Mariner joins ‘Project Lead the Way’
Mariner High School joined 236 other schools across the country this year that offers a biomedical science program through Project Lead the Way.
“The purpose of this program is to provide students with a foundation of knowledge and technically oriented experiences in the study and applications of biomedical sciences and the possibilities in the biomedical field,” Assistant Principal of Curriculum Kimberly Verblaauw said.
The program takes students through four courses in biomedical sciences or engineering. MARINER decided to offer the biomedical science program which includes the first course in Principles of the Biomedical Sciences, then Human Body Systems, Medical Interventions and finally Biomedical Innovation.
Verblaauw said they had to send AVID Biology and MST Biology teacher Michelle Hellman to Rolla, Missouri for two weeks, so she could receive intensive training about the program to teach students at Mariner.
Hellman said she joined teachers from around the country at Missouri Science and Technology for a two-week training course. She said the training that she did in two weeks is what her students will learn in the entire year.
“I learned so much from so many different teachers,” she said.
Hellman said she stays in contact with a LEAD THE WAY master teacher, whom she calls all the time for further advice and guidance for teaching the course.
Verblaauw said having support from an experienced teacher is an asset when kicking off a new program because it is important to have a resource to go to when needed.
The first course, Principles of the Biomedical Sciences, was implemented this year at Mariner for the first time.
Verblaauw said they currently have 42 students taking the course. She said they had to add more children to the class because the students began talking about it with their peers, which sparked the interest of more.
“Not one kid has said it is too hard,” Verblaauw said. “They are excited about the program.”
Throughout the year, students will study the human body system, medicine, health, key biological concepts, communication, transport of substances, locomotion, metabolic processes, defense, protection, research processes, engineering principles and an introduction to bio-informatics.
Verblaauw said the program also includes the design and development of various medical interventions, including vascular stents, cochlear implants and prosthetic limbs.
On the first day of school the students were presented with a mystery about how an imaginary person, “Anna Garcia” died. The students will spend the entire year investigating the human body systems and various different health conditions to determine what caused her death. Some of those conditions include heart disease, diabetes, sickle-cell disease, hypercholesterolemia and infectious diseases.
Verblaauw said the students learn to work in groups during the class period to solve problems because that is what they will do in the medical field.
“Hands-on projects include designing experiments, investigating the structures and functions of body systems, and using data acquisition software to monitor body functions such as muscle movement, reflex and voluntary actions and respiratory operation,” she said. “Using 3D imaging, data acquisition software, and current scientific research, students design a product that can be used as a medical intervention.”
Hellman said the course offers something new for the students because she is not in front of the class teaching for the entire period. She said the students spend the period working in groups and coming up with answers to the problem at hand.
Hellman said the students also keep a career journal to teach them about the 60 careers to which the biomedical science program can relate. Some of the careers for biomedical includes physician, nurse, dentist, research scientist, veterinarian, radiologist and dietician.
She said the students are realizing that if they have a better understanding of what they are good at they will know which area to study when attending college.
Joshua Mena, a junior, said he became interested in the course because he wants to become a biomedical engineer. He said he finds it very interesting on how various links and body systems work together.
He said the biomedical course is his favorite course because he has the chance to work to with other students.
“It’s just cool,” he said about the course.
Freshman Katsiaryna Khatskevich said it’s nice to have a good medical program at Mariner. She said it is interesting to learn about what can happen to you, along with the different diseases.
“I want to be a medical researcher, so I thought this class would be good,” she said.
When asked if she wanted to say anything else about the class, she replied “Mrs. Hellman rocks.”