Vital Signs – Prosthetics
Prosthetics are fake body parts that replace broken or missing ones in humans or animals. They can be made out of different materials and have different types of technology to move or to sense. One of the most complex parts of a prosthesis is the joint—how can it be engineered at the right place and to bend the right way to help someone in daily life? Our bioengineers created their own prosthetic fingers using the ratio of one of their own fingers to scale it to size. But fingers have no muscles—they are powered with tendons connected to arm and wrist muscles. The joints work with tendons to bend the finger. The campers had to create two separate “tendons” in order for the fingers to be able to move.
Ask your camper: Which two tendons allow our fingers to move, and what movement is each tendon in charge of? Flexor, curls fingers. Extensor, straightens fingers
Vital Signs – Titrations
Antacids are often used to treat heartburn. When acidic stomach content comes back up the esophagus heartburn patients experience a burning sensation behind the breastbone. Our biochemist campers used titrations to find the appropriate amount of base to neutralize the acid. Their job was to change the pH from 1 to 7 (neutral), by adding the base. At the end of the activity, campers took the calculated amount of base (antacid), put it into a capsule that allows for diffusion, and set it into the acid (represents heartburn). On Friday they will check the results to see if the acid was neutralized!
Ask your camper: If we start with 10mL of the acid, hydrochloric acid, how many mL of the base, sodium hydroxide, so we need to add to reach a pH of 7? The same amount – 10mL! The acid and base are the same concentration, and at opposite ends of the pH scale.
Vital Signs – Breaks/Sprains/Strains
Common summertime injuries that can happen to kids while they’re playing outside on play sets, running up hills, falling off bikes… Today our doctors dove into the study of orthopedics and learned how to identify and treat various types of fractures as well as muscular strains and sprains. Students got to practice wrapping each other’s ankles and/or wrists in a comfortable and supportive manner such that it effectively immobilized the limb to allow it the chance to recover. They then had to learn how to identify and model different types of fractures that can occur in the bone, including transverse, butterfly and spiral breaks.
Ask your camper: What is the difference between a sprain and a strain? (A sprain is when a ligament has been badly damaged or torn and a strain is when a tendon or muscle has been damaged or torn.)
Vital Signs – Sheep Heart Dissection
What organ comes to mind when you hear the phrase “vital signs”? A most likely candidate is the heart! There are only a few differences between sheep hearts and human hearts (size and relative location of major vessels) so studying the sheep heart helps our budding cardiologists learn more about the human heart! Campers explored heart anatomy by dissecting a sheep heart and used the heart to identify the circulation of blood throughout the body/to and from the heart.
Ask your camper: Which chamber of the heart receives deoxygenated blood from the body? (right atrium)
Vital Signs – New Glasses
During the first day of bioengineering activities, our campers created glasses! They first made observations on the differences between convex and concave lenses, and how each helped with seeing close or far distances. Glasses can have one or both types of lenses depending on the sight issue of the person, such as near-sightedness and far-sightedness. To test how the lenses acted together, the campers experimented with different magnifications and lens types to try and see down to the smallest line of an official eye chart.
Ask your camper: What is the difference in shape between a convex and concave lens, and which lens combination worked best to see the smallest line of the eye chart? A convex lens bulges out, while a concave lens curve in, like a cave. One of each lens created the most ideal combination.
Is there a doctor in the house? This program provides budding medical students a general understanding of human anatomy through hands-on explorations of the heart, blood, skin, bones and muscles! Participants will perform a (sheep) hearts dissection, practice suturing, explore the physics of blood flow, and much more. They will also engage in a fun and challenging bioengineering project that will allow them to apply engineering principles and practices to the structure and function of the human body.