Science, crime solving, and fun: Betabrain 2014

Science, crime solving, and fun: Betabrain 2014

Science loving students from all around the district met at Normal West last Saturday to participate in Betabrain, an interactive scientific learning experience offered by volunteers to get students excited in educational subjects like biology, technology, engineering, mathematics.  This year’s Betabrain theme, Crime Scene Investigation, included puzzles and challenges that groups solved using observation, critical thinking, and logical reasoning. Students from sixth to twelfth grade competed to gather and analyze evidence and determine the identity of a thief.

With activities like dusting for fingerprints, examining evidence, investigating video surveillance, and even analyzing blood, it was no wonder that students immersed in the program had an exciting, fulfilling experience.  “It was really well done,” commented Tori Petrillo, [11] who attends Normal Community High School.  “I wasn’t expecting to have this much fun or do so many different things.”  Jessica Sigler [11], a student from West, added, “It was certainly an interesting experience. I learned a lot.”

The atmosphere of the event was carefree and fun, with many groups showing off their detective skills with elaborate costumes and team names. Though separated in different groups, many students took the initiative to compare theories, evidence, and analyses with other groups, collaborating to be sure their answers were correct.  With a blend of all ages, many older students helping younger ones out, collaborative cooperation and teamwork really stood out.

According to its website, Betabrain was developed to inspire students to think critically and build teamwork skills with interactive science. The program hopes to improve the students’ understanding of scientific studies and encourage them to consider future careers in science and engineering.  The program aspires to not only entertain eager students, but also to teach them how science applies to the real world around them.


But for those students who weren’t able to experience Betabrain this year, never fear. Though there will be no crime to solve, next year’s theme will prove to be equally or even more exciting. It was revealed at the very end of the event that, next year, students should be prepared, because in 2015 Betabrain’s theme will be surviving the zombie apocalypse!