Applecross Senior High School students are learning about the human arm and how the bones, muscles and joints work together, through the prosthetic arm project.
The Year 7 academic extension students will use what they’ve learnt and build their own prosthetic arm out of recyclable materials such as cardboard, metal washers, straws and string.
The idea was sparked several years ago when academic extension coordinators were exploring project ideas and learnt many students were interested in pursuing medicine and biomedical science.
Ji Hae Kim, Year 7 science teacher at Applecross Senior High School, has run the past three projects, before handing this year’s project to academic extension teacher Ric Boelen.
“Science in real life is such a huge field and often students don’t have the opportunity to be exposed to fields like prosthetics,” Miss Kim said.
“The more kids understand how the devices are made, work, and the reasons behind their design, the better it will be for them if they were to come in contact with a prosthesis user.”
Orthotist and Applecross Senior High School graduate Max Prinz kicked off the project, telling students about the difference between prosthetics and orthotics, and the importance of the technology.
Mr Prinz brought in several orthotics, used by podiatrists to help support and correct gait, for the students to look at and understand how they work.
Students set themselves goals to achieve with their recyclable arm, such as holding a drink can, writing with a pen, or typing on a computer.
Miss Kim said it was important that students learn and understand the technology as there is a story behind every prosthetic.
“If students are taught about disability at a young age, the more normalised it becomes in society. Amputees are a large group of the disability cohort, so it is a great topic to learn about and have a go at in a fun and interesting way,” she said.