Project Lead The Way
Project Lead The Way (PLTW), has been offered to students in Williamsville high schools since 2000. The program incorporates the skills needed in engineering, using the latest and advanced technology equipment and software in an innovative approach that reinforces math and science skills. Students are introduced to the rigor and discipline of engineering prior to entering college. However, even those who are not intent on pursuing engineering as a career will benefit greatly from the knowledge and logical thought processes that are taught in the curriculum.
All three district high schools offer the Project Lead The Way curriculum. The six Project Lead The Way courses are as follows:
- Design and Drawing for Production (DDP) –A course that teaches problem-solving skills using a design development process. Students apply creative thinking, decision-making and problem solving skills to develop solutions to design problems while utilizing computer hardware and software.
- Computer Integrated Manufacturing – A course that applies principles of robotics and automation. This course builds on computer solid modeling skills developed in Design and Drawing for Production(DDP). Students use CNC equipment to produce actual models of their three-dimensional designs. Fundamental concepts of robotics used in automated manufacturing, and design analysis are included.
- Digital Electronics – A course in applied logic that encompasses the application of electronic circuits and devices. Computer simulation software is used to design and test digital circuitry prior to the actual construction of circuits and devices.
- Principles of Engineering – A course that helps students understand the field of engineering/engineering technology. Exploring various technology systems and manufacturing processes help students learn how engineers and technicians use math, science and technology in an engineering problem solving process to benefit people. The course also includes concerns about social and political consequences of technological change.
- Civil Engineering and Architecture (CEA) – has been added in Williamsville and is intended to serve as a specialization course within the PLTW sequence. CEA is structured to enable students to have a variety of experiences that will provide an overview of both fields. It involves a long-term project, with students working in teams on the development of a local property site, modeling real-world experiences that civil engineers and architects encounter when developing property.
- Engineering Design and Development – This course provides an overview of the fields of Civil Engineering and Architecture, while emphasizing the interrelationship and dependence of both fields on each other. Students use state of the art software to solve real world problems and communicate solutions to hands-on projects and activities.
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a non-profit educational organization founded in the 1980’s that aims to increase the number of students graduating from college with degrees in engineering and engineering technology. It has become the most extensive high school engineering program in the country.
In Williamsville, 339 students in grades 9-12 participate in Project Lead The Way courses at the three high schools PLTW coursework.
One of the more important elements of the PLTW program is professional development for the instructors. The nine Williamsville PLTW teachers have received extensive training and certification for the pre-engineering coursework from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Ongoing training is provided as needed.For more information about Project Lead The Way in Williamsville schools, contact Tom Bird, Instructional Specialist for Science, Engineering & Technology Education at (716) 626-8032. Also, visit the Project Lead The Way web site at www.pltw.org.