By dissecting a cockroach ... yes, live on stage ... TED Fellow and neuroscientist Greg Gage shows how brains receive and deliver electric impulses -- and how legs can respond. (Launching a series on Awesome Nature) "The Cockroach Beatbox" was animated by the TED-Ed Animation Team (Jeremiah Dickey, Biljana Labovic, Celeste Lai, Kari Mulholland and Franz Palomares)
Build or buy a SpikerBox and try out some of the experiments at Gage’s Backyard Brains web site: http://wiki.backyardbrains.com/index.php?title=Backyard_Brains_Wiki
In a 2011 interview in EdWeek, Greg Gage talks about why it’s so important for the general public to understand basic brain anatomy and function. Reflecting on traditional science text books, he says, "They do talk about cellular communications, but don't really call out anything about neurons, which is really funny, because one in five of us is going to die of a neurodegenerative disease." (http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2011/11/students_conduct_research_in_b.html).
Learn more about what some researchers are calling “the coming neurological epidemic” by watching Gregory Petsko’s TED talk at http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/gregory_petsko_on_the_coming_neurological_epidemic.html.
Invite a local physician (if possible, a neurologist) or neuroscience researcher to lead a discussion of Petsko’s talk and share his or her own experiences.
Backyard Brains http://www.backyardbrains.com/Home.aspx
Children’s Hospital Boston: The Neuron http://www.childrenshospital.org/research/_neuron/index.html
HHMI: Building Brains: The Molecular Logic of Neural Circuits http://media.hhmi.org/hl/08Lect2.html
Society for Neuroscience: NERVE Neuroscience Education Resources http://www.ndgo.net/sfn/nerve/