Students at Dempsey Middle School in Nicki Wright’s class had an unusual task Thursday morning — examining X-rays.
Wright said her class is made up of about 30 seventh and eighth graders currently enrolled in Cleveland Clinic’s Adventures in Health Science and Medicine, which gives students interested in pursuing careers in medicine a broad overview of how a variety of medical practices work.
On Thursday, students performed an experiment where they combined corn syrup, dish soap and vegetable oil into a clear cup. They then used a small light to see how different density liquids allow different amounts of light to pass through.
The project was guided via video-conferencing with doctors and instructors from Cleveland Clinic, who explained that X-rays work essentially the same way since different parts of the body allow the rays to pass through more clearly than others.
The doctors then showed students some X-rays from patients and showed them how you can see organs, bones and other matter inside the body. The students then learned what normal and abnormal lungs look like before the instructors showed students X-rays of lungs, asked them to diagnose what was wrong with them, and then explained and identified the issues.
This was the second week of a six-week program, Wright said, adding the 30 students applied because they are interested in studying medicine.
Wright added that throughout the course, students are given clues to help diagnose a patient named “TJ,” and by end of the course, they will have to hypothesize about TJ’s condition. Wright said they will then face an “innovative challenge” and will have to design an invention to help TJ. The other schools will then grade their inventions.
Students in the class said they’ve enjoyed the lessons so far.
“I really like the interactive part and how you can go up and answer the questions they are asking and make comments,” said Clara Bruestle, a seventh grader. “I like trying to figure out what’s wrong with TJ.”
Eighth grader Riley Davenport said she’s enjoyed getting a different type of lesson about anatomy.
“I like how we can interact and have learned to tell different parts of the body,” she said. “We can learn more things with this.”
Davenport added she’s very driven to study medicine and is excited the program still has several weeks to go.
“I want to learn more things,” she said. “I’m a diabetic, so I can interact with it more. That’s the reason I wanted to go into this program, to help other people.”
Wright said Dempsey is one of 30 schools participating in the program, which she added has been very beneficial to students.
“I love that they get to speak to experts,” Wright said. “That engagement of doing a webinar is amazing. This class is very engaged, and last week they were coming up and speaking on camera. They are hearing from the experts in the field and seeing something they might want to do.”
Wright, who is technically a Delaware Area Career Center instructor who teaches several career-based classes at Dempsey, said she wants the students in the program to understand how the DACC can help them prepare for a variety of fields within medicine.
“It’s so important to hit that career exploration component early in their education so they can start to figure out where to go,” Wright said. “The medical field is so broad, and I feel that kids in middle school are just limiting themselves to doctor or nurse. There’s so much more out there that I want them to be able to explore.”
Wright added she is thankful to Cleveland Clinic for putting on the free program, and in the future, she’d love to introduce more interactive classes at Dempsey.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.