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Project Lead The Way

Project Lead The Way provides a comprehensive approach to STEM Education. Through activity-, project-, and problem-based curriculum, PLTW gives students a chance to apply what they know, identify problems, find unique solutions, and lead their own learning. North Kansas City School District was one of the first to offer PLTW and recently received recognition for their 10 years with the program. Students in 7th through 12th grade can access PLTW courses in their schools by taking PLTW Gateway, Engineering, Biomedical Science and/or Computer Science courses.

Middle school is the perfect time for students to explore and learn that there is more than one way to reach a solution and Gateway is one way to do that. PLTW Gateway provides engineering curriculum for middle school students that challenges, inspires, and offers schools variety and flexibility. Students get rigorous and relevant experiences learning through the use of industry-leading technology to solve problems while gaining skills in communication, collaboration, critical-thinking, and creativity.

PLTW Engineering is more than just another high school engineering program. It is about applying engineering, science, math, and technology to solve complex, open-ended problems in a real-world context. Students focus on the process of defining and solving a problem, not on getting the "right" answer. They learn how to apply STEM knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to make the world a better place through innovation. PLTW students have said that PLTW Engineering influenced their post-secondary decisions and helped shape their future. Even for students who do not plan to pursue engineering after high school, the PLTW Engineering program provides opportunities to develop highly transferable skills in collaboration, communication, and critical thinking, which are relevant for any coursework or career.

PLTW Biomedical Science
It was a hot summer morning, 92°F. An emergency call came in at 9:45 a.m. A man contacted the police to report that he was worried about his next-door neighbor, a woman named Anna. He said he had spoken to Anna the previous morning when he saw her walking her dog around 6:30 a.m. He decided to call the police this morning because Anna’s dog had been barking excitedly for the last two hours. He tried to call Anna on the telephone, but no one answered. Both the police and an EMT arrived at the scene at 9:56 a.m. The EMT determined that Anna was dead. The police immediately notified your team of crime scene investigators as well as the medical examiner, both of which were dispatched to the house. Has a crime been committed?

This is an excerpt from the case presented to students in the first course of the PLTW Biomedical Science program, Principles of Biomedical Science. From the moment students walk into the classroom, they are immersed in the mysterious death of Anna and asked to investigate, document, and analyze evidence to solve the case. Case-based scenarios like this one span all PLTW Biomedical Science courses. Students explore a range of careers in biomedical sciences as they learn content in the context of real-world, hands-on activities, projects, and problems.

PLTW Computer Science
The projected number of job openings in 2018 for STEM fields will reach 2.8 million. Of these, approximately 1.4 million jobs will be for computer specialists. Like many other STEM fields, the current demand and supply are mismatched, as computer science career openings outpace students' skills and interest. Also, like many other fields, computer science interest starts long before a student decides on a major or even applies to college. How do we prepare students for the amazing opportunities that require computational thinking?

The high school program, PLTW Computer Science, is currently underway in North Kansas City schools, inspiring students to consider the endless possibilities in careers that use computing.

For more information on Project Lead The Way, contact Renee Freers, Ed.D. (816) 321-4636. 

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