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Seventh Graders Explore STEM

Out-of-Door seventh graders spent a full day immersed in hands-on STEM experiments just days before heading off for Spring Break. The students participated in a variety of experiments designed by both ODA faculty and visiting experts to simulate real-life science and medical scenarios.
Students in Mrs. Sassetti’s classes performed biopsies on faux tumors, and used pill bugs to study animal behavior as related to outside stimuli including heat, light, and moisture. Dr. Barrett’s classes looked at x-rays to determine what types of foreign objects their canine patients swallowed, and assembled a system of circuits used to perform an experiment showing how delicate and precise lasers can be used in internal surgeries. Students in  Mrs. Walters’ class, with the assistance of guest physiologist and speaker Mr. Ronald Sassetti, dissected pig hearts and learned about the similarities to human hearts and how pig valves can be used to replace damaged valves in humans.

In the Black Box Theater, prosthetist Michael Weiss and patient advocate Ty Wilson from Orthotic and Prosthetic Centers spoke with students about the work they do helping amputee patients regain their independence through the use of custom-designed prosthetic limbs. They worked with small groups to show several ways they make casts of a patient’s limb, including a traditional quick-setting plaster cast and using a hi-tech imaging method. Students were also able to work in teams to study and re-assemble a high-tech prosthetic leg brought to show the intricacies of modern limb replacements.

In the afternoon, Mr. Sassetti discussed the evolution of 3-D medical imaging and printing with the students, as well as the value of continued learning, questioning, and the desire to build your own knowledge. Mr. Sassetti spoke of his personal experience working in the medical imaging industry from it’s fledgling days, and talked about the future applications the technology is likely to influence.

After a full day of hands-on experiments, the students now have a new appreciation of the way math and science work together, and an arsenal of new skills they will  be able to use for future science projects and experiments. Many thanks to the wonderful industry guests who provided in-depth views of their professions and gave them and inside look at how they use STEM-related subjects daily.
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