SickKids + STEM Camp

In 2021, STEM Camp was excited to assist SickKids researchers with an important study to help child health.

The focus of the study was to explore how frequently family members have different diseases and if those diseases relate to blood clots in children. STEM Camp created awareness and helped the Thrombosis team at SickKids find potential participants for the study. Families were contacted individually with a request to participate—only certain geographic areas were included in the study.

STEM Camp also created awareness at the camp level by conducting an exciting activity that taught campers about blood flow and blood clots (in a fun way). The activity continues to be included in our FREE STEM Labs membership, alongside other fun and educational activities!

Background: Family History of Diseases and Blood Clots in Children

In healthy individuals, blood clots occur to help stop bleeding after a cut, but then dissolve after healing. However, if the blood clots do not dissolve or if they develop without a cut, the result can be a blockage in arteries or veins—eventually leading to health complications.

Blood clots generally occur in 1 out of 10,000 children in the general population and 1 out of 200 hospitalized children. The frequency of blood clots in hospitalized children is increasing, and research in blood clots in children is very important.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to see how frequently family members have different diseases, and if those diseases relate to blood clots in children. The results of this study will shed some light on the value of asking children about their family history, compared to more expensive and time-consuming methods. 

The target population is healthy children and teens from birth to 18 years and their families.

The STEM Camp Contribution

Beyond contacting STEM Camp families, STEM Camp developed a special activity to increase awareness of and educate campers about the family history of diseases and blood clots.

Campers produced their own model heart out of straws and plastic bottles, which is a great introduction to the circulatory system. Additionally, they simulated the effect of blood clots on this system by reducing the flow through the straws using multiple methods. This activity exemplifies the importance of unimpeded blood flow while connecting campers with their potential involvement in the study. Find the activity in STEM Labs!

STEM Camp was excited to help the Thrombosis team at SickKids acquire this important data so that we can all live healthier lives!

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