of the campus, please visit www.umaryland.edu.

The IBB champion receives $3000, an all expenses paid trip for two to Atlanta, Georgia to attend the Society for Neuroscience Convention, an individual trophy, a traveling trophy for their high school, and a fellowship to work in the laboratory of a neuroscientist during the summer. There will also be prizes for second and third place winners.

How it Works
Local coordinators contact high schools for interested students and conduct their local brain bees during January, February, and March. The winner is then invited to the championship in Baltimore, Maryland.

Part I

A: Human Neuroanatomy Practical (30%). This involves 30 stations with human brains, or parts of human brains, that have pins sticking in different parts. Students must recall their names and/or functions and write them on their answer sheets. Students can prepare by studying any basic neuroanatomy or neurophysiology textbook or atlas.

B: Oral Question and Answer session one (9%). Three different questions are asked of each student. They require a one word or phrase answer. Students can prepare by studying Brain Facts.

C. Patient Diagnosis (20%) Students will spend 5 minutes alone with each of 10 patient actors. By observing them and asking them their own questions they are to diagnose the patient’s neurological disorder, choosing from one of the following 12 disorders: bipolar disorder, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, schizophrenia, stroke, Tourette Syndrome, neurological AIDS, chronic pain, and autism. Patients are only allowed to answer yes or no to the questions. Students can prepare by studying the basic signs and symptoms of these disorders.

D: Written Test (15%). All competitors are given the same fifteen multiple choice questions. Students can prepare by studying Brain Facts.

E: Oral Question and Answer session two (21%). Seven different questions are asked of each student. They require a one word or phrase answer. There may be one or two rounds of visuals. Students can prepare by studying Brain Facts.

F. Group Competition (5%). Competitors are divided into 4 to 6 groups on Friday morning. At irregular times throughout the two days they are be given 10 fun tasks, such as neuroscience crossword puzzles, to complete. Each task lasts about 5 minutes. With each task, each competitor of the winning group will each receive 0.5 points. There is no specific reference to study for this part. Common sense and a general basic knowledge of neuroscience will be required.

Part II

Oral Question and Answer Elimination. The top students from Part I compete in Part II. In every round, each student is asked a different question from a category of their choice. The questions require a one word or phrase answer. A competitor is eliminated when he/she accumulates three wrong answers. The last one standing is the champion. Students can prepare by studying Arts and Cognition, The 2005 Progress Report on Brain Research. This publication is available online at www.dana.org.

Schedule of Activities for the IBB Championship
Friday and Saturday, March 17 and 18, 2006

Day Time Activity Place
Fri. 8:00 am Registration UMB Medical School. 685 W. Baltimore St.
8:00 – 9:00 am Breakfast UMB Medical School.
9:00 – 10:00 am Orientation and Photos UMB Medical School.
10:00 am – 12:00 pm Brain Bee Part IA: Neuroanatomy Practical (30%) UMB Dental School, 666 W. Baltimore St. (The Oldest Dental School in the World)
12:00 – 1:30 pm Travel to Bethesda, Maryland (Box lunch on bus) On the Road
1:30 – 5:00 pm The National Institutes of Health
High School Neuroscience Forum
1:30 Tour National Library of Medicine, Ms. Melanie Modlin
2:00 - NIH Speaker 1
2:30 - IBB Part IB
3:00 - NIH Speaker 2
3:30 - IBB Part IB, continued
4:00 - Dr. Paul Avarich

National Library of Medicine
5:00 – 6:30 pm Return to Baltimore On the Road
Sat. 9:00 – 10:00 pm Brain Bee Part IC UMB Medical School.
10:00 am – 1:00 pm Tours: Shock-Trauma, Brain Imaging, Neuroscience Laboratories, Davidge Hall (The Oldest Medical School Building in Continuous Operation in the USA ) UMB Campus
1:00 – 2:00 pm Lunch UMB Medical School.
2:00 – 3:00 pm Dr. Paul Aravich UMB Medical School.
3:00 – 5:00 pm Brain Bee Part 1D UMB Medical School.
5:00 - 6:00 pm Dinner UMB Medical School.
6:00 – 8:00 pm IBB Part II UMB Medical School.
8:00 – 8:30 pm Awards Ceremony UMB Medical School.
8:30 – 9:00 pm Social UMB Medical School.
9:00 pm To be continued in 2007

Part IE of the IBB will be conducted at various times from 9:00 am , Friday to 5:00 pm , Saturday.

