Random Thoughts: Change, Primary Sources & Other Stuff

Not just for History: Primary Sources in the Science and Health Classroom

Posted on: November 22, 2013

What’s a flouroscope?


Shoe Fluorscope on display at the National Museum of Health and Medicine.

I just had foot surgery!  This post isn’t about my foot, but about how seeing the pre-op x-ray results on a large computer screen and later seeing the post-op results led to an interesting conversation. I suppose the last time I saw those bones I was standing on a fluoroscope in a department store’s shoe department.  The nurse did not know what I was talking about. I told her how fun it was to stand on the machine even if we weren’t in the store to buy shoes. Fluoroscopes were used in shoe stores so parents and sales people could view a child’s feet have long since been taken out of use because of dangers from radiation. Modern fluoroscopes are still used in certain situations.

A technical college x-ray tech instructor came up with a great activity when she discovered historic photos of x-ray equipment , historic newspaper articles about x-rays in court trials, and posters warning about the dangers of x-rays and radiation.   There is a picture of a doctor taking a radiographic image. The equipment and patient protection are outdated.  Learners can analyze the photo and reflect on the changes that have been made with regard to the equipment and protections standards we use today.  It would be a great way to start a group discussion.

An elementary teacher found primary source photos of simple machines. Her ideas was asking students to identify the machines to share and review their knowledge this basic scientific concepts.

Primary sources are not just for history!  Two November blog posts, Asteroid Impostors and the Planet that Never Was: What’s on Your Diagram of the Solar System?  and Exploring Eclipes through primary Sources highlight selected astronomy primary sources resources and ideas.

The Jan/Feb 2014 Internet @Schools NEW Media Center Column  (An article version of this post)

Primary sources offer exciting possibilities for the science and health classrooms.
Learn how to find and use them in your classroom!
Learn more from science teacher

American Memory Collections
Library of Congress Teachers Page Blog
National Museum of Health and Medicine
YouTube, Shoe Store Fluoroscope
Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Shoe Fitting Fluoroscopes
Susan Buss, June 2013
Photo: Shoe Fluoroscope, manufactured circa 1938, manufactured by Adrian Shoe Fitter, Inc. that was used in a Washington, DC Shoe Store. This machine is currently displayed at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, DC.


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