Brain-in-a-Box is an exciting educational program, developed in collaboration with the OHSU Brain Institute, that have been providing neuroscience lessons in middle school science classes since 2005. Brain-in-a-Box was started by a neuroscience graduate student and an educator to bring emerging research about the adolescent brain to students. Since its inception, three hundred middle school students have participated in the program annually.

Brain-in-a-Box presentations are developed to incorporate research-based content and ‘brain-friendly’ teaching strategies. Yearly, revisions take place based on student and teacher evaluations. A mechanism has been set up to disseminate the program among the teaching teams. There is also a reliable method by which to recruit scientists to teach this program.

The goal of Brain-in-a-Box is to change knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors associated with brain health as a result of program participation. Students have the opportunity to learn:
  • How each brain is similar in commonalities but also different due to genes and environment
  • About plasticity and that learning requires new/modified connections between neurons
  • About the adolescent brain and its maturation and how this relates to development and susceptibility to substance abuse
  • How the adolescent brain has unique potential for learning new skills
  • About our sense of identity and how it is contained within the brain, and how self-empowerment is important, and how brain damage can alter personality