In the 2015-2016 academic year, the AGBU Alex and Marie Manoogian School in Southfield, Michigan—under the guidance of high school principal Dr. Hosep Torossian— became a pioneer in its initiation of the first Project Lead The Way (PLTW) course offered at any Central Michigan University-authorized charter school. PLTW is the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs. PLTW is the only STEM education program endorsed by the Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. It is offered to more than 450,000 students in 4,700 schools in all 50 states. There are currently 118 schools in Michigan offering PLTW courses. The first course at the AGBU Alex and Marie Manoogian School—titled Project Lead The Way-Human Body Systems (PLTW-HBS) and instructed by teacher Mae Gosaynie—exemplifies student engagement and motivation at its finest. Mrs. Gosaynie received her training and certification for PLTW last summer at Lawrence Technological University.
This course is designed around a MANIKEN® on which each body system is created out of clay. The systems and their respective organs are labelled with tape flags. Concept maps of the mechanisms utilized in the systems are then created using Inspiration software on classroom notebooks. Scenarios of patients with symptoms are provided to the students, so that they can analyze the symptoms and diagnose the fictitious patients. Students take on the role of forensic anthropologists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, biometric engineers—for a total of eleven careers. All projects are real-world authentic assessments as they provide students with the opportunity to experience firsthand the challenges faced by these professionals each day in their communities. At the end of the year students have the option to take an online assessment administered by pltw.org that may offer them college/university equivalency credit if they score a six or above on a scale of 1-10.
PLTW-HBS, through its rigorous yet engaging curriculum, introduces students to state-of the-art equipment and technology, such as Vernier Logger Pro Graphing Analysis Software, Inspiration software, micropipettes, Fetal Dopplers, etc. Through the use of this equipment, students gain self-esteem and acquire the skills they will need to become successful in institutions of higher education and in the global economy.