• Biomedical Innovation | Course Outline

    You are about to embark on detailed missions in science and medicine. Apply all you have learned in the BMS pathway to solve problems, design solutions, and complete each medical mission.

    The following is a summary of the units of study that are included in the course for the academic year. Alignment with NGSS, Common Core, and other standards are available through the PLTW Alignment web-based tool. Activities, projects, and problems are provided to the teacher in the form of student-ready handouts, teacher's notes, and supplementary materials, including resource documents, student response sheets, and presentations. 

    BI Unit Summary

    Problem 1 Design of an Effective Emergency Room

    Problem 2 Exploring Human Physiology

    Problem 3 Design of a Medical Innovation

    Problem 4 Investigating Environmental Health

    Problem 5 Combating a Public Health Issue

    Problem 6 Molecular Biology in Action (Optional)

    Problem 7 Forensic Autopsy (Optional)


    Problem 1: Design of an Effective Emergency Room

    In this problem students apply their knowledge of emergency medical careers, diagnostic testing and patient evaluation, human body systems, and medical interventions to analyze the workings of an emergency room and discuss inefficiencies that may hinder appropriate clinical care. Student teams will work collaboratively to design a more efficient emergency medicine delivery system. As students work through their designs, they will review research methods, practice effective presentation skills, and learn project management techniques.

    Problem 2: Exploring Human Physiology

    In this problem, students build upon what they know about the research process in order to design, conduct, and analyze an experimental study. Students will choose a question relating to one or more body systems that they are interested in studying and will work with a team to investigate and answer that question. As students work through the experimental process, they will review and expand what they know about experimental design, collection of data, statistical analysis of data, and the presentation of data.

    Problem 3: Design of a Medical Innovation

    In this problem, students review the diseases and disorders, as well as the corresponding medical interventions they have investigated in previous courses, and propose a new or better medical device, pharmaceutical, surgical procedure, or genetic intervention. Students will work with a team to build a prototype, model, or schematic of the intervention as well as develop a marketing plan for the product. As students work through this problem, they will review the design process, complete a literature review, and further practice effective presentation skills.

    Problem 4: Investigating Environmental Health

    In this problem, students will explore how substances or chemicals in the environment impact human health. Students will investigate a disease cluster in a fictional family and assess the activities of the individuals for environmental risks. Students will test water samples for the presence of contaminants that could be detrimental to human health and use molecular biology techniques to identify specific microorganisms. Students will explore the field of toxicology and design an experiment to test the effects of a particular chemical and doses of that chemical on plant growth. Students will then compile a comprehensive environmental health profile and action plan for their local area.

    Problem 5: Combating a Public Health Issue

    In this problem, students draw on information they have learned in previous courses about public health, epidemiology, and disease diagnosis to work through one of two epidemiology studies. In each study, students will analyze data to define the outbreak, generate a hypothesis by diagnosing the patients’ symptoms and identifying the disease pathogen, design and analyze an epidemiological study to test the hypothesis, and outline a plan for initiating control and prevention measures. Students will then identify a local, national, or global public health crisis and write a mini-grant proposal, based on the National Institutes of Health grant structure, outlining a plan with intervention strategies. As students work through this problem, they will review evidence analysis, the design process, methodology, and analyze study data to evaluate risk.

    Problem 6: Molecular Biology in Action (Optional)

    In this problem, students will complete a multi-step, long-term molecular biology experiment. Students will design and work through a protocol to construct and clone recombinant DNA. They will perform DNA ligation and bacterial transformation, as well as restriction analysis of the completed plasmid. Alternatively, students will work through a more in-depth DNA cloning and sequencing project. This laboratory investigation provides students with the opportunity to isolate plant DNA, perform a ligation and bacterial transformation, purify a plasmid, submit DNA for sequencing, and present all work to GenBank, the NIH genetic sequence database, for publication. As students work through either of these projects, they will learn new laboratory skills, practice laboratory troubleshooting techniques, and review proper protocol for research notebook documentation.

    Problem 7: Forensic Autopsy (Optional)

    In this problem, students will work as medical experts to work through mysterious death cases. First, as forensic pathologists, students will examine a fetal pig using the same protocol as a human autopsy. Second, students will draw on information they have learned in previous courses about human body systems to design a fictional case of death. Students will showcase the clues left behind in the body and tell the story of how the person died through medical documents, including an autopsy report and medical history forms. Students will finally be tasked with solving another group’s proposed case.