This is the third in a series of interviews with businessman and tech leader Dave Sabey
Something magical happens in a classroom when kids are doing hands-on work that stimulates and inspires them and they are surrounded by enthusiastic adults.
That was the experience in the Quincy School District when the Seattle Science Foundation, at the behest of data center entrepreneur Dave Sabey, brought the Kids in Medicine program to town. Some 400 third-grade and sixth-grade students received first-hand experience in medicine.
“It was an incredibly exciting and engaging experience for our kids,” said Pioneer Elementary School Principal Nik Bergman. The kids watched a DVD of a surgeon explaining the step-by-step process and then dissected pig hearts.
How cool is that?
Some teachers were a little nervous about handing scalpels to third-graders, Bergman noted, but it worked out fine.
Sabey, who runs Intergate Quincy and Intergate Columbia data centers, is passionate about projects like this that engage kids. He’s chairman of the board of the Seattle Science Foundation and funded the Quincy Kids in Medicine project as a way to give back to the community. He’s passionate about transforming education.
Kids in Medicine is part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) approach that is gaining traction in classrooms throughout the country.
But that cutting-edge educational experience is financially out of reach in rural communities like Quincy because of budgetary constraints.
The foundation contacted the school last winter and made arrangements for the visit. The foundation sent a team of people with all the equipment and they allowed kids to go through the process of dissecting the hearts. You can learn the concepts with a model or a textbook, but hands-on experience engages students in ways academics cannot, I was told.
“Kids get really excited about anatomy,” said Sabey. If they can inspire some students who have the desire and the aptitude to pursue a science or engineering field, that’s a success. It’s about stimulating a few kids and showing them what is possible.
The Kids in Medicine program is not only interesting for the kids, but it also gives classroom teachers confidence to take more risks in teaching science, said Lael McAuliffe, the direction of education and curriculum development at the foundation.
Connecting kids to meaningful projects that expose them to hands-on activities like dissecting pig hearts seems like a winning approach.
The Kids in Medicine event was successful because it blended cool technology with real-world, hands-on experience for students. It also worked because of the adults in the room were passionate, excited and engaged. What an unbeatable combination.
Making these kinds of personal connections with students is a recipe for success. The marriage of technology and hands-on experience works.