St. Louis Area Brain Bee Takes Teens Inside the Human Mind

The teen brain is an amazing thing – especially when it’s hard at work learning about itself.

Through the St. Louis Area Brain Bee (SLABB) on Feb. 17, Washington University and the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) are giving future researchers, physicians, and scientists the chance to get up close and personal with the human brain and discover what truly makes us tick – all while they compete for great prizes.

“Neuroscience is not a topic that’s considered a standard of learning in high school,” said Erik Herzog, professor of biology at Washington University. “The idea of the Brain Bee is to encourage students to learn how their brains work on a personal level – why they feel the way they do, how it helps them perform in the classroom or on the sports field, and even what it means to fall in love.”

In addition to educating participants about the brain, SLABB is helping them set the foundation for a possible career in neuroscience by introducing them to possible mentors, engaging them in hands-on activities, and in the case of one lucky winner, giving them the chance to learn more about brain science on a national level!

Seven years of educating and empowering

Since launching in 2011, SLABB has grown in scope and participation. Last year, 55 students from 44 local area high schools took the leap to study, examine, and explore the wonders of the human mind.

All questions for the SLABB competition come from SfN’s Brain Facts, a 70-page journey through the brain. As they read, teens not only examine the “mechanics” of the brain, such as how neurons talk to other neurons, but explore topics that are relevant to them, including learning and memory, sleep, and stress. Undergraduate students from Washington University’s Synapse, a large and active group with interests in neurobiology, will also offer free tutorial sessions for competitors Jan. 27, and Feb. 3 and 10 at the St. Louis Science Center.

Competition day at Washington University includes a written quiz in the morning. The top 10 winners then go on to compete in an oral competition that afternoon. Students vie for a variety of prizes and trophies, and the winner of SLABB receives an all-expenses-paid trip to the national Brain Bee competition in Maryland this March and a summer research fellowship at Washington University!

The day also includes fun and educational opportunities for competitors and spectators, including a neuroscience panel discussion featuring Dr. Deanna Barch, Professor and Chair of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Washington University, and Dr. Joshua Rubin, Professor of Pediatrics and Co-director of the Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Center. Participants can get their hands on a human brain and a SpikerBox, which allows them to hear and see the activity of neurons in insects, and enjoy an eye-opening interaction with electric fish.

It’s this combination of traditional learning, mentoring, and interactive activities that allow SLABB to truly resonate with its participants.

Said Herzog, “We want to get students in St. Louis excited about science. We recognize science education is something the U.S. needs to work on, so we’re motivated to show kids just how fun learning can be. It’s our goal to create a community for them and make experts like myself available to get them involved in research as high school students and connect them to opportunities today and in the years to come. Last year, over 50 students competed. We hope even more will come, have fun, and compete this year.” The St. Louis Area Brain Bee will be held on Saturday, Feb. 17 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Rebstock Hall, Room 215 on the Washington University Danforth Campus. Teens can register for the event and find more information at biology4.wustl.edu/SLABB.

 

Share This Story

Metro East mom Nicole Plegge is the lifestyle and pop culture blogger for STL Parent. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL 

Our Daily Things to Do email is the easiest way to plan your day.
Follow Us
   
Want daily ideas of things to do? How about special offers & giveaways? Sign up and we’ll handle the rest.
Things to Do

Kids Open Play at Ultimate Ninjas
Friday, August 23, 2019
Saturday, August 24, 2019
Sunday, August 25, 2019

Kids and teens ages 6-15 can practice and explore a variety of obstacles, fine tune their skills on a single obstacle, or practice running the customizable courses at Ultimate Ninjas Open Play. Registration is recommended. 

View this event »
You Might Also Like...

From Our Sponsors
Popular Stories

August is Sizzling with Summer Fun! Here are our Top Picks for a Month Full of Adventure

The month of August is devoted to the most adventurous of kiddos! Your kids can journey around the world without leaving St. Louis, connect with the creepiest of creatures, and jump on their bikes for one of the biggest cycling events in the region. Best of all, you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy all the fun.

Continue reading »
Play Street Museum Brings Kid-Sized Fun to The Streets of St. Charles

With its shops and restaurants, The Streets of St. Charles has become the go-to for grown-ups in the region. But now kids have a place here to call their own at Play Street Museum.

Continue reading »
Surviving the Elementary School Years: Parenting Tips for Ages 6 to 10

You survived potty training and the terrible twos; you've reclaimed your bed, and your child is now somewhat self-sufficient. Life ought to be smooth sailing from here on, right? Perhaps. 

Continue reading »
Accumulating Children: A Beginner's Guide

The key to successfully going from one, to two, to three kids is really just learning how to determine whose immediate need is more life-threatening. Plus, you stop judging parents who put their kids on leashes.

Continue reading »
Got Those Back to School Blues? Neither Do We.

The week before school started I came across a meme that said, “You only get eighteen summers with your kids – make them count!” My first thought after reading it was, “Eighteen? The house will never make it.”

Continue reading »
Follow Us