STEM Forward Series: Mead’s Medical Mystery Night at WSU Spokane

written by Doug Edmonson, CTE Director, Mead School District

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”  This is a question at the heart of Mead’s STEM Forward Series. For the past 4 years, the Mead School District has partnered with WSU Health Sciences to offer a Medical Mystery Night for their kids and families on the WSU campus at Riverpoint. The night is coordinated and designed by Becki Meehan, Greg Godsey, and the staff from WSU. STCU sponsors the night with dinner provided by Pizza Rita and a financial workshop for parents interested in the beginning stages of how to save money for college. This year, over 130 students, 5th - 8th grade, from the Mead School District participated in this annual collaboration. 

The students are given a medical scenario at the beginning of the night and are asked to diagnose the patient by the end of the night. They then rotate through activities and seminars in teams taught by the leadership and students in WSU’s Health Science divisions in order to learn about human body systems and various diagnostic skills. This year, the answer to the medical mystery was ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Several of the student teams figured it out through careful investigation and critical thinking. 

Then they watched as Steve Gleason shared, via video from his foundation’s website, what it was like to have ALS. Several Physicians also shared about ALS and their vision going forward for research and treatment. The night brought together a wide diversity of students, families, staff and researchers to address a critical health concern in our region. Mead's hope is that the seeds of future critical thinking and investigative medical research such as health innovations are planted in the next generation of thinkers as they begin to explore what they want to be when they grow up.

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