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From 'Mole Day' to medical programs, Shawnee Mission makes science fun for students

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Posted at 3:38 PM, Oct 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-23 17:19:28-04

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. — When the clock hit 6:02 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, it was officially Mole Day - a worldwide holiday celebrating a unit of measurement called a mole.

Chemistry students and teachers at Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village threw one of the country’s largest celebrations.

Roughly 200 students packed the school’s cafeteria nearly two hours before class began to celebrate Avogadro’s Number, which helps calculate moles: 6.02 x 1023; thus a celebration at 6:02 on Oct. 23.

“Chemistry is hard; any way to make it relatable helps us retain it,” Shawnee Mission East junior and event emcee Sullivan Goettsch said.

From Mole Day, to the Medical Science Signature Program, the Shawnee Mission School District hopes to give students ways to take lessons from books and apply them to real-word scenarios.

The district says it is one of only seven in the country with an anatomage table, a virtual cadaver students can dissect.

When it first offered the Medical Science Signature Program 13 years ago, only 72 students from one high school signed up. More than 600 students from all five high schools are now involved.

“Everything we learned in biology is now something we can see and feel and know what we're learning is going to affect us in the future,” Jasmine Hogue, a senior at Shawnee Mission South High School who wants to be a pediatric nurse practitioner, said.

The district is piloting a medical research course which puts writing and data analysis skills into practice.