Students in the Wissahickon Middle School Science Club are learning about some of the challenges faced by seniors, through a project called Senior Solutions.
Senior Solutions is the research portion of a robotics competition that the club is participating in, which challenges them to identify and learn about a problem that seniors face and to come up with an innovative solution. They then share their solution with the community by working with organizations such as the Becoming Center.
Gina Formica, Director of the Becoming Center, met with the students to discuss their projects and gave them feedback as a physical therapist and geriatric specialist. Then, they presented their ideas to a panel of Becoming Center members.
The students are working in four teams, each with a very unique problem and solution. The club meets twice a week after school, and has been working on their projects since the beginning of the school year.
Eight grade students on the “blue team,” learned that many modern gyms and exercise classes do not appeal to seniors. To address this problem they created an exercise program called “Cardikey,” which is like yoga or zumba that is designed specifically for seniors. Participants will perform brain exercises during breaks to promote good brain health as well.
The gold team, which includes seventh and eighth grade students, identified that some seniors are confused by computers, so they are creating WiseOS, a simplified computer for seniors. The keyboard will be typewriter style and the monitor will be large and touch screen.
The red team, which is seventh grade students, identified that oxygen tanks are difficult to use, and learned that power outages, like the one that affected our area recently, can be deadly for individuals who depend on them. They are working on an oxygen patch that could replace oxygen tanks using hydrogen peroxide.
Six grade students on the green team learned that many seniors have trouble with their posture, so they are creating the Posture Pillow. The pillow will be adjustable with an air pump and will be very portable.
The students still have a lot of hard work to do on their projects, and the Becoming Center members’ feedback helped them to identify potential problems and think of new ideas.