Spring Saturday SAVY, Week 1, Biomedical Engineering (1st-2nd)
Our first Saturday session of Biomedical Engineering was a great success! We started the morning with community building. Students got to know each other with a 3-2-1 activity where they shared 3 things they loved, 2 things they were good at, and 1 thing they wanted to learn during our time together. They also brainstormed and agreed upon ideas for how we could ensure we are safe, responsible, respectful, and kind throughout our biomedical engineering adventures.
Following our welcome activities, we began exploring the meaning of technology and the role of engineers. Through our “Technology in a Bag” activity, students identified everyday objects as technology and discovered that technology is almost anything created to solve a problem or fulfill a need. We discussed the many roles of engineers and learned that engineers are people who design objects, systems, or processes to solve problems using their creativity and knowledge of math and science.
The basis for our introduction to biomedical engineering was an engaging problem-based story entitled, Erik’s Unexpected Twist. In the story, Erik (whose mother is a biomedical engineer) is on a camping trip when a fellow camper falls and twists his knee. Erik comes to the rescue by using the engineering design process (ask, imagine, create, plan, create, improve) to design a knee brace, so his friend could make it out of the woods safely. The discussion and activities related to the story assisted with building vocabulary, gaining knowledge about the roles of biomedical engineers, recognizing and identifying steps of the engineering design process, and learning the parts and functions of the musculoskeletal system.
After building background knowledge through the problem-based story activities, students were presented with an engineering design challenge. The challenge was to design a model of a knee brace that limits the mobility of the knee joint to the greatest extent possible. Students were constrained by the materials provided and the limited time allowed to plan, create, and improve upon their ideas for creating the knee brace. We explored and described the properties of the materials provided and used knowledge of those properties to design their braces. Several of the students had ingenious ideas to stabilize the knee of their model and worked hard to persevere through this challenge. This activity provided practice going through the engineering design process. Check out the pictures below of some of the models students created. Students were excited to take their poseable wooden mannequins home, so they can continue developing ideas for their knee brace models. Encourage your children to continue developing ideas, planning designs, and creating models using the engineering design process!
Next week will be another exciting learning adventure! Students will take on the role of biomedical engineers hired by a fictional athletic shoe company. The students will examine their own feet and their classmates’ feet to notice the range of foot shapes, sizes, and arch heights. They will collect and analyze data using the “Wet Footprint Test”. In this activity, students who are comfortable doing so will take off a sock and shoe from one foot. The bottom of their foot will be sprayed with water, and they will step on a piece of paper to make a footprint. The class will examine the prints to make recommendations to the fictional shoe company regarding how many running shoe models need to be made so that all runners can find shoes that support their arches. We look forward to seeing our young scholars again soon!
~ Ms. Davidson (Instructor) & Ms. Liz (Classroom Assistant)