Aortic Aneurysm Surgery


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Teacher's Guide

Recommended Grade Levels: 7-12+

Tips for using the site with students      

  1. Before using this activity in class (or at home with your kids), go through the activity once to make sure it works correctly on your computer(s). This activity is recommended for broadband internet access - expect load times between 15 seconds and 1.5 minutes depending on your internet connection.

  2. If the activity does not load after clicking the 'start' button, you may be asked to download a Flash Player from Adobe.com. Please click yes as this allows you to view the Edheads Aortic Aneurysm Surgery activity. If you are using school computers, you might need to contact your tech support team to download the Flash Player.

  3. If you are using an iPad or other iDevice, our games will not play without downloading an app or browser. We recommend the Puffin Academy browser, that is a moderated site limited to educational content for teachers and families to use. The Puffin Academy browser is FREE and can be found here.

  4. Your computer(s) 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 in a classroom setting. Students with hearing impairments can read the text at the bottom of the screen. If you are having difficulty hearing, check the audio settings on your computer.

  5. We strongly recommend that students use a real mouse, as the touch pads on laptop computers are more difficult to use for this activity and slow students down significantly.

  6. 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.

  7. Students in the target grade-range will take approximately twelve to fifteen minutes to complete surgery working individually or in groups of two to three. Some students can get queasy using this activity. We recommend closely monitoring students when they experience this activity for the first time.

Answers to Questions Asked in the Activity     

Q1. Do you think we should continue with surgery?
A1. Yes

Q2. Why don’t we just cut through the abdominal muscles from side to side instead of up and down?
A2. This would cause the patient more pain and take longer to heal.

Q3. Why do you think we clamp the iliac arteries first?
A3. To avoid embolisms, or blood clots, going down into the legs.

Q4. Why do we clamp the aorta below the renal arteries?
A4. To prevent kidney failure during or after surgery.

Q5. Why would we use permanent suture here instead of dissolvable suture?
A5. We can’t take the chance on dissolvable suture dissolving too soon.

Q6. Why would we close the aorta around the graft instead of just cutting away the diseased parts of the artery?
A6. The aorta wall, even though diseased, provides an extra layer of protection to prevent the bowel from rubbing on the graft.

Q7. Why use a permanent suture on the abdominal wall?
A7. Abdominal muscles are very strong and could potentially put a lot of pressure on the sutures that might dissolve too soon.

Q8. Why do we use staples instead of suture for the skin?
A8. Staples are more sturdy and easier to remove if an infection in the skin develops.


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

You can download the worksheet here.
You can download answers to the worksheet here.


Assessment and Discussion
For an assessment tool, teachers may want to have students put their names on the Worksheets and turn them in.  These should indicate if students completed the assigned activity. 

A quick five question quiz can be found here.
Answers to the quiz questions can be found here.

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

  • How do you think the surgeon knew to put the clamps at the bottom (near iliac arteries) of the aneurysm first, instead of at the top near the renal arteries?  How do you think knowledge like that is gained?  Answer:  Somewhat through personal experience or through the personal experience of the surgeon that trained the one performing the operation.   Primarily through published papers and continuing education seminars and conferences for medical personnel.  This clearly illustrates the need for scientists to share their work and data sets.
  • Students can research and, if desired, write a report on the history and advancement of the grafts used to repair aortic aneurysms. 
  • Students can design an experiment or process that would allow them to determine the answer to the question of why so many more men than women have aortic aneurysms (80% of patients are men).   This would most likely involve something like the Framingham Study, referenced here:  http://www.framinghamheartstudy.org/  or could also involve genetic studies or perhaps even the development of a test to determine which individuals might be more likely to develop aneurysms.  Students can discuss their ideas in class or write a report to turn in to the teacher.

Next Generation Science Standards
http://www.nextgenscience.org

Middle School ELA

RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

RST.6-8.4 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 6–8 texts and topics.

RST.6-8.6 Analyze the author’s purpose in providing an explanation, describing a procedure, or discussing an experiment in a text.

Middle School Life Science

MS-LS1-3. Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.

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 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.9-10.6 Analyze the author’s purpose in providing an explanation, describing a procedure, or discussing an experiment in a text, defining the question the author seeks to address.

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.11-12.7 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.

Ohio Science Standards

Science & Technology 
Grades 6-8:

  • Give examples of how technological advances, influenced by scientific knowledge, affect the quality of life.
  • Design a solution or product taking into account needs and constraints (e.g., cost, time, trade-offs, properties of materials, safety and aesthetics).

Scientific Inquiry
Grades 6-8:

  • Explain that there are differing sets of procedures for guiding scientific investigations and procedures are determined by the nature of the investigation, safety considerations and appropriate tools.

Scientific Ways of Knowing 
Grades 11-12:

  • Explain how ethical considerations shape scientific endeavors.
  • Explain how societal issues and considerations affect the progress of science and technology.

National Science Standards
Content Standards
Grades 5-8:

  • Understandings about scientific inquiry.
  • Understanding of structure and function in living systems, reproduction and heredity.
  • Abilities of technological design and understandings about science and technology.
  • Personal health risks and benefits, science and technology in society.

Grades 9-12:

  • 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.