Vital Signs Chicago – Enzymes

Vital Signs Chicago – Enzymes

Today, students learned the effects of how hydrogen peroxide is metabolized by the catalase enzyme. Before getting started, we found that they each had a general idea of what enzymes did in a chemical reaction, so we took it a step further and explored their effects on the function of the human body.

Throughout the experiment, they were able to see the effect of pH and on enzymes and what kinds of reactions can be made from simply changing the pH of a system.  “It makes sense how your body’s pH being too high or too low could make you sick,” said one student. They’ve already begun making connections and applying their new knowledge to their own lives!


Vital Signs Chicago – BP & HR

Vital Signs Chicago – BP & HR

What do your blood pressure and heart rate really mean? Many students weren’t quite sure, but today, they got the chance to dig a little deeper. However, they did not spend the entire day learning about their blood pressure and heart rates; instead, they got the chance to measure, record, and analyze their own! The students learned the use of the sphygmomanometer and stethoscope then tested the effect of different stimuli on their own blood pressure.

Now that they have a better understanding of the systems within their own bodies, our new-generation of medical professionals are ready to begin learning how they can improve the lives of the world around them!

Here are some pictures from throughout the day.

Vital Signs Aurora: Banana Sutures

Today, our junior medical practitioners performed their first procedure! Students practiced sutures (or “stitches”) the same way that real doctors practice: on banana peels. They primarily investigated the layered nature of the skin, and how it relates to its main function: protection. Some students were surprised to learn that our skin is actually the largest organ in our bodies!

Our fledgling scientists will continue to use their rapidly developing medical skills in the days to come!

Ask your student:

What are the names of the three layers of the skin? (epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis)

What layer of the skin is the thickest? (hypodermis – 26 mm)

Vital Signs Aurora: Sheep Heart Dissection

Vital Signs Aurora: Sheep Heart Dissection

Day 2 is over, and our daring dissectors have had an in-depth look at the workings of every mammal’s most important organ: the heart! During their exploration, students continued to recognize the relationship between structure and function that is present everywhere in biological structures. One student commented, “Every piece of the organ has a specific job, and everything is efficient!”

The scientists-in-training will continue to explore this connection between structure and function as the week goes on!

Ask your student:

What are the jobs of the atria and ventricles of the heart? (Atria take blood from body back into the heart; ventricles pump blood to lungs and then back to the body.)

What is the difference between a vein and an artery? (arteries carry blood away from the heart; veins carry blood to the heart)


Vital Signs Aurora: Chicken Wing Thing

Vital Signs Aurora: Chicken Wing Thing

On the first day of a jam-packed week, students delved into anatomy by learning the basics of dissection! Our budding scientists explored the structures of a chicken wing, discovering characteristics that are shared with the human arm. As they examined deeper levels of complexity during their dissection, they observed the interactions between systems and structures that allow the wing to function.

Students also learned how to preserve the bones of the chicken wing in order to use them in one of Friday’s lessons!

Ask your student:

What is the difference between the flexor and extensor muscles? (They work together to move the arm/wing, flexor curls the limb, extensor extends it)

What are the two bones of the lower arm/wing? (radius and ulna)



Vital Signs: Is there a Doctor in the House?

Vital Signs: Is there a Doctor in the House?

This program will give budding medical students a general understanding of human anatomy through hands-on explorations of the heart, blood, bones and muscles! Participants 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.