Class learns how to build a heart

Class learns how to build a heart

During the first semester of school, Life Science teacher Erin Steinmetz had her students transform into biomedical engineers to create a functioning model of the heart.

To go into more detail, the students had to make a replica of a heart showing the movement of oxygen within it.

“We talked about the heart previously and all the diseases the heart can have and so they had to come together to create an engineered artificial heart,” Steinmetz said.

The new engineers had to figure out a way to show how oxygen moved in and out of the heart.

“They had to come up with a pumping system that actually pumped water, both red and blue, for oxygenated and deoxygenated blood, so it had to be high functioning and be able to present it to their classmates to become applicants to try and become a position as a biomedical engineer,” Steinmetz said.

The requirements were simple: know the heart, know the flow of the heart, build the model and make it functionable.

“This was my first time doing the project with my life science class so I tried to have high expectations for my students, but I also wanted to give them the sense of creativity and also be able to expand on their own,” Steinmetz said.

Her expectations were not only met, but some groups went above and beyond with the execution of their models.

“I allowed them to kind of get creative and let them think outside of the box and some of them were really interesting and did a really good job on it,” Steinmetz said. “Overall, I think the students exceeded my expectations and did better than I thought they were going to do.”

After the projects were completed, groups had a lot to say about them.

“Jordan and I created a model heart, that made blood flow similar to a real heart, as well as a presentation highlighting the structured and functions of the heart,” freshman William Ramjohn said. “It went well, I liked our presentation but I didn’t feel very happy with the outcome of the model.”

Sophomore Sierra Kieffer, who worked alongside freshman Katie Scrimo, had positive things to say about her project.

“I think it went very well,” Kieffer said. “We had a good model of the heart that made it easy for you to understand how the process worked. I liked having the opportunity to also learn more about the heart.”

The only things the groups wished they could change were small things like the size of their projects, the way they presented, or having more time to work on them.

“I would change the way we presented,” Ramjohn said. “We did more of a one-on-one presentation process while. We would have preferred more of a larger group presentation.”

This was the first time the Life Science class had done this project and the results ended up being very high. Steinmetz was very pleased with the results and is excited to do it again with other classes.