As kids return to school, whether virtually or inperson, now is a great opportunity to teach them about the human body, the diseases that can affect it, and the medicines and devices to treat these ailments.
Thanks to tech, learning biology and the life sciences these days can be a lot more fun than the plastic skeletons and cutaway heart models of yesterday. Here are some fun ways to teach kids about the body using gadgets that you might already own.
In the Summer 2019 issue, we explained the potential for 3D printing to radically disrupt the medical technology industry by enabling rapid production and modification of all kinds of medical products. But for the rest of us, the relatively low cost of 3D printers, the prolific and active community of 3D printing enthusiasts, and the wide range of applications make a 3D printer a great hobby that is also a fun educational tool.
For example, 3D-printed hands from organizations like e-NABLE. These prosthetic limbs not only look cool, but they can also provide real functionality for those who rely on prosthetics to perform everyday tasks.
As kids print and assemble these articulated and functional hands, they’ll learn about the design of their own hand: how hinge joints connect the fingers to the hand and how pulling on the strings (the “tendons”) cause them to move.
Older kids can learn valuable design and engineering skills by becoming part of the “hacker” movement. By using a professional 3D modeling program such as SolidWorks or free tools like SketchUp and TinkerCad, students can create replacement parts to repair mobility devices like wheelchairs, crutches, and other mobility aids and even design modifications to make them more useful for patients. Their designs can be quickly and inexpensively printed and perhaps even undergo real-world testing on a brave and willing patient!
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