I got an invitation I could not refuse last week! The invite involved a room full of 12 & 13 year old students and disease. Two of my favorite subjects!
Mr. Schluntz and Mrs. Schaner (7th grade science teachers) recently invited me to their classes to talk about disease. When teachers ask if I will come talk with a class, I don't often think "What am I going to tell them?"
I think "I can't wait to learn with them!". Students and I discussed what an outbreak might look like here at Richmond MIddle School, how monitoring immunization records impacts a schools population, herd immunity, vaccines, pathogens and at times we even got a little off track as we were so curious!
We watched a video simulation of Herd Immunity. See it here.
Reviewed and discussed pictures of vaccine preventable diseases (via historyofvaccines.org and Ms. Schaners own research)
Discussed student observations from playing the vaccine preventable disease game Pox. Read about the game here.
I also shared my own disease outbreak story about contracting the chickenpox virus as a new nurse and how the hospital I worked for responded.
Throughout our discussions, some of the questions students asked: "Do they still vaccinate for small pox?" "Why do you have to have multiple vaccines for one disease?" "Can you get chicken pox more then once?" "Have you taken care of children with vaccine preventable diseases in the hospital?"
All great questions that indicate a level of interest, knowledge and desire to learn more. I suspect some of these questions will help fuel a cool assignment that Mr. Schlunz has assigned his class: "Outbreak at RMS". Students will be researching a disease and creating a case study that could happen at school.
The very last day of joining the science students, Mrs. Schaner and I had a great conversation about medicine, science and that 'ah ha' moment when students might decide "this is what I'm interested in". We talked about encouraging students to be curious, and to ask "why not?"....which leaves me sharing this great blog post: "The Changing Face Of Medicine" by Minerva Arenas.
I hope all students ask "why not" and follow their passions in learning.