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Forging New Generations of Engineers
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a not-for-profit organization partnering with public schools, organizations in the private sectors, and higher education institutions to increase the number and quality of engineers graduating from our educational system. The PLTW curriculum was first introduced in 12 New York State high schools in the 1997-98 school year. Today, the programs are offered in over 8,000 schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia.
PLTW students are introduced to the scope, rigor and discipline of engineering, computer science and biomedical sciences to really get a feeling of the rewards and benefits of being a part of such a powerful career. Students participating in PLTW courses are better prepared for college engineering programs and more likely to be successful, thus reducing the attrition rate in these college programs, which currently exceeds 50 percent nationally.
Students from South Point Middle School have fun building a spaghetti tower as their exposure to engineering during a visit to Cal Poly Pomona (2014).
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PLTW Courses for Elementary Schools, Middle Schools and High Schools
Project Lead The Way has created a special series of courses that are incorporated into the elementary school, middle school and high school years. These courses complement math and science college preparatory programs to inspire interest and establish a solid background in engineering and technology. Three sets of curricula and courses are available to school districts: Launch (for elementary school), Gateway (for middle school) and Engineering, Biomedical Science, and Computer Science (for high school).
Elementary School: Launch
Through Launch, students become problem solvers. Students use structured approaches, like the engineering design process, and employ critical thinking. They apply STEM knowledge, skills, and habits of mind, learning that it is OK to take risks and make mistakes. As teachers and students learn and discover together, education becomes far more engaging.
Engaging students at a young age builds confidence, grows interest, and puts them on course for strong accomplishments in middle school, high school, and beyond.
Gateway is an activity-oriented middle school curriculum — a program designed to help students in grades six through eight explore math, science, and technology. There are ten independent nine-week units.
Middle school students are naturally curious, and these units are designed to challenge and engage young minds in exciting activities.
The structured yet flexible high school program offers students in-depth, hands-on knowledge of engineering and technology-based careers. The three-tiered approach to learning flows from foundation courses to specialization courses to a capstone course.
This curriculum prepares students for demanding two- and four-year college engineering programs.
High School: Biomedical Science
The rigorous and relevant four-course PLTW Biomedical Science sequence allows students to explore a range of careers in biomedical sciences as they learn content in the context of real-world, hands-on activities, projects, and problems.
High School: Computer Science
The curriculum engages high school students in computational thinking through activity-, project-, problem-based learning and gets them excited about the possibilities in careers that use computing.