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Yale freshman and brother create free lung model kit to teach parents and kids about coronavirus

Connecticut Families

(WTNH) — “It’s taken so much from so many of us and, for children, it’s been so hard for them to comprehend this massive change in their life,” says Sophia De Oliveira, explaining why she came up with a way to help kids understand the coronavirus.

The freshman at Yale University – of Brazilian descent – had founded Project Empower, providing STEM boxes to students from minority backgrounds.

“During that time, we were talking to a lot of parents and it was then that we heard all the concerns they had about sending their kids back to school and they didn’t really know how to have that conversation with their child about coronavirus,” she says.

Sophia and her brother, Nickolas, a junior at The University of Chicago, created a “do it yourself” lung model kit that shows the effects the virus has on a body.

“You open it, and we have a little welcome pamphlet for kids,” says Sophia, also showing a sponge that acts as a lung.

“We also provide them with a stethoscope to listen while they breathe through the tube and sponge, and that mimics the inflammation that happens with coronavirus,” says Nickolas.

The siblings, who grew up in Wisconsin, say the interactive contraption can teach at home or in the classroom, giving educators, parents and students a tool for discussion.

“Promoting a sense of control for not only the kids but also the parents who may not know a lot about coronavirus,” says Nickolas.

A Yale professor helped Sophia and Nickolas design the kit. They’ve gotten great feedback and hope the exercise sparks an interest in science while promoting wisdom and safe choices.

“They could be excited to learn, and they could come to realize there are steps they can do during this time to be a hero and help save lives,” says Sophia.

Project Empower aims to provide these kits for free.

Click here if you’re interested in getting one or assisting in the mission.

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