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NIH Record

NINDS, Baylor College of Medicine Hook Up on 'BrainLink'

For 2 years NINDS has participated in BrainLink, a collaborative program created to bring the excitement of brain and nervous system science into classrooms, homes and communities nationwide.

Funded by NIH, BrainLink is designed to teach elementary and early middle school students about the brain and nervous system, while promoting safe and healthy behaviors, advancing awareness of science and health careers, and allowing teachers, students and families to explore science concepts using hands-on, discovery-oriented approaches.

The program was developed by researchers, clinicians, and educators at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, in partnership with the Harris County (Tex.) Medical Society and the Houston Independent School District.

BrainLink consists of four teaching units, each focusing on a central neuroscience topic. The topics are Brain Comparisons, Motor Highways, Sensory Signals, and Learning and Memory. Within each unit, the main topic is developed and maintained throughout three interrelated components including Adventures in Neuroscience, a series of stories about a group of children called the NeuroExplorers; Explorations in Neuroscience, a mini-magazine filled with information, health and safety tips, and fun activities that encourage children and their families to do neuroscience projects together; and Activities in Neuroscience, a teacher's guide that provides lessons for the classroom and background information for educators. Activities include making "brain dough" to create a model brain and using water balloons to learn about the size and the delicate nature of the brain.

In 1995 and 1996 NINDS sent BrainLink kits to the winners of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching at the elementary level. The award is the nation's highest honor for math and science teachers in grades kindergarten through 12. NINDS also sent kits to 85 teachers in the Atlanta, Ga., Public School System as part of the Elementary Science Education Partnership Program, a program designed to aid elementary school teachers in science and mathematics instruction. For more information on BrainLink, contact Judy Dresden, Baylor College of Medicine, (713) 798-8205.

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