Medical Practice

Published by The Walton Tribune, Written by Stephen Milligan

In many ways, it looks much like any hospital lab might look: doctors in sterilized gowns and masks, bent over sensitive equipment, marking down observations on clipboards while seeking a diagnosis or lab results. In other ways, it’s quite different, such as the fact that many of these “doctors” are still under five feet tall.

Gwyn Bixler, a teacher at Loganville Christian Academy, transforms her eighth-grade classroom once a year into a “hospital” where her student doctors examine imaginary case studies. In each study, the imagined patient needs a blood transfusion, requiring the students to determine the patient’s blood type and what blood they can donate to the patient for optimal results. Bixler said it’s a great way to get students interested in the science while also giving them hands-on work with lab work.

“We all learn best from experiences,” Bixler said. “This providesstudents with memorable learning experiences.”

For the students, the work was interesting, if occasionally painstaking, work, the verisimilitude of the experience increasing the anxiety and desire to do well.

Eighth-grader Reese Waters said the work was quite realistic. “I liked it because it felt real,” Waters said.

Classmate Tucker Echols agreed.“It helped me learn because it gave me a visual and gave me real world experience.”

Other students had different reference points for their classroom experience. “It made me feel like I was in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and think about my future,” Ansley King said.

And, much to their teacher’s relief, the students said they did learn more than a bit from the experience. “It helped me understand what types of blood can mix and what can’t,” Allyson Hart said.

Bixler said she was glad to see the students react so well to her classroom hospital set-up. “I love seeing my students engaged and having fun when they are learning,” she said.