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Trauma Teacher's Guide
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Recommended Grade Levels: 9+

Tips for using the site with students

  1. Before using this activity in class (or at home), go through the activity once to make sure it works correctly on your computer(s) or devices. If the activity does not load on a computer after clicking the 'Start' button, you may be asked to download the free Flash Player from Please click Yes, as this allows you to view the Edheads Trauma activity. If you are using school computers, you might need to contact your tech support team to download the Flash Player.
  2. If you prefer to use other devices, apps are available here: Android | Apple
    We do NOT recommend playing the game on iPhones or Android phones, as the size of the text and graphics will be very small.
  3. Your computer or devices will need to have some sort of sound output. Either speakers or headphones will work well. The majority of this activity has voice audio. We highly recommend headphones or ear buds in a classroom setting. This activity includes students virtually taking blood pressure, which requires that they be able to hear the pulses. In a computer lab setting, many students had difficulty determining the blood pressure without ear buds or head phones. Students with hearing impairments can read the text at the bottom of the screen. If you are having difficulty hearing the audio, check the audio settings on your computer or device.
  4. We strongly recommend that students use a real mouse with a computer, as the touch pads on laptop computers are more difficult to use for this activity and slow students down significantly.
  5. If the teacher would like students to fill out a worksheet while doing the activity, that can be printed here. The worksheet is NOT necessary to complete the activity but is a way for students to show they have done the activity or for teachers to track student progress.
  6. Students in the target grade-range will take approximately 35 - 40 minutes to complete the entire activity.

The worksheet for this activity is optional. Teachers may choose to have their students complete the worksheet as a means of ascertaining that the students have completed the activity. However, the worksheet is NOT required to complete the activity

Download the worksheet here.

Assessment tools: Teachers may want to have students put their names on the worksheets and turn them in, which should indicate if students completed the assigned activity. There is also a quiz that can be given:
A quick 10 question quiz can be found here.

After students use the site, additional in-class discussion questions (which can also act as assessment tools) can be asked:

  • During testing of the activity, many students had difficulty with the first Glasgow Coma Scale (when the patient first arrives at the hospital). Teachers may want to discuss how the score of '8' was determined. The following information was given in the game and on the worksheet:
    "The patient is moaning with eyes closed, but he opens them to painful stimuli and also moves his extremities to painful stimuli."
  • Eye: 2 because he opens his eyes to painful stimuli
  • Verbal Response: 2 because he is moaning and making noise, but is not comprehensible
  • Motor Response: 4 because he moves away from pain
  • Total: 8
  • Why does the doctor insist on taking the Glasgow Coma Scale so many times?
    Answer: The patient's state of consciousness changes with treatment and can also change as a response to the accident, blood loss, etc. The doctor determines the level of consciousness several times to determine if the patient needs intubation and if the sedatives used for an intubated patient are working adequately.
  • The names of patients in the Edheads' Trauma activity are not given. Discuss the situation in your community and/or at your school regarding prescription drug abuse. What are the names of some of the people that you or your students know who have died or been negatively impacted by prescription drug abuse?
  • Discuss the long term effects of the events in the Trauma activity. Whose lives have been impacted? How have they been impacted?
    Answer: The consequences here are fairly far-reaching.
  • The girl's family is devastated and it is within their rights to pursue legal action against the boy and his family in criminal court and in civil court. They could ask for damages.
  • The boy's family has been impacted financially (court costs, medical expenses, property damage, liability insurance costs), emotionally, and could lose heavily if the girl's family files suit for damages.
  • The boy will probably lose any football scholarship(s) he has been awarded and could potentially lose any acceptance at colleges and universities. If he becomes a convicted felon, he most likely will not be going to college.
  • Even if he does get to go to college, he might not ever play football again because of the ankle fracture. The fracture could lead to long-term physical problems if it doesn't heal properly. Also, the surgery and healing process will involve pain medications that could cause additional problems with dependencies and addiction.
  • If he is tried as an adult and convicted, his legal records cannot be sealed, meaning that he might have difficulty getting a job in the future. He might have to check the box on job applications that ask applicants to indicate if they have ever been convicted of a crime.
  • If the accident and subsequent investigation hit the press, as they most likely will, there will be a permanent record on the Internet of the accident and its causes. Even if the boy is not convicted, an online search of his name could bring the whole accident to light, again impacting his future education, job searches, career possibilities and lifetime earning potential.
  • Laws differ in each state, county and locality. In this scenario, what laws were violated where you live?
    Answer: At a minimum, the boy was driving impaired. Also, all states have laws against sharing prescriptions, although consequences for doing this vary widely. Property was damaged and the girl was a minor. There may be a number of different laws and statutes violated.
  • Do your students think it should be illegal to share or pass on prescription drugs? Do they agree with the penalties that exist in your state?
  • Do your students think this really happens? Many of the students we tested this activity with maintained that it was not realistic, and yet the entire scenario is based on many situations encountered by the Emergency Department physician and pharmacist that assisted us. As a homework assignment, have your students do research on statistics related to prescription drug abuse. They might be shocked at the numbers - we were!
  • How can we as individuals and as a society make it more difficult for people to abuse prescription drugs? What are some effective ways of solving this problem?

