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Educating kids about the brain through creative writing has been the goal of the annual Neuroscience for Kids Poetry Contest for 20 years. Sponsored by the Center for Neurotechnology at the University of Washington, some teachers throughout the world use the contest as a classroom exercise. For the 2022 contest, 232 entries were received from 20 different states in the US and five countries—and are divided into five groups by grade level.
“The contest provides people with the opportunity to express their thoughts and knowledge about neuroscience in a creative form,” says neuroscientist Eric Chudler, executive director/education director of the center, a research associate professor in the Department of Bioengineering, and founder of the contest. “Writers must choose their words carefully, so their ideas are conveyed in an imaginative and scientifically accurate way.”
Winners are awarded a certificate and a book about neuroscience. More details of the contest and an entry form are available on Neuroscience for Kids, a site overseen by Chudler. Also, an announcement of the contest is sent out to subscribers of the monthly Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter. Have a look at this year’s winning entries.
—Cerebrum Editor Bill Glovin
Kindergarten to Grade 2
Requirement: Poem can be in any style
Winner: Cullen S., Inverness, IL (Grade 2)
My smart brain
Thinks fast like a train.
The wheels on the train go fast.
When I use my brain, I have a blast.
My brain is good at math,
like a train is good on a path.
Grade 3 to Grade 5
Requirement: Poem must rhyme
Winner: Maya M., Silver Spring, MD (Grade 4)
All aboard the Impulse Train!
We start our journey at a station in the brain,
then zoom expeditiously from nerve cell to cell,
transmitting the brain’s many messages to tell
the human body what to move, say, or do.
From axons to dendrites, we nimbly make our way through!
So, the next time you hear, taste, touch, smell, or see,
know that our electrical signals are moving rapidly.
Our train hurtles forward, and we will not derail,
as we leap over synapses to deliver your impulse mail.
Grade 6 to Grade 8
Requirement: Poem must be in the form of a haiku
Winner: Shreya R., Kowloon, Hong Kong (Grade 8)
Neurons buzzing here and there,
Thoughts bloom in my brain.
Grade 9 to Grade 12
Requirement: Poem must be in the form of a limerick
Winner: Jaiden M., Laguna Hills, CA (Grade 10)
Billions of neurons, countless connections
Sending out signals, in all directions
Rapid impulses conduct
Responsible for our thoughts and actions.
Requirements: Poem must rhyme and explain why it is important to learn about the brain.
Winner: Janna H., Bellevue, WA
To comprehend our stellar planet and civilizations,
Understand our brain’s molecular sonnet and mutations
Bridging the neurosciences and the humanities
Reshapes the vanities to myriad capacities
What is means to be human, What constitutes a good life,
These are the life-long questions that serve you in pursuit of a life.
These poems first appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of our Cerebrum magazine. Click the cover for the full e-magazine.