PAYNESVILLE, Minn. — High school students in central Minnesota are reading X-rays, growing bacteria and dissecting a heart as part of a national project aimed at helping them solve real-world problems in high-demand careers.

Paynesville High School offers two biomedical classes through Project Lead the Way, a national nonprofit that develops classroom curriculum and resources to help students learn transportable skills, the St. Cloud Times (http://on.sctimes.com/2pvA68V ) reported.

In the classes, sophomores, juniors and seniors are learning by doing, exploring science and health careers along the way. Teacher Jesse Rasmussen said the classes, Principles of Biomedical Sciences and Human Body Systems, are based on concepts professionals are exploring in health care.

“Both of these classes are based around real-life connection, real-life things that actual people are doing in the profession, right now,” Rasmussen said. “Project Lead the Way believes in learning by doing, so it’s a lot more hands-on activities rather than memorizing stuff out of a textbook.”

Students do glucose tolerance testing in one of the classes.

“It’s the exact same test that people get in the hospital to figure out if they’re diabetic,” Rasmussen said. “So it’s real and relevant work.”

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects the health care industry will add about 2.3 million new jobs from 2014 to 2024, growing by nearly 20 percent. Weidner said a handful of his students have considered medical careers.

“I know I have at least four or five students going directly into nursing,” Rasmussen said. “I’ve had a couple go pre-med. … We have lots of people that are interested in going into the medical field.”

Senior Emily Weidner said she wants to become a cardiologist.

“The medical field is really interesting to me,” Weidner said. “I think the human body and anatomy is really, really fascinating, especially the heart.”


Information from: St. Cloud Times, http://www.sctimes.com