Helping Hands

Submitted by Colleen Hoban
Lower School second grader Isaiah, who was born with a limb difference, is now the proud owner of a new 3D printed prosthesis thanks to the six students at Drexel University who designed it! In early April, second grade Skyped with the Drexel University students to learn about the process for making a prosthesis. Tatnall students were surprised to learn that the Drexel students are not engineers but rather pre-med students. They are part of an organization called ‘Helping Hands’ which supports families of children with limb differences. Asking thoughtful questions, our students gained an understanding of how the Drexel students created Isaiah’s new prosthetic hand. The Drexel students were thorough in answering our questions and made connections to the students when providing answers. For example, they used Legos as an example of how they put the different 3D printed pieces together and a fishing line to explain how the fingers open and close.

After this amazing experience, second graders learned how their hand and fingers open and close, and then had the opportunity to design a prosthetic hand. Mimicking the bones, joints, tendons, and muscle, students diligently created a prototype prosthetic hand. Using cardstock as the skin, a drinking straw as the bones, sewing thread as the tendon, and their fingers as the muscle, students experimented with their prosthesis. They made the sign language symbol for ‘I love you,’ gave each other high fives and fist bumps, and pointed fingers in the air to count. They put their fine motor skills to the test with this project, and with grit and perseverance, students rose to the challenge. According to Isaiah, his favorite part was “talking to my Drexel friends and sharing how they made it.” He also added he was proud of his classmates for “working really hard and trying their best!” The highlight of the project was watching Isaiah show off his new hardware! Here is a video highlighting our learning. It was a proud Tatnall moment! #TatnallStrong
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