Taylor, one of our eighth graders, knew exactly what to do when her friend fell and cut his leg. She applied direct pressure to the wound, elevated his leg to help stop the bleeding, and bandaged the laceration.
Don’t worry, this emergency situation didn’t really happen. It was a mock incident that took place in the classroom as part of Harlem Academy’s innovative eighth-grade applied science unit on emergency medicine.
During the semester-long unit, students study emergency protocols for city and wilderness and draw on their knowledge of human biology to conduct weekly rescue scenarios. “I enjoy immersing myself in these types of practical applications,” says Taylor. “Now I know I can actually help someone in real life.”
By the time our middle schoolers reach eighth grade, they have studied anatomy and physiology, and the emergency medicine unit gives them the opportunity to put that knowledge to practical use – from assessing an injury to treating it. By the end of the unit, they know how to check vital signs, apply a tourniquet, splint a fracture, perform CPR, and much more. “I was most interested in learning what to do if someone goes into shock because it’s personal for me,” says eighth grader Kadin. “If I eat peanuts, it could happen to me.”
In addition to reinforcing the lessons of our science curriculum, the emergency medicine unit provides a rigorous, practical exploration of STEM-related careers. When a student learns life-saving techniques, it can spur an interest in career paths they may not have considered.
Just ask Sofia Cabellero ’19. “Emergency medicine was my favorite science unit when I was in eighth grade, and I continued to seek those types of science classes in high school,” she says. Now she is a pre-med freshman at Oberlin College with plans to major in neuroscience.
Thank you to the Harry Winston Hope Foundation, Con Edison, and Columbia Community Service for sponsoring our middle school science program.