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This year we started up a new partnership, leading a session at a camp focused on spinal muscle atrophy (SMA) being held for incoming freshmen at Athens Drive High School. We designed an activity that connected our lab’s biomechanics focus to SMA by looking at scoliosis, and how variations in spinal muscle strength can affect curvature. We used a pool noodle as a model of the spine and inserted dowel rods that students could connect exercise bands (‘muscles’) to. We loved coming up with a new activity, and we hope the kids had fun too!

To start, we asked them what ‘biomechanics’ is and generated a word cloud from their responses. We love how many of them used the word ‘help’ in their explanation!

A snippet of the worksheet that Jason created to guide the activity

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