Saturday, February 25, 2012

Speaking engagement

I've agreed to a 45-minute presentation on medicine for my ten-year-old's science class this week.
What to do? I've considered percussing out a liver, telling the story of Alexander Fleming's serendipitous discovery of penicillin, suturing a banana, showing x-ray films of kids who've swallowed various inedible objects, warning against bezoars - let's face it, medicine's ridiculously interesting.

But what would prove most spell-binding to 28 grade-five kids? My daughter's certain I'm going to be awesome, and I can't disappoint her.

Please advise.

11 comments:

  1. I dissected cow's eyeballs for that age group once. Borrowed forceps from the morgue. It was a big hit. You can find, amazingly, cow eyeballs for pretty cheap online and youtube videos aid in the instruction of dissection. They were enthralled, and the hour passed very quickly. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

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  2. fifth-grade... any sort of dissection, or your idea, the swallowed goods on x-rays. Or both.

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  3. I got a brain from the hospital's pathology department and took it to my son's class once. We cut it down the center and talked about where the different functions are located. I brought a big box of gloves, so the kids each got to come up and touch the brain. That was 5 years ago, and I am still the coolest mom in the grade! :-)

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  4. You can also get pig or cow hearts from a butcher to dissect.

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  5. If you can borrow some extra medical equipment let them listen with stethoscopes, play with reflex hammers, etc!

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  6. Stethoscopes. I bring as many as I can and let them listen to their hearts. First, I talk to them briefly about what I do and take questions. Make sure when you take questions to attend to gender balance - most of the time I have to gently squash the boys and encourage the girls to speak up.

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  7. I first became interested in medicine in high school when I saw ultrasound pictures showing fetal development, so I think imaging is a great way to go especially if you can get bones and foreign objects that are easily recognized by children. I think giving kids an idea of how much information you can figure out with a simple physical exam would be cool too. I really like the idea of percussing organs.

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  8. Thanks so much for your suggestions, especially the one about getting a cow heart from the butcher. I've done just that. Presentation is on Wednesday. I'll let you know how it goes.

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  9. The cow heart is a great idea! I did that once with 6th graders. Bring some gloves so they can touch it if they want. And wear scrubs!! The "costume" aspect of different careers makes an impression.

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  10. How about rare diseases for World rare disease day - Febr 9th?
    Erica
    www.rarelydefined.blogspot.com

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  11. Could bring visual body on an iPad. But that's no match for the cow heart idea. Wow. Enjoy! I'm sure you'll be inspiring and your daughter will be proud. Bring gloves.

    Also, maybe they can all get influenza vaccines...

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