STEM: A Competition about Brain Science

Approximately how many photoreceptors does a human eye have? Which part of the brain produces memories of facts and is shaped like a seahorse?, Which process boosts the brain’s efficiency by increasing the speed in which a signal travels?

Students had to answer similar questions during the Second Annual GISW Brain Bee Challenge on Tuesday, January 8th. The winners will attend the Regional Brain Bee Competition in Washington DC in February.

Have you heard of the “Brain Bee”?       

No, it’s nothing dangerous, but something very challenging and infectious going on at the GISW.

On Tuesday just after Christmas Break 8 brave competitors met in the science building for the GISW’s Second Annual Brain Bee Challenge.

Still don’t know what that is?

The International Brain Bee was launched in 1999 and is a world-wide neuroscience competition for high school students. The Brain Bee motivates students to learn about the brain, it captures their imaginations and inspires them to pursue careers in neuroscience helping to find cures for neurological and psychological disorders.                      

There are currently approximately 175 local chapter Brain Bee coordinators in more than 50 countries across 6 continents who conduct competitions annually. The winner of each local competition is invited to attend their respective regional Brain Bee competition, and the winner of each regional Brain Bee is invited to compete in the International Brain Bee World Championship. The Championship takes place in a different country each year and this year will be held in Daegu, South Korea, in conjunction with the 10th IBRO World Congress of Neuroscience in September 2019. (     

Brain Bees test one's knowledge of the human brain and include such topics as intelligence, emotions, memory, sleep, vision, hearing, sensations, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, addictions and brain research. The local competitions use a question-and-answer format, based on material from the Brain Facts book available at no cost online. The championship competitions may also involve a neuroanatomy laboratory session with human brain tissue, as well as neuro-histology with microscopes, brain imaging identification and patient diagnosis with patient actors.

So, who are the GISW’s top Brain Bee competitors?

The final question in our school competition was: what is the term used to describe the ability of the human brain to remodel and constantly change itself? For the answer, ask one of these competitors:


First Place Winner:  Zoe McC., 9th grade

Second Place:  Bianca B.,9th grade                  

Third Place:  Cilian F.,  9th grade                  

Zoe and Bianca won a tutoring day with a group of neuroscientists from Howard University and will represent our school at the D.C. Brain Bee in February.

Congratulations to them and Good Luck!

Do you want to know more?

Our GISW Brain Bee group (9th – 12th grade) meets every Tuesday from 3:15 – 4:45pm in the multipurpose room of the science building with Ms. Colopy.           

Steffi Colopy      


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