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This week I had the privilege of teaching a Discovery Term course at my alma mater, Sheboygan County Christian School (SCCS). Discovery Term is a week-long learning adventure where students explore topics not typically covered in a high-school curriculum, like cooking, theological debates, photography, or my course, Global Health Problem Solving. I’m three years into my studies of global health and biomedical engineering at Duke University and wanted to bring the challenges of these exciting fields to students who may not even know that these areas of study exist. My goal for the course was for students to engage with the Bible’s teachings on health by learning about health issues both locally and globally, and thinking critically about how to solve them using technology.
The first day of class gave students an introduction to the field of global health with a video that defined health as a state of physical, social, mental, and spiritual well-being. Students created maps of their identity to explore how different aspects of who they are – like their education level, socio-economic status, faith, or personality – affect their health. After this activity, we discussed how Jesus demonstrated the value of healthy life by healing and resurrecting people despite the fact that they would still eventually die. Our health issue focus for day one was clean water, sanitation facilities, and quality nourishment, so students learned about the current state of these resources around the world. Finally, students designed and tested a low-cost water filter out of readily available materials as a way to give more people access to clean water.
On our second day of class, we focused on the economics of health – specifically disability and the cycle of poverty. Students learned about Dr. Brian Fikkert’s biblical model of poverty – that poverty can take the form of broken relationships with God, others, one’s self, or material things. We ended the day talking about design for people with disabilities and I introduced the students’ main design challenge: building a dressing device for a double arm amputee.
The design challenge was an actual challenge I was given in a previous internship for a young man who had both of his arms amputated after an electrical accident. Imagine the ways your life would change if you didn’t have arms. It would not be easy to be a teenager that needs his mother to dress him. The students designed a safe, portable, low-cost, innovative device that could be made from simple materials to empower an amputee to put on pants and a shirt entirely on their own. I was impressed!
Finally, on our last day of class, we discussed infectious and non-communicable diseases. Students learned the vocabulary health researchers use to discuss disease and explored ways of measuring disease severity and spread. We examined health department data for Sheboygan County and talked about statistics that surprised us. The final project students completed was a poster highlighting one of these surprising statistics and listing steps anyone can take to help improve that aspect of health. Students created posters sharing data about personal safety and binge drinking to help raise awareness of these issues in Sheboygan County.
I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to teach this class, engage with these students, and give back to the high school that taught me so much. It was exciting for me to connect with students that are interested in health and engineering and to mentor them and encourage them as they work toward their goals. I was genuinely impressed by the students’ empathy, creativity, and passion to serve those around them. Discovery Term is an excellent example of how SCCS prepares student’s hearts and minds for service in God’s world through Christ-centered learning.
Duke University ‘19
Global Development Engineering
Faith Based Education Inc. will be represented by a float in the Sheboygan 4th of July Parade tomorrow. It will be manned by students from both Sheboygan Lutheran and Sheboygan Christian High Schools
Special Thanks to Paul Gnan of Lutheran High and Brett Flipse of Christian High for pulling this together... A great example of how Faith-based education supports and enhances our community!!