About 800 elementary school children will visit Marshall University’s Memorial Student Center on Thursday, April 4, to learn about the brain and nervous system through activities and games.

This is the 11th annual Brain Expo to be held at Marshall. This year’s event features 26 interactive stations where children explore various parts of their nervous system. They also learn how the brain controls their body and why healthy lifestyle choices lead to better brain health. Activities at the stations include touching a real brain, playing a memory game, coloring their own “brain hat,” examining drug effects and building brain cell-shaped key chains.

Overseeing activities will be nearly 200 Marshall students and faculty from the College of Science, departments of psychology and communications disorders, the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and the School of Nursing. Community partners will participate as well, including St. Mary’s Medical Center representatives, who will present a station about brain and spinal cord safety. Representatives from Cabell-Huntington neuroscience, neurophysiology and stroke departments will each host stations as well.

The event is part of Brain Awareness Week, an annual global effort founded in 1996 by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives. Marshall’s Brain Expo was founded by Dr. Nadja Spitzer and Dr. Brian Antonsen, both of whom are neuroscientists and faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences.

“Events like the Brain Expo are an excellent way of increasing public awareness of brain research at Marshall and in gaining the interest of students who may choose a career path in science, technology, engineering or mathematics,” Spitzer said. “Through the many fun, hands-on activities, attendees get to better understand the brain. University student volunteers learn valuable skills in science communication. Our goal for the Brain Expo is to interest children in science and research at a young age though games and activities that demonstrate the relevance of neuroscience in everyday life.”

Registration for this year’s event is full, but anyone interested in next year’s program can e-mail brainawareness@marshall.edu. For more information about the Brain Expo and Marshall’s Brain Awareness Program, visit www.marshall.edu/baw.

The Brain Expo is supported by the National Science Foundation, Marshall’s College of Science and the Department of Biological Sciences.

Originally from Jean Hardiman for Marshall University Communications.