PLTW Helped Me Build a Foundation for the Future
Throughout my three years taking PLTW Biomedical Science courses, I have gained not only a multitude of clinical and laboratory skills, but, possibly even more significantly, I have adapted to an experimental-thinking mindset.
The rigor of PLTW courses does not lie in the tangible tasks such as micropipetting or in the extensive procedures for the various labs. It lies in being able to become so familiar with a science concept that you are able to step out of your comfort zone and apply those understandings to real-life situations and experiences.
This may have been the biggest challenge faced by students in my Principles of Biomedical Science (PBS), Human Body Systems (HBS), and Medical Interventions (MI) classes. It is one thing to memorize and understand something from a textbook, but taking this to the next level – and using your knowledge to apply these ideas in ways that true biomedical professionals do – is another.
That is what is required of PLTW students.
We are all capable students accustomed to learning and comprehending the biology behind the things we see, but we have also enjoyed having the opportunity to realistically utilize this knowledge. Instead of stopping at learning the way insulin intake by cells contributes to diabetes, we take it a step further and see how this correlates to a set of symptoms and then diagnose a patient.
For me, the entire basis of the PLTW curriculum was an unexpected experience as a student. In middle school and high school classes, we are usually only expected to master the information given to us and then regurgitate it back on an assessment. In PLTW, it was truly enlightening to make connections between two related ideas, see concrete results of the seemingly theoretical conceptualizations, and be able to infer, hypothesize, and conclude by using scientific concepts.
In the future, I can see this as being a valuable mentality and way of thinking. I feel that this cements the things we learn and serves as a foundation for the expertise required by the biomedical professions.
In addition to this, PLTW has exposed me to (1) group work, (2) research practices, (3) hands-on experiences, and (4) presentations.
- Being able to work in a group is quite significant, as it is a skill needed in any work or study setting. PLTW classes have enhanced my ability to work with other people to negotiate, reason, and collaborate for an assignment.
- The courses are also research-heavy, which has familiarized me with the process of acquiring knowledge via other sources. I have learned how to utilize scholarly articles and studies as citations and references for a plethora of assignments.
- Clinical and laboratory experiences are abundant throughout PBS, HBS, and MI. I am grateful for the fact that I have conducted experiments and labs that most high school students do not have access to.
- Lastly, another theme of PLTW classes is presenting one’s findings and ideas.
PLTW has enabled me to experience science and biomedicine the way many undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals do. I have gained an immense amount of vital skills, knowledge, and personal characteristics that I know will be important as I proceed throughout my professional and academic careers.
My PLTW courses have instilled within me perseverance and commitment. They also have given me the gift of having a multifaceted view of any issue that arises, so that I can evaluate it as rationally as possible.
For anyone interested in pursuing PLTW courses, I would want them to know that this is more than just a learning path. This is a journey of hands-on experiences and real-world applications that requires hard work, a passion for personal growth, and intellectual exploration of science.
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.