WASHOUGAL — When Washougal High School’s new CTE Health Sciences teacher Mel Horton asked herself, “how do I create meaning and creative approaches to something like learning human body systems while incorporating essential 21st-century skills?,” she came up with the perfect solution. What better than to have students “assume” the role of the system, then apply for a job?
Students began by researching the body system of their choice to understand how its highly specialized organs worked together to execute very specific functions. They used that research to write a cover letter, resume and prepare for a specific job interview at the fictional Panther Patient Care Service health care company. The jobs and corresponding body systems were Transportation (cardiovascular and digestive); Event Coordinator (reproductive and muscular); Facility Security (lymphatic and integumentary); Custodial (digestive and respiratory); and Manager (nervous and endocrine). Horton even created an extensive and professional-appearing website that offered detailed job descriptions including work summaries, yearly pay and essential functions. The site also shared details about the background, mission, and goals of the make-believe business, so the students could demonstrate understanding of the company culture for an effective and professional cover letter and interview.
“I have a lot of juniors and seniors applying for college and new jobs, so I thought providing some guidance in these areas would help hook and engage them,” said Horton. Washougal High School and district staff volunteered to conduct the interviews, and the project concluded with one student being hired for each of the five positions. Those students received a congratulation letter, a 100 Grand (as in the candy bar) signing bonus and a little “Welcome to the Company” gift. However, all students gained knowledge and life skills.