Van Nuys : Medical Magnet Gets $15,889 for Research

A research methods class at the Van Nuys High School Medical Magnet this week was awarded a $15,889 grant to buy computer software for image processing, probes for wind tunnel research, and graphing calculators.

Over the last two years, the Woodland Hills branch of Medtronic Inc. has given the school about $29,000 in grants for the class.

“This class teaches kids to think,” said teacher Robert Coutts. “In the public school system, they learn to memorize facts, take tests and get grades. In this class, they can think for themselves and act on their own thinking.”

During the second semester of the course, 12th-graders will design, engineer and build their own research projects, using the grant money to buy materials.


Past research projects included a structural analysis for prevention of earthquake damage and the development of an innovative wheelchair to minimize muscular, nerve and circulatory problems for disabled people.

Throughout the research projects, Van Nuys students will swap information with and ask questions of peers worldwide via the Internet. The students will also have access to government facilities such as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA’s Ames Research Center.

The grant money, to be presented Monday, goes “a long way toward building confidence and providing motivation to continue the work that we’ve done,” Coutts said.