The Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Engineering program at the Anderson 1 & 2 Career and Technology Center is a project-based curriculum focused on improving critical thinking and problem-solving skills while exposing students to the fundamentals of a wide variety of technical fields. Instructors introduce new concepts and demonstrate techniques, but then step back and facilitate as students learn by doing.
All classes emphasize the importance and development of professional and interpersonal skills through repeated collaborations and presentations, and the necessity of failure in the discovery and design process. Students are expected to develop their confidence in addition to their technical abilities, and should graduate from the program prepared for their next step, be it more education at a 2 or 4-year institution, or entry into an apprenticeship and the workforce.
This program is Honors level, and is especially recommended for students considering an engineering degree, but builds an excellent foundation for any technical career. In addition to Honors GPA credit, students may qualify for college credit each year with a high enough score on the national exam.
9th Grade Semester - Freshman year is an introduction to the design process, with a focus on documenting ideas using precision measuring tools and 3D modeling software. Students use rapid-prototyping processes like 3D printing to create and test their designs, use data to refine and improve their ideas, and get more comfortable communicating their ideas to others. In addition to 3D printers, students use basic shop tools and simple construction techniques to realize their designs.
10th Grade Semester - Students continue to use the design process as sophomores, but with a focus on digital solutions and electrical engineering concepts. Students learn to diagram and build circuits, solder and wire, code robotic vehicles and arms, and mill with CNC machines. Upon completing the course, students should feel comfortable tackling small DIY electronic projects or repairs. The course names are
11th Grade Semester - Junior year focuses on mechanical engineering concepts. Students learn to use simple machines and mechanical advantage as they solve problems using force and motion. Students use physics principles and mathematical modeling to inform and explain their design work, but also build and stress-test real-world models.
12th Grade Semester - Senior year students are given the freedom to select their own problem to try to solve, using any of the tools or techniques they've picked up in previous classes. Because they are blazing their own trail, they have no script, and must handle unexpected complications as they arise. If they are to be successful, students must learn to manage time and resources, seek out experts for help and advice, and lean on each other for feedback and helpful criticism.
9th Grade Class: Introduction to Engineering
10th Grade Classes: Digital Electronics (Required). Students will also be required to pick one of the following courses; Computer Integrated Manufacturing OR Environmental Sustainability.
11th Grade Class: Principles of Engineering (Required).
12th Grade Classes: Engineering Design & Development (Required). Students will also be required to pick one of the following courses; Civil Engineering and Architecture, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, OR Environmental Sustainability.