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Mariner adds additional classes in biomedical science

By Staff | Sep 22, 2011

Just a year after its introduction, interest in biomedical science and engineering courses at Mariner High School has spurred the need for additional classes.

A national non-profit organization, Project Lead the Way, partners with middle and high schools to emphasize the importance of hands-on, group experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In 2007, they introduced biomedical sciences to the list of subject areas.

The idea behind Project Lead the Way is to encourage more students to consider careers as scientists, technology experts, engineers, mathematicians, healthcare providers and researchers.

Only 20 schools in the United States currently offer biomedical science to their high school students, two of which are in Lee County – Mariner High School and Dunbar High School.

Mariner High School Assistant Principal of Curriculum Kim Verblaauw said last year they began offering the first course for biomedical science, principals of biomedical science, to their students. The interest rose from the school offering two classes to four classes for the first course.

Because the course is computer intensive – the curriculum is delivered online – the school has only 26 students registered per class, or approximately 100 students taking principals of biomedical science.

Part of the Project Lead the Way’s philosophy is intense teacher training, she said, which includes two weeks of college training out of state. This summer, Mariner High School teachers either went to Stetson University for biomedical training or a college in Chicago for engineering training.

Verblaauw said there are not any colleges or universities in Florida that have partnered with Project Lead the Way yet.

Once the teacher returns to Mariner High School they have to implement the exact curriculum they learned through their training.

Currently Mariner High School can offer the first three courses of biomedical science – principals of biomedical sciences, human body systems and medical interventions. Verblaauw said she will send a teacher for training this summer for the last course, biomedical innovation.

Some of the topics the students will learn in biomedical science includes the human body, cell biology, genetics and disease.

If students complete the four courses in the biomedical program they can apply for college credit, along with an EKG technician certification by the National Healthcareer Association.

“It is a cool curriculum because it is so engaging,” Verblaauw said about biomedical science, adding the students are working as a team to solve a problem.

Students can sign up for two biomedical science courses at a time.

Courses in engineering also are offered at Mariner.

Verblaauw said they have three classes of about 30 students for the introduction to engineering design class.The course focuses on the design process, research and analysis, teamwork, communication methods, global and human impacts, engineering standards and technical documentation.

The other two courses for engineering include principals of engineering and digital electronics.

A teacher from Mariner High will travel to Chicago to take classes regarding the second course, principals of engineering.

“It’s hard, but they are not leaving,” she said about the course. “They are staying in an elective that is a difficult elective.”

Upon completion of the three engineering courses, Verblaauw said the students can receive the engineering core certification from the Florida Engineering Society.

Verblaauw said the engineering and biomedical science courses are honors courses. She said students who have not been in honors classes before are stepping up and doing quite well because the curriculum is so engaging.

Students who are interested in taking engineering courses must take one class at a time until their third year and then they have to begin taking double courses as a junior.