Friday, 5 November 2010

The Brain Game

‘The Brain Game’ is an idea that started with the prize money for I’m a Scientist Get Me Out of Here! It has made an appearance in many schools, on the schools programme for the Times Cheltenham Science Festival, at the Cardiff Science Festival, and at the Science Museum in London (among many other places).

The principle idea of `The Brain Game’ is to develop a series of physical activities, involving volunteers from the audience, that illustrate the workings of neurons and synapses. I have described this as ‘part lecture and part party game’ and the people, young and old, I have tried it with have really enjoyed it. Using physical analogies which are acted out helps to engage the audience with the underlying principles.

This stand-alone presentation is suitable for public events of all sorts, and is easy to tour with as it requires only a presenter, a few slides, and some simple props.  The aim is to get past all of the confusion that surrounds what people think they know about how the brain works and down to the nitty-gritty of neurons.

It is not afraid to expose the fact that in most respects we don’t know how the brain works. That is the essence of the real brain game, the exciting game of neuroscience. Many of the big questions are yet to be answered.

The brain game gets people off their chairs to pass messages around the audience in a way that shows how brain cells pass messages, it recruits audience members to play the part of axons and synapses on stage, and it makes sense of words like “axon” and “synapse”!

It shines a spotlight on the mystery inside our heads and reveals that in some ways it is very simple, and in others it is the most puzzling thing of all. And it is a very good game.

Contact me if you want to know more.