Before the school year ends, Davis Middle School eighth-graders must come up with a new way to use biometrics at the school.
The new project led by teachers Eileen Shaughnessy and Sarah Redick will have students solving real-world problems and the top projects will move on to a competition for bragging rights.
The project is part of the district's effort to combine real-world science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, problems into classrooms.
"We wanted to do something STEM-related with the life science unit," Shaughnessy said of the project.
To prepare, students have read articles about biometrics and last week got a visit from Mark Ruegsegger, professor of biomedical engineering at Ohio State University.
The Dublin resident has worked at OSU for 12 years and has students create inventions that solve medical problems each year.
"The big thing is to look for the idea," he told students.
After telling them about the different areas of biomedical engineering, such as bio-imaging, tissue engineering, micro and nano technology, biomechanics and biotransport, Ruegsegger discussed the education students would need for the field.
He also covered current biometrics used including fingerprints, eyes, footprints, genetic codes and blood.
"Biometrics is huge," Rueg-segger said. "People are looking for easy ways to get information."
Ruegsegger's iPhone, for example, uses his thumb print to access the phone.
"The best devices start with ideas," he said, urging students to talk to teachers, family members, friends and more to dig for ideas.
Ruegsegger hasn't spoken at Davis Middle School before, but said he talks to middle school and high school students about biomedical engineering about five times a year.
"Every year, we invite a group to come to OSU and see the demonstrations in the classroom," he said.
In fact, biomedical engineering relates to a lot of different subjects and easily catches the attention of students, Ruegsegger said.
"Biomedical engineering is so broad and (it is) easy to find connections with things that they're teaching," he said.
Students expressed interest in education for biomedical engineering, asking Ruegsegger about how long college would take and the cost of education.
Not only did Ruegsegger's visit get students' creativity flowing, it also has them looking into how biomedical engineering can be used every day.