Extracurriculars: Brain Bee

By Erin Kang
January 20, 2021 · 2 minute read

This week, we will be adding another extracurricular to our list, and our focus is on another extracurricular club called Brain Bee. Brain Bee is a neuroscience competition for high school students to spark interest in learning about the brain and inspiring them to pursue careers in science.


Brain Bee was founded by Dr. Norbert Myslinski at the University of Maryland. Brain Bee has now grown to more than 160 chapters in 40 countries over six continents. They have around 30,000 students competing annually, and winners have been recognized by Presidents, ambassadors, and other public officials worldwide.



The Brain Bee, much like the spelling bee, is a progressive competition. You first compete at the local level, which is a competition in your region. If you win at the local level, you advance to the National Brain Bee. For national winners, there is also an International Brain Bee.

If you do not have a Brain Bee competition that already exists at your local level, anyone is eligible to sponsor and run a competition. You must register for your competition so that your winner is eligible for the national and international competitions. Hosting a Brain Bee competition is an excellent example of taking the initiative and showing leadership. There are several methods of going about running a competition, and that is up to you. Below are some general suggestions:

  1. You should decide how to run your event. For example, you could have all the students answering the same questions simultaneously using whiteboards. You could also have students come up to the stage one at a time to answer their problems, or you could have a written exam.
  2. Your next step is to find an appropriate venue for the method of competition you are using.
  3. You should promote your event and register your students. You should reach out to schools and teachers.
  4. You must write and prepare questions. You can call in volunteers to write questions for the competition.

If you are competing at a formal Brain Bee event, most, if not all, questions will come from Brain Facts. Competitions will cover brain anatomy and physiology, intelligence, emotion, movement, consciousness, sleep, neurological disorders, and research techniques.

The link to the resource is below:

Brain Facts

Sample Questions

Q.   This region, a part of the basal ganglia, depletes the neurotransmitter, dopamine when afflicted with Parkinson’s disease.

A.   Substantia nigra

Q. True or False: Myelination begins to decrease and stops all together by age 40.

A. False 

Q. Most drugs used for treating schizophrenia dampen the response of what neurotransmitter?

A. Dopamine 

Q. What are the photoreceptors responsible for picking up fine detail and color?

A. Cones


Why should I join?

Brain Bee is a fantastic competition that cultivates a love for neuroscience through friendly competition. Speaking from personal experience, I learned so much from competing in Brain Bee. At the competition, we were even allowed to hold a real human brain, and that is an experience I’ll never forget. You will learn just as much from the people competing as the actual material you study and the friendships you forge are forever. If you qualify for national and international, you can travel around the world to attend competitions. Last year’s International Brain Bee was in Daegu, South Korea, and you have the opportunity to explore outside of competition. If you win the International Brain Bee, you receive a summer internship and a $3,000 prize. The people you’ll meet and the places you’ll go for Brain Bee competitions are great, but the real journey is the friends you make along the way.

Did you enjoy this article?

About The Author

Erin Kang is a senior at James S. Rickards High School and is a part of the Sciteens team. Her hobbies include baking, listening to music, and playing the violin. If you have any questions or future article recommendations, feel free to contact her at erin@sciteens.org. Sources: https://thebrainbee.org/ https://www.dental.umaryland.edu/brainbee/ https://biolympiads.com/brain-bee-3/

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