The International Brain Bee is directed by neuroscientist, Norbert Myslinski, PhD, of the University of Maryland. It is held in conjunction with Brain Awareness Week, and many others organize brain bees in their locales with hopes of sending "one of their own" to the IBB championship. Most local coordinators are neuroscientists at universities who are interested in outreach to the community. Some are educators or administrators. Some are from museums or industry, such as pharmaceutical companies. For the coordinator nearest you, see "Local Brain Bees." Most local brain bees are conducted during the winter.

Information on Local Brain Bee Competitions

The minimum personnel commitment is one neuroscientist who would contact the high schools, schedule a place and time, buy some doughnuts, and conduct the brain bee. Other personnel that may be included are an administrator, a judge, a host, and helpers. A local coordinator should expect to spend a minimum of 20 hours on this project, less if he/she has help.

Cost of Organizing a Brain Bee
Coordinators may want to create flyers to be put up at the high schools, a program for the Bee, and certificates for the winners. The Bee can include as much food and as many prizes as you would like. If you intend to send the winner to the championship, then travel, food, and lodging must be provided. Most local winners compete in the IBB championship. The IBB championship and related activities will last two days. Some meals are provided at the IBB championship.

All high school students from grades 9 to 12 are eligible to compete in one of the local brain bees. The winners of the local brain bees are invited to the IBB championship in March. Previous competitors in the IBB championship are not eligible to compete again.

For registration contact the coordinator nearest you, see “Local Brain Bees.”

Questions for Local Brain Bees
All questions for the local brain bees must come from Brain Facts. Coordinators may create their own, or use the official set provided by the Director, Norbert Myslinski. This set of questions and answers, based on information found in Brain Facts, is provided by the IBB Director to official local coordinators only. For a copy, please contact Norbert Myslinski, PhD, Department of OCBS, School of Dentistry, University of Maryland, 666 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201.

There are 466 questions with one-word, or one-phrase answers. They are organized into sections corresponding to the chapters of the book. Each section is then divided into easy, moderate, and difficult questions. For detailed instructions on how to use the official set of questions and answers, you may request more information from Norbert Myslinski.

Sample Questions
Here are some of the 800 questions that were used in the competition:

Approximately how many neurons does the brain contain?
100 billion
Name the device that measures brain waves.
Stargazer mice are experimental models for which type of epilepsy?
Petit mal epilepsy
Prozac relieves symptoms of depression by affecting what neurotransmitter?
The Greek word for the branches of a tree gives us the name of what part of a neuron?
Name the surgical procedure that destroys part of the basal ganglia and helps Parkinson's patients?
The biological clock is located in what part of the brain?
Name a brain disorder named after a famous baseball player.
Lou Gehrig's disease
What is the most common type of inherited mental retardation?
Fragile X mental retardation
Name the peptide that accumulates in the senile plaques of brains of Alzheimer's patients?
Beta Amyloid
Which chromosome is altered to cause Huntington's disease?
Chromosome four
What is the leading preventable cause of mental retardation?
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
The abbreviation, PET, stands for what brain imaging technique?
Positron emission tomography
What kind of molecules are netrins and semaphorins?
Guidance molecules
Name a cognitive disorder associated with chronic alcoholism?
Korsakoff's Syndrome
For more information on how to get involved, please contact Norbert R. Myslinski, University of Maryland School of Dentistry, 666 W. Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD 21201-1586, phone: (410)706-7258, e-mail: nrm001@dental.umaryland.edu.
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