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Teaching Kids About Medicine – What Do Doctors Do?

Do you have a child who wonders what it would be like to work as a doctor or a nurse? Learn about a medical investigations homeschool curriculum that is perfect for teaching kids about medicine. You might also enjoy this collection of resources for teaching kids about the human body.

Do you have a child who wonders what it would be like to work as a doctor or a nurse? Learn about a medical investigations homeschool curriculum that is perfect for teaching kids about medicine. #futuredoctor #futurenurse #homeschoolcurriculum #homeschool #scienceforkids #appliedscience #edchat #sciencerocks #medicine #curriculumreview

I was always interested in doctors and what they did as a kid. Maybe it came from my own bout with childhood cancer, or maybe I would have found it interesting anyway. I’m sure it was helped along by the fact that my parents owned a Physician’s Desk Reference as well as another doctors’ reference guide. I’m pretty sure they had them because we were living in a country with limited access to medical care. Neither of my parents had any background in medicine.

My siblings and I LOVED the Physician’s Desk Reference because you could run through symptom questionnaires to diagnose an illness. We delighted in finding the worst possible – thankfully imaginary – ailments for ourselves.

I went to college as a pre-med student, but decided that wasn’t the path for me. I did eventually get a Ph.D. in medicine, but it was a non-clinical degree, and I still feel I made the right choice. Working as a researcher in the School of Medicine did offer some fantastic opportunities though! I worked as a tutor for a medical ethics class, but my favorite job of all time was facilitating a problem based learning course for first year medical students.

The job went like this: I would walk into the room and hand out a patient profile. The students went home for the week, studied the case write-up, and came back with a diagnosis and their reasons for that diagnosis. My job was to sit in the room, listen, and make sure they didn’t go too far off course. I was pregnant with my daughter Emma at the time, and I especially remember their pregnancy case because they were all so clearly clueless about what it was like to be pregnant. They were first year medical students, after all! And a case about sepsis haunts me to this day.

Teaching Kids About Medicine

My ten-year-old daughter Lily shares my childhood interest in medicine. She’s always collecting hospital themed toys, and she wants crutches so badly that one of her siblings (hush, don’t tell) bought her a set for Christmas this year.

I have no idea if she will end up working as a doctor or nurse. Still, when Timberdoodle approached me and asked if I was interested in reviewing Medical Investigation 101, a Problem Based Learning style medical curriculum for kids. I jumped at the chance to bring my favorite job into our home learning.

I received this curriculum free as a review item. I received and asked for no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.

Medical Investigations 101 Review

medical investigations for kids

Medical Investigation 101 was written by two medical doctors who also happen to be cousins. The illustrations were done by the wife of one Dr. Hill.

The book is designed to inspire children’s interest in medicine and to teach them how doctors think. 10-year-old Lily is obviously much younger, but she has a particular interest in medicine and I’m helping her with this a lot. In general, I think the 11th grade recommendation is solid. I am consistently impressed with Timberdoodle’s ability to match products to ages.

How to Teach Kids How Doctors Think

how to teach kids what doctors do

Medical Investigations 101 gets kids thinking like doctors by presenting them with patient cases, just like my former medical school students.

teaching kids medicine

Of course, you can’t diagnose without a lot of prior knowledge, the course also includes a lot of information about different conditions. There is a lot of vocabulary to learn. I’m amazed at Lily’s willingness to look up vocabular word after vocabulary word. That’s what a personal interest will do for a kid!

teaching kids about the human body through medical investigations

There is also a lot of human anatomy to understand.

Is This Just for Kids Who Want to Be Doctors?

First of all, Lily is ten. I know she finds medicine interesting, but I have no idea if she wants to be a doctor. She likes the idea of hospitals and medicine, but she hasn’t ever said she wants to do that as a career.

Secondly, I think that this course is useful for anyone – including adults. We all interact with doctors, and a course like this teaches you how doctors think and how they make decisions. We also all have bodies that we benefit from understanding.

You don’t have to go through the course in order. You can jump around topics, although some topics lead into others. This just means that sometimes you’ll need a little more background research if you skipped around.

Will a Class Like This Get My Kid Into Medical School?

There’s an awful lot that goes into getting into medical school. In the United States you need a bachelor’s degree first, for starters (this is not true everywhere in the world).

This course won’t get your child into medical school, but it’s a great introduction to what the world of medicine is like. And if they enjoy this course there’s a much higher chance that they would enjoy working in medicine – as a doctor, nurse, or in some other role – than if they don’t enjoy it. It’s the first curriculum of its kind that I’ve seen marketed for children, and I’m thrilled to see its existence!

Do you and your kids find medicine fascinating? Terrifying? Either way there’s a lot you could get out of this curriculum.

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MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

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