Fall 2010 • Issue 21

 

NIAAA Scores at the USA Science &
Engineering Expo

On October 23 and 24, 2010, NIAAA took part in the first USA Science & Engineering Expo in Washington, DC. With an estimated 500,000 visitors, the free, 2-day event featured famous scientists, demonstrations, and lots of hands-on activities. It included exhibitions from both the public and private sectors—the NIH, NASA, the Department of Energy, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, PBS Kids, among others.

Targeting adolescents ages 8–18, NIAAA presented the “Cool Spot Carnival” to show the negative effects that alcohol can have on the brain. The material presented was based on the NIAAA Web site for kids, www.thecoolspot.gov.

Youngsters visiting the NIAAA booth had the opportunity to try their hand scoring in a football-toss game while wearing “fatal vision goggles” to simulate being under the influence of alcohol. While the kids enjoyed throwing at (and usually missing) the target, NIAAA booth staff drove home the message that even though this is a fun activity, it shows the extent to which alcohol can impact the way we see things and our ability to do even a simple task such as throwing a football.

The Cool Spot Carnival was a huge success, with thousands of youngsters and their families visiting the NIAAA exhibit. Other Carnival activities included flip-board games that gave kids a chance to "pick your no's"—demonstrating the best way to say “no” to alcohol—and dispel the myth that “everybody is drinking.”

2 photos of children reading the flip board games

Young visitors to the Cool Spot Carnival booth check out the flip-board games while waiting for their chance to try the “fatal vision goggles.”