A team of UF BME graduate students, Evelyn Bracho-Sanchez and Antonietta Restuccia, UF MSE graduate student, Laura Villada, UF ChemE undergraduate student, Elliot Mackrell, and UF BME assistant professor, Dr. Gregory Hudalla, recently competed in the Society for Biomaterials Engineering Education Challenge with their teaching module that introduces middle school children to biomedical device design and testing. In their module, teams of students are given a box of simple materials, such as paper clips, rubber bands, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, tape, and glue, and challenged with creating a prototype to address a biomedical problem.
Earlier this semester, the team visited Gainesville’s Brentwood Academy and challenged a class of 5th graders to develop catheters to remove plaque buildup in arteries. Students were briefly introduced to the circulatory system. A model of Play-doh and tubing was then used to demonstrate plaque buildup, the problem. Students were then given three criteria for their prototypes: 1) efficiently remove the plaque – yellow play-doh, 2) without damaging the vessel – red play-doh, 3) using the least number of components. Here we see examples of students working to design their prototypes, examples of prototypes from each team, and a team of students testing their prototype. Prototypes were assessed for plaque removal, vessel damage, and number of components. Students were then shown an example of a balloon catheter, which represents the clinical state-of-the-art. Finally, students were tasked with suggesting revisions to improve their prototypes, which completed the engineering process of design, build, test, evaluate, and repeat.
The SFB Education Challenge award will be used to develop additional modules that rely on the same box of goods to address different biomedical problems, as well as implementing the module at other Gainesville schools and in other grades.
Congratulations to the entire team!