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Expansion of Project Lead The Way

Chase Linsenmeyer, Staff

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Project Lead The Way is a United States 501 non-profit organization that develops STEM curricula for use by U.S. elementary, middle, and high schools; it also provides professional development training for instructors. In recent years, however, PLTW has expanded; for example, they have expanded computer science to more than 150 schools in 31 states.

The program has four different courses to offer: PLTW Launch, PLTW Gateway, PLTW Computer Science, PLTW Engineering, PLTW Biomedical Science.

“We believe all students – beginning at a young age – need access to the real world, applied learning experiences that empower them to gain the skills they need to thrive in college, career, and beyond” as it states on their website.

PLTW has received recognition from the White House for its expansion of the program, and the U.S. Secretary of Education congratulated the program and recognized how important it is for children to start learning as early as possible and highlighted PLTW Launch.

The classes are taught by Robert Oehrli. Many of his students enjoy the class a lot; one, for example, is junior Selena Richter.

“I like the class a lot. It is very fun, the atmosphere of the class is always easy going and fun–also the people here are really fun,” Richter explained.

The program started last year so the class was promoted to freshman to try to get them interested in the program. If students started as a freshman then will be able to take all four courses available like, introduction to engineering design, digital electronics, principles of engineering, aerospace engineering, and engineering design and development.

As the students take different courses each year, they continue to learn about new technologies.
“Last year was a lot of computer based stuff like design and 3D printing. This year is mostly hands on stuff like building things,” junior David Peyton explained.

Another teacher Kevin Bochinski teaches the digital electronics course of PLTW, and he believes in the class being very helpful and practical to the students.

“There is a very high expectation of our students. They are expected to go into a problem and find a solution,” Mr. Bochinski explained. The classes are extremely helpful and teach not only engineering but also, problem solving, and finding creative solutions to problems.”

He also talked about the creative aspects of the class.

“There are about 7 to 8 projects in a year. One class had to create a circuit that displays their birthday, and in Engineering Principles they build bridges and test for the strength and the weak points,” he said.

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Expansion of Project Lead The Way