Student Health Information Kiosks

High school juniors and seniors enrolled in the College in the Schools' offering of PsTL 1135: Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology designed and implemented information kiosks to raise awareness of the importance of good nutrition and the complications that often arise due to obesity (such as Type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis).

At the beginning of this project, all students read Michael Pollan's book In Defense of Food and then learned the basics of the digestive system and nutrition through traditional classroom lessons and activities. In typical anatomy and physiology courses the unit would end with an exam, and the students would proceed to the next topic. Students in PsTL 1135 did take exams on nutrition and the digestive system, but then used their knowledge to design information kiosks with the goal of educating the public about nutrition, with a focus on the dangers of the "Western diet" and potential health complications related to obesity (such as Type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis). Classroom instructors assigned students to groups of 4-6. The students were next given the project descriptions and were also given a small budget to purchase materials. Some instructors provided class time for students to work on creating kiosks, but many instructors required that they be created outside of class time. Students presented their kiosks at back to school nights, during athletic contests such as basketball games, and even in the lunch cafeteria during regular school days.

There were two important elements to the student kiosks: First, students had to locate or create information materials related to diet, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, etc. Materials were supposed to be both visually attractive and also educational. Secondly, students had to engage the public in an intelligent conversation about diet and health - e.g., how does atherosclerosis lead to a stroke or heart attack? What are the long-term co mplications of Type 2 diabetes?

Many students in PsTL 1135 have goals of becoming health care professionals. One goal of this project was to give students the opportunity to play the role of health care leaders by interacting with the public as knowledgeable "experts" in an area of public health need.

PsTL 1135 is offered through the University of Minnesota College in the Schools, a concurrent enrollment program that allows high school students to take college courses for credit while attending high school. PsTL 1135 is taught by high school biology instructors who attend several workshops and continuing education opportunities with Dr. Murray Jensen, the instructor of record for the course at the U of M. Dr. Jensen teaches PsTL 1135 at the U of M campus.

Students were graded on their kiosks by their classroom instructor using a scoring rubric.

(Thank you to the UCare Fund for helping support the kiosk project.)

Golden Femur Competition

As part of the College in the Schools program, students travel to the University of Minnesota campus for Field Days, an event that takes place in a large auditorium where students listen to content lecturers from professors and also show off their kiosks. Due to space limitations, only one or two kiosks per school can be shown at the U of M, and instructors decide their school's best kiosks. (If instructors teach two sections of PsTL 1135, they may bring two student kiosks to Field Days).

During Field Days, all CIS 1135 instructors and a selection of University professors use the scoring rubric to judge the top information kiosk. Typically there are 20 to 30 kiosks and the competition is tight. All judges meet and select the top three kiosks. An awards ceremony is held at the end of the field days events to announce awards:

First place - Golden Femur

Second place - Silver Scapulae

Third place - Bronze Ulna

Golden Femur

Schools are allowed to take their prizes (bones) back to their schools and displayed as they see fit (in the school's trophy showcases, in their anatomy and physiology classrooms, etc.)

The intent of the Golden Femur is to promote friendly competition between schools and encourage the production of high quality information kiosks to be used in local communities.

2011 Winners

Golden Femur Winners 2011

2012 Winners

Golden Femur Winners 2012

We know that student kiosks generate interest in anatomy and physiology and that student enjoy the projects. However, at this time we do not know if students make any content gains in areas related to human anatomy and physiology.
The project does provide an excellent mechanism to promote creativity, group skills, and many other student development skills often called "21st Century Skills" that are typically lacking in traditional science courses.

In the years prior to student kiosks, the Golden Femur competition was based on student generated videos.