Here are two alternate scenarios you might discuss with your students:

  1. Consider the same situation as in the Trauma activity, but with alcohol added: The boy took Adderall and Oxycodone and drank several beers.
    Presenting symptoms:Almost identical to the Trauma activity, but with decreased mental ability and even less physical coordination (meaning the car accident might have happened sooner). Typically, the ED staff can smell alcohol, which aids in diagnosing what might be wrong.
    Treatment: Similar to what was done in the Trauma activity, although the ED staff would have been even more careful about administering medications since the smell of alcohol was present. Also, the blood test would have come back positive for alcohol.
    Likely outcomes: Similar to those in the Trauma activity, although it might have taken longer for the patient to recover consciousness, stressing his parents out even more.
  2. A student wants to really study hard to ace his or her final exams. The student has been prescribed Ritalin for ADHD, but decides to take Adderall in addition to the Ritalin in the hope that it will improve his or her ability to study. Adderall has not been prescribed and the student does not know the correct dose, so ends up taking four times the correct amount.
    Presenting symptoms: heart palpitations and anxiety, combativeness and psychosis, which is a serious mental disorder, characterized by personality changes and loss of contact with reality.
    Treatment: benzodiazepines to treat the mental issues
    Likely outcomes: Large amounts of stimulants can cause head bleeds, high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiac arrhythmias. This patient could have severe long-term consequences from taking these drugs.

High School Life Science
HS-LS1-2. Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms.

High school Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science
HS-ETS1-4. Use a computer simulation to model the impact of proposed solutions to a complex real-world problem with numerous criteria and constraints on interactions within and between systems relevant to the problem.

Influence of Science, Engineering, and Technology on Society and the Natural World:

  • Modern civilization depends on major technological systems.
  • New technologies can have deep impacts on society and the environment, including some that were not anticipated.

Connections to Nature of Science:

  • Science is a Human Endeavor
  • Science is a result of human endeavors, imagination and creativity.

CCSS High School ELA

  • RST.9-10.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text's explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.
  • RST.9-10.3 Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.
  • RST.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9–10 texts and topics.
  • RST.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
  • RST.11-12.3 Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks; analyze the specific results based on explanations in the text.
  • RST.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11–12 texts and topics.
  • RST.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
  • RST.11-12.9 Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.

Older Ohio and National Standards:
Students learn that traits are defined by instructions encoded in many discrete genes and that a gene may come in more than one form called alleles.

At the high school level, the explanation of genes is expanded to include the following concepts:

  • Understandings about scientific inquiry.
  • Matter, energy, and organization in living systems and behavior of organisms.
  • Abilities of technological design, understandings about science and technology.
  • Natural and human-induced hazards, science and technology in local, national, and global challenges.
  • Understanding of the nature of scientific knowledge and science as a human endeavor.

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