‘Exciting’ curriculum helps MHS lead the way

Erica Malloy can hardly wait for the school year to start at Marshalltown High School. She has an exciting and innovative curriculum to share with her students.

Malloy will teach the new principles of biomedical science class at MHS this fall as part of Project Lead the Way initiative at the school.

“It’s a brand new curriculum and it’s really exciting,” Malloy said.

Students will be matching DNA, examining genetic diseases, doing mock crime scene investigations and utilizing a ton of technology as part of the new class.

“It’s a lot of what they would be doing in a college lab, but they are getting this at the high school level,” Malloy said. “When they go to college they will be ahead of the game.”

Malloy is fresh from an intense, two-week training session on the class she completed in Missouri.

This Project Lead the Way biomedical science program will be one of just three in the entire state of Iowa.

MHS is also partnering with local health care facilities such as Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center with plans to have professionals visit the class.

“People in the field can be valuable resources to my students,” Malloy said.

MHS is undergoing a renovation to house the PLTW programs. Malloy said her classroom across from the main office will not be done until October. A chemistry lab will be utilized until then and it will allow for the access of more than 20 laptop computers for the course. Students will also use several other pieces of equipment including an electrophoreses machine, which creates a DNA fingerprint.

“We have so much technology that the kids are going to have access to,” Malloy said. “It will be huge.”

One of the ongoing class projects will include students investigating the blood samples of a woman. Their final project will be determining how the woman died.

Malloy will be teaching six sections of the course and they are all full with students on the waiting list.

MHS Principal Aiddy Phomvisay said MHS students deserve the best and they are getting it with this PLTW curriculum.

“I’m excited about the future and what’s in store for the students and the staff,” Phomvisay said. “This is hands-on learning and very applicable to the work they will do in the near future.”

Marshalltown-area businesses saw the importance of PLTW and stepped up by donating thousands of dollars to the initiative.

“We are so grateful,” Phomvisay said. “We could not have had this without the generous support of the business community.”

Also new, as part of PLTW at MHS, will be engineering courses, which will be taught by longtime Ames High School teacher Mike Lazier, who is currently going through training. Learn more about the engineering course, which will also be held in a renovated classroom, in a future issue of the Times-Republican.