Turning the PLTW Blog Into a Class Assignment: What One Teacher Learned

Ahnie Ingram has been teaching for 15 years – eight of which she has taught PLTW Principles of Biomedical Science (PBS). She has also taught Medical Interventions (MI) for five years and Human Body systems for two years. This is her second year teaching at Triangle Math and Science Academy in Cary, North Carolina, where she teaches PBS, MI, Pre-AP Biology and AP Biology. Ahnie also serves as the school's HOSA advisor, science fair coordinator, and science department head.

I saw on Twitter that PLTW was asking for student story submissions about their experiences in PLTW classes. I quickly copied the link and posted it to all of my PLTW sections in Google Classroom. Since it was near the end of the quarter, I encouraged students to participate by offering a few bonus points on their last assessment if they shared their PLTW story.

About 10 students completed the assignment, and they also had to copy their blog post and share it in an email with me so that I knew to whom to reward points. I was so blown away by their stories and takeaways from the class.

Most of the students who participated were in Principles of Biomedical Science, so this year is their first experience with Project Lead The Way. As their PLTW Biomedical Science teacher, I was very encouraged that they enjoyed learning how to apply their sciences to real-world scenarios and they are enjoying the collaboration and hands-on projects in order to make those connections.

When I talk to others about the PLTW Biomedical Science program, I always boast about all of the lab skills the students learn throughout the program and how far ahead these students are at the end of the program, compared to those who are just taking upper-level science classes. Reading the stories of those students who have been through two or three PLTW Biomedical Science classes reaffirms this claim.

Through Medical Interventions, they feel confident and well-prepared for their upcoming college experiences. While most want to pursue a biomedical science degree of some sort, they know that they have gained more than lab skills throughout this course. They have gained confidence in presentations, learned how to work efficiently in a group, as well as learned how to listen to others’ perspectives and ideas. These are transferable skills that will take them far in whatever career path they choose down the road.

Teaching Project Lead The Way has transformed how I interact with students and build relationships with them, as well as transformed the way in which I teach my other, non-PLTW classes. I see the value in collaboration, creativity, and real-life experiences within the sciences. When we, as teachers, begin to engage learners in this way and give them more responsibility in their learning, the content begins to make sense to them, and they enjoy the content so much more.

Encourage your students to share their experiences here for a chance to be featured on the PLTW Blog! 

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.