Dear New PLTW Student

Sanjana Farmah is a freshman taking PLTW’s Principles of Biomedical Science at Triangle Math and Science Academy in Cary, North Carolina. 

So you recently joined a Project Lead The Way (PLTW) course, and you’re wondering what to expect. Honestly, get ready, because this is going to be fun!

I'm currently in my first year of PLTW, taking Principles of Biomedical Science, or PBS for short. At first, I thought this class was going to be another year of biology with more labs; what I expected was not what the class was at all. This class wasn’t even close to learning biology all over again.

In PBS, I took my knowledge from biology and used it like you would in the real world. Throughout the course, you take on the roles of various biomedical professionals. You could be a detective one time, a phlebotomist another, a forensic scientist, or anything at all in a matter of months! All it takes is a little imagination.

Granted, I did experience some challenges this year. For example, I couldn’t think of any new technology to help diabetics, and, in learning how glucose travels through the blood, I couldn’t think of a way to show this process by using only pipe cleaners, construction paper, beads, pompoms, Popsicle sticks, balloons, and toilet paper rolls. I did eventually overcome these challenges, but it took a while and a little something called Creativity.

If there’s one school supply you need for this class, it’s Creativity. If I didn’t have it, I could have never overcome those challenges I mentioned above. Now, I won’t give any hints to help you on these tasks in the future if you take this class, but let’s just say I needed to take away my high school brain and replace it with my elementary school brain – and remember a time when all I did was build and create new things with my curiosity.

You need to be able to do this in PLTW. If you think logically for everything, it can really hold you back. But if you think outside the box, it can help you create something truly amazing.

PLTW changed me as a student by helping me shift my perspective when needed. You need to put yourself in the shoes of the person whose problem you’re solving. Whether that’s in PLTW Engineering, PLTW Computer Science, or another PLTW Biomedical Science class, you should be able to do this. When you do, it helps your creativity, because you’re thinking past the production of an item and about its application

In the end, this shows you that the skills you learn in a non-PLTW course really do matter in the real world, especially if you choose to pursue a career based on a PLTW course.

Our teacher lets us work in groups when we come up with new solutions to problems or need to show a function in our body through a model. Working in these groups has also helped me as a student see how other people may have similar ideas or totally different ones, and we have to be able to mesh them into one big idea. This helps us all learn something we didn’t know or about something we missed in our original plan. More brains are better than one.

If I hadn’t taken a PLTW course, I would have missed out on so much. PBS is no regular class. It may be the teacher, the people in the class, or the course itself, but everything there makes it all worthwhile. I genuinely would have thought that everything I learned in biology was boring and could have never been used the way I learned it. Being in this program opened my eyes and showed me that it’s not boring but fun and incredibly useful. I can’t speak for any of the other programs that PLTW offers, but I can speak for biomedical science. This is a program you definitely want to participate in, and if you’re interested in biomedical science, take PBS*!

*Spoiler: In PBS, you find out why and how someone died.

PLTW’s blog intends to serve as a forum for ideas and perspectives from across our network. The opinions expressed are those of each guest author.