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The New Zealand Brain Bee Challenge (NZBBC) is a competition for high school students in year 11 to learn about the brain and its functions, learn about neuroscience research, find out about careers in neuroscience and to dispel misconceptions about neurological and mental illnesses.
The program was started 2006 to address a number of deficiencies in the public's perception of science in general, and neuroscience in particular.
The NZBBC provides current and accurate information on the latest advances in neuroscience research, its value to the community, and promote careers in science and technology.
The Brain Bee Challenge Rounds
There are 4 rounds to the Australian Brain Bee Challenge;
Round 1 - Online Quiz
Round 1 is held during Brain Awareness Week. The learning content is a series of online modules with content developed by brain science experts from the Australasian Neuroscience Society and implemented in a strong educational framework by education designers and teachers of the Education Perfect team.
Teachers can enrol students for the competition through a dedicated link. Registration for 2021 opening soon!
Students study this material through Education Perfect (Brain Bee lessons can be found here: https://worldseries.educationperfect.com/brainbeecontent.html).
Please note that only the official EP Brain Bee folders will contain the assessment material and folders copied to school content libraries will not get any updated lessons.
They then complete an online in-class quiz to determine their knowledge and understanding of the structure and function of the brain.
The online quiz is hosted on the Education Perfect testing platform. Round 1 will take place for the entire month of March in 2021.
Further information on the structure of Round 1 can be found here.
Round 2 - Regional Finals
Round 2 is the Regional Finals, held in each state/region in Australia and New Zealand. Students who achieve a high score in Round 1 are invited to attend a full day of activities at a university campus/research institution in their capital city. The exact timing of the day of activities will be determined by the Brain Bee Challenge state/island coordinators in the period between June – August.
On that day, as well as participating in two rounds of live questioning to determine who will become the state/region champion, students also have a day filled with activities to educate them about neuroscience and associated research. This may include lab tours, demonstrations, lectures, experiments and the opportunity to speak to researchers. There is also a team competition on the day where schools compete against each other to win prizes for their school.
The learning material for Round 2 of the competition will also be delivered through the Education Perfect Brain Bee Challenge platform. The learning material will consist of the Round 1 content and new Round 2 content in an appropriately-named folder.
Students will also have access to additional study support material through the US Society for Neuroscience's book, Brain Facts (2018 edition) which can be obtained here: https://www.brainfacts.org/the-brain-facts-book. Students are encouraged to use this book to supplement the learning content on the Education Perfect Platform but please note that the assessment material for the Round 2 will be based on the Round 1 and Round 2 learning content on the Education Perfect platform, not the book which is only provided to support that learning content.
Round 3 - National Finals
Round 3 is the National Final where 8 Australian students (one from each state) and 2 New Zealand students (one from each island) compete against each other to become the Australian Brain Bee Challenge Champion, or the New Zealand Brain Bee Challenge Champion. Since 2007 Round 3 has been held annually at the Australian Neuroscience Society (ANS) conference which is held in early December. The finalists and a parent will be flown to the city where the conference and competition are held, with travel and accommodation paid for by the Australasian Neuroscience Society, the NZ Centre for Brain Research, and the ARC Centre for Integrative Brain Function.
In the finals, students compete in 4 challenges, held over 2 days including an anatomy challenge, a written short answer challenge, a patient diagnosis challenge and a live question and answer challenge. Further details are provided to the finalists closer to the time. Students also have the opportunity to attend ANS scientific sessions and meet with scientists, researchers and students involved in neuroscience.
Round 4 - International Finals
Round 4 is the International Brain Bee (IBB). The IBB is held at an international neuroscience/psychology conference and in the past has been held in places such as America and Italy. In 2012 the IBB was in South Africa and was won by the Australian representative, from Brisbane, Teresa Tang. In 2013, the IBB was held in Vienna, Austria and was won by Australian representative, from Brisbane, Jackson Huang. In 2018, the IBB was held in Berlin, Germany and in 2019, the IBB was held in South Korea.
Depending on the nature of the International Brain Bee, the Australian and NZ national champions will be supported to the competition. If the IBB was a face-to-face competition as in the years prior to 2020, then for the IBB, the Australian and NZ national champions and a parent for each of them will be flown to the city where the conference and competition are held, with travel and accommodation paid for by the Australasian Neuroscience Society.