Elementary students learn "What's up, Doc?"

Grade 5 classes join the 100 Years of Medicine celebrations

Amy Hewko - 3 June 2013

This week the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry continued to reach out to the community and inspire young people welcoming elementary school students to "What's Up, Doc?". Grades three, four and five students from the capital region toured the 100 Years of Medicine Photo Exhibit and participated in hands-on activities related to their curriculum.

In groups guided by teachers and parent volunteers, children participated in five activities with the help of medical school alumni and medical library staff.

"The students were very excited to come. Even at ages 10 or 11 many of them have said, 'oh yes, I want to be a nurse,' or 'I want to be a doctor,'" said Marina Rees, whose grade 5 class participated in the field trip on Friday morning. "The [station] that intrigued me the most, I think, was the simulation of the patient exam."

The young students had the opportunity to meet Chris, a patient simulator mannequin used to train medical students in their first two years of school. Chris blinks, "breathes" and is remote controlled to show different symptoms.

Grade 5 student Matt said Chris, the simulator, was his favourite part of the trip. "We checked his heart rate. We tested if he had a concussion. We checked his breathing and if he was swelling anywhere," he said. His friend Andrew, on the other hand, agreed Chris was cool but wasn't a fan of the blinking.

Compounding the Cure was another popular station with the students. Working with a librarian, they learned about the healing properties of everyday herbs, like ginger and peppermint, and then made their own herbal teas. The children also had the chance to personalize their remedies - one boy created a concoction in hopes of soothing his own upset stomach.

"In school we're learning about the indigenous peoples and how they made their own medicines," said Freya, whose favourite part of the trip was making her tea. "It's cool that we got to do something like that too."

Students also searched for secrets hidden in the 100 Years of Medicine Photo Exhibit, moulded anatomically correct body parts and played the classic board game, Operation.

The Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry hopes to bring this exhibit to the public again this summer. Details will soon be posted on the 100 Years of Medicine Website.