Crime scenes help teach biology to CCHS students | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | October 19, 2017 5:00 pm
Last Updated: October 18, 2017 at 10:19 am
By GEORGE SALSBERRY
Hannah Biering popped out of her seat when the door to room 5207 opened on the second floor of Colleton County High School.
The high school freshman had been assigned the task of explaining what was going on inside the BioMed classroom.
“We have been working on a crime scene,” Biering explained. “We had to read police reports and have been trying to find evidence. We have been looking at hair, footprints, fingerprints and right now, we are working on DNA.”
The gathered evidence is being used to establish a DNA strand — that strand will then enable the students to identify individuals who had been at the location.
“I want to be a neurologist, so I have to learn about DNA,” Biering said. About a month into the new class, Biering and her classmates have already learned about blood types, about how to determine the different blood types.
“I love it, it is my favorite subject,” she offered.
BioMed is one of the Health Careers Academy blended courses, combining Biomedical Services and Biology 1, said Jerolyn E. Murray, lead facilitator of the CCHS Health Careers Academy.
The BioMed Class, taught by Ann Robinson and Madeline Brawley, is part of Project Lead the Way, in which students explore concepts of biology and medicine to determine the factors that led to the death of a fictional person.
Murray pointed out that every course in the Health Careers Academy is a blended course, taught by two facilitators. She is in a nearby classroom getting ready to facilitate the Integration Calculations Unit, which blends the coursework found in Algebra I and Integrated Business Applications, a business course. “They are regular courses, traditionally taught separately,” Murray said.
The students are learning to apply mathematical concepts from their algebra coursework to complete business tasks using Microsoft Office software.
“By blending Algebra 1 with ICU, they see why they need to learn Microsoft Excel, they see the math at work in a spread sheet,” Murray explained.
In the medical field, data technicians collect data and report it to various organizations. They prepare business reports and tend to the medical records of the patients, Murray said. In today’s health care, “everything is going onto computers.”
“Our goal is to show that the health care industry is not restricted to pursuing a career as a nurse or doctor. There are a variety of careers that they can go into. The purpose of the Health Careers Academy is to empower our students to enter into college and/or careers that are connected to the health care industry or business,” Murray said.
The approximately 90 freshmen in the new Health Careers Academy might have been in the school district’s Health and Human Services course of study last year.
One of the major changes in the health career curriculum was to begin using project-based learning, which Murray described as a teaching model “that made learning more relevant.”
CCHS Principal Dr. Melissa Crosby, Murray said, was the mastermind of the change that has the students “learn through projects that connect to real world activities or real world problems.” It is the same teaching system being used in the high school’s New Tech curriculum.
Project-based learning, Murray said, “opens up the opportunity to open their thinking — it fosters a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset, where you feel that you are box and that these are the only options.”
Learning the whole gamut of things produces a growth mindset to always push forward to the next level, Murray said. “They can see why they are going to need to learn the information.”
The freshmen who make up the inaugural Health Care Academy, Murray said, “were identified through their Individual Graduation Plan. The plan, formulated while in the middle school, is designed to outline coursework for high school (for the students) to be on the career path they want to be on.”
Some of the students could graduate from high school with a diploma and a Certified Nursing Assistant license.
Those students can go straight into the job market while their classmates, by completing the Health Care Academy, will be positioned to move onto the next step in their career paths: college or technical school.
To help those interested in a healthcare career explore the options available to them, the high school is partnering with Lowcountry AHEC. Work with the state agency, Murray said, is giving the students “additional exposure to opportunities in healthcare.”
The partnership “shows them different opportunities and gives them the tools for them to grow into what they can be.
“The more opportunities we provide,” Murray explained, “the better our community is going to become. We want our kids to be able make a contribution in a positive way.”