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student winning idea

July 26, 2021

17-year-old invents color changing sutures that detect infection

Ask students: What inside the sutures allows them to change colors? Why did Dasia feel inclined to make these sutures? What is she hoping to accomplish with them? 

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17-Year Old Invents Life-Saving Incisions

#12 News of 2021

All over the world, infections at the site of surgical incisions are a major cause of new illnesses, extended hospital stays and even death. In the U.S. alone, these infections cost more than $3 billion annually, with even worse statistics in developing countries. Stephanie Sy reports on one 17-year-old Iowa scientist who’s working on a more affordable way to detect these infections early. Watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. To view the full video and transcript, click here

Five Facts: 

  • Who is Dasia Taylor?
  • What specific types of infections are her sutures developed for?  
  • How do the sutures work? 
  • What inside the sutures allows them to change colors?
  • Why did Dasia feel inclined to make these sutures? What is she hoping to accomplish with them? 

Discussion questions: 

Focus questions:

  • Dasia Taylor created these sutures in the hopes of catching infections especially in developing countries. What are some other benefits that you think these sutures will provide other than catching the infection early? 

Media literacy: Why do you think the producers of this piece chose to share the story of Dasia Taylor?

Dig Deeper: 

  • For more details on Dasia Taylor’s invention, see this article.
  • To see other inventions from teen scientists in the Regeneron competition, see this press release.

This Daily News Lesson was written by EXTRA intern Cecilia Curran and EXTRA’s Victoria Pasquantonio. Curran is a sophomore at Amherst College.

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Extra.

PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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