Biomedical Innovation Class Begins Their Year Long Research Projects


(image from Matthew Riffee’s twitter account)

By Michaela Erfling

This year, a new class was brought to FHSD: Biomedical Innovations. This class is the capstone course for Project Lead the Way Biomedical classes and is offered to seniors.

“I started taking PLTW classes, because I thought they sounded really cool and I knew I wanted to go into the medical field,” senior Reilly Harris said. “So, I thought they would give me good insight on that.”

BI gives students the opportunity to explore real world problems of the medical community in a greater depth than the first three courses do. This class, taught at FHN by Matthew Riffee, contains eight different problems that the students solve throughout the year, one of those being a year long independent research project.

“My favorite part of teaching the BI class is the amount of autonomy usage, which means choice, for the students,” Riffee said. “It’s a nice culmination to three years of biomedical classes.”

The research project is a large aspect of the classes curriculum. Through this project the students tackle real world problem pertaining to biomedical science. Students are given the option of what they want to study and are in charge of forming a procedure that correlates with the study they desire to carry out.

“I want my students to experience what it’s going to be like in the career world and what it means to be able to pull the project all together, time management wise and see the benefit and reward from it,” Riffee said.

Students taking the course have already chosen their research project topics. Students did not have to specifically pick something relating directly to the medical field. Senior Erin Stock selected the topic of: what is the effect of confidence on test taking skills? Through this project, Stock hopes to learn the outcome and gain insight as to if level of confidence affects test scores. Students are also required to have at least one mentor to help guide and answer any questions that might arise. For Stock, her mentors are conveniently located at FHN.

“[My mentors are] Mr. Fowler and Mr. Willott, they will be really helpful because they know what they are doing in their fields and can help prevent bias in the experiment,” said Stock.

There are many other topics that could have been chosen. For example, students Reilly Harris and Breanna Jefferies are analyzing how students get detentions. They will be reviewing data on how students receive detentions and whether or not they repeat the same offense and get another detention for it, essentially determining if detentions are effective or not.