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Biomed vs. Forensics What's the difference?

Students interested in pursuing a science-related career should consider taking a PLTW Biomedical Science or Forensics class. Each course offers its own unique opportunities for students to gain valuable experience in the respective fields. One thing for students to keep in mind are the prerequisite requirements for each class. "You have to have had biology and chemistry and passed both with at least a C+ average. If you haven’t taken chemistry, I’ll look at students who have taken something like ICP or perhaps they took physics instead. For ICP, the expectation would be that their average was a little higher that a C+. They should really be getting a B+ or an A. If they got a C+ in physics, that would be fine," says forensics teacher Danielle Myers. "For first year class, students just need a C or better in their previous year’s science class because if they have lower than that, they are probably going to struggle," says Mike Bishop, who teaches first and third year PLTW Biomed.

What is the four-year PLTW Biomedical Sciences Program?

"The first year is Principles of Biomedical Science; it’s an introductory course. The second year is Human Body Systems, which Mrs. Teevan teaches. Third year is Medical Interventions where we follow a family and look at all the problems they have - how to diagnose, how to treat, how to test for them. The fourth year is somewhat of a capstone class, which is Biomedical Innovations. All of the classes are weighted so that’s always a positive. Mrs. Teevan’s fourth year class has internships second semester, which a lot of kids enjoy. If you do all four years of Biomed, you earn a white lab coat which is always fun," said Bishop.

Click the above button to visit the PLTW Biomedical Sciences website for more information about the national program.

[ Teacher Spotlight ]

Ms. Danielle Myers

Danielle Myers

Forensics

"I’m the teacher that designed this class for Center Grove High School. I had the opportunity to work with a program called The STEM Teach Program, which was a state-run program that affiliated a lot of different colleges together here in Indiana to provide graduate level opportunities for teachers, so I’ve completed 24 graduate credit hours in forensics, mostly working through St. Joseph’s college. Using what I’ve learned from those classes is what helped me build the curriculum for this class," Myers said. In 2016, Ms. Myers was named an International STEM Fellow and selected to travel to China, which is a prestigious honor. Click the button below for more information about Ms. Myers and her award.

PLTW Biomed students Grace Bridgewater '20 and Jamie Jackomis '20 work together to run gel electrophoresis.

Students complete various labs in PLTW Biomed, including dissecting a sheep heart, fingerprinting, and running gel electrophoresis. Students have the opportunity to evaluate a crime scene and analyze blood spatter. According to Andrea Teevan, students in PLTW Biomed have the opportunity to complete the following labs as well as many more: "solving a forensic Missing Person case, dissecting an eye and running an optometry clinic, blood typing, running their own scientific experiments, urinalysis testing, blood typing, brain mapping, etc."

"We do labs almost everyday," says Bishop.

Forensics students took a field trip to a body farm to study with Dr. Neal Haskell.

One of the highlights that students look forward to in forensics is going to study at a body farm. "Students will be going up to work directly with Dr. Neal Haskell who is the country’s leading forensic entomologist. We’re going to study at his body farm. I’m setting out pigs for students and they’re going to collect blowfly specimens from those pigs. We’re going to raise them up in the fume hood and then we’re going to kill them and identify them and that’s going to help us establish when the pig died," said Myers. This may sound revolting to some, but fascinating to many. Similar to PLTW Biomed, forensics takes a hands-on approach to learning. According to Myers, "There are very few days that will go by where we’re not back here working on some sort of evidence."

Who should take PLTW Biomed?

"It’s really for anybody who’s willing to work. It’s a weighted course - it’s not going to be a sleeper where you just show up and get whatever grade. As long as the student has a good work ethic and is curious about science, come on in." -Mike Bishop
"Anyone interested in pursuing the field that has a genuine love of learning." -Andrea Teevan

Who should take Forensics?

"This is a really good class for any student who has a really strong constitution because we do some really gross things in class (blood spattering, working with dead carcasses), or someone who’s interested in sciences that are a little bit different from everything else that we offer here. It doesn’t have to be someone who’s interested in forensics as a career, but someone who just has an interest. Or, it's for someone who is just looking for a science elective. It’s just really important that they have those prerequisites and they don’t get grossed out easily by things." -Danielle Myers

What are some possible career paths?

Biomed

The unique courses offered by CGHS allow students to explore their passions and prepare for post-secondary education in their desired field of study. Mrs. Teevan recommends a link that names possible career paths of PLTW Biomed students. She made sure to note that "the possibilities are endless," but the website is a good source. Click the button below for access to the link.

Forensics

"[Forensics prepares students for] really any type of career in science, especially the life sciences. A lot of what we do in here is very heavily lab-based so the students have to think very critically about what they see in a crime scene. It prepares them for any type of lab class in college or a lab or research-based career option. If there are students interested in medical sciences, then this is a great introductory course into a slightly different aspect of the body sciences," said Myers.

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