Learning Pathways

About PLTW:

Project Lead The Way provides transformative learning experiences for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. We create an engaging, hands-on classroom environment and empower students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills they need to thrive. We also provide teachers with the training, resources, and support they need to engage students in real-world learning. (https://www.pltw.org/)

Laying the Foundation for Success
Global and local challenges surround us. To address these challenges and move forward, we need people who know problem-solving strategies, think critically and creatively, communicate and collaborate with others, and persevere when something does not work the first time. Project Lead The Way empowers students with these skills – relevant to any career or role they take on – and prepares teachers to engage their students in hands-on learning. Whether designing and producing prosthetics or deploying innovative water filtration devices in developing countries, PLTW students and the teachers who support them are empowered to make a difference in their classrooms, in their communities, and around the world.  (https://www.pltw.org/)

AP + PLTW: Partnering to Create More Opportunities for Students
To help prepare all students for the global workforce, the College Board and Project Lead The Way (PLTW) have partnered on a program to encourage student participation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses and build their interest in STEM degrees and careers. The program leverages the success of the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP) and Project Lead The Way’s applied learning programs.

The program has three elements:
• College and career pathways that connect AP and PLTW courses
• Recognition for students who participate in the pathways, and recognition for schools
• A portfolio of career-focused opportunities for students

FIRST ELEMENT: a set of college and career pathways that incorporate both AP and PLTW courses.

Each pathway emphasizes applied learning and consists of three components:
• PLTW courses designed to introduce all students to the field
• AP courses and exams that provide an opportunity for advanced placement and/or college credit
• PLTW specialization courses that focus on knowledge and skills needed for rewarding careers

SECOND ELEMENT: recognition for both students and schools.

Student Recognition

Students who complete the requirements of their chosen pathway earn the AP + PLTW student recognition, a qualification that demonstrates to colleges and employers that the student is ready for advanced course work and interested in careers in this discipline.

To earn the recognition, the student must satisfactorily complete three courses in the pathway – one AP course; one PLTW course; and a third course, either AP or PLTW – and earn a qualifying score of 3 or higher on the AP Exam(s) and a score of Proficient or higher on the PLTW End of Course (EoC) assessment(s).

School Recognition

Schools that bring together AP and PLTW courses in a meaningful way for students to earn recognition for their commitment to helping students get college and career ready in STEM areas.

THIRD ELEMENT: The College Board and Project Lead The Way are developing a portfolio of career-focused opportunities that will allow students to pursue work-based learning with leading industry partners. Opportunities may include industry-based internships, scholarships for two- or four-year degree completion, or priority interviews for students with the credential. More details will be available soon.

BIOMEDICAL SCIENCE PATHWAY

Learning and Growing by Investigating Medical Mysteries

Working with the same equipment and tools used by lab professionals, PLTW Biomedical Science students are empowered to explore and find solutions to some of today’s most pressing medical challenges. Through scaffolded activities that connect learning to life, students step into the roles of biomedical science professionals and investigate topics including human medicine, physiology, genetics, microbiology, and public health. Students work together in teams to find unique solutions, and in the process, learn in-demand, transferable skills like critical thinking and communication.

4 COURSES (science electives, taken in addition to biology, chemistry and physics)

Principles of Biomedical Science

In the introductory course of the PLTW Biomedical Science program, students explore concepts of biology and medicine to determine factors that led to the death of a fictional person. While investigating the case, students examine autopsy reports, investigate medical history, and explore medical treatments that might have prolonged the person’s life. The activities and projects introduce students to human physiology, basic biology, medicine, and research processes while allowing them to design their own experiments to solve problems. 

Human Body Systems

Students examine the interactions of human body systems as they explore identity, power, movement, protection, and homeostasis in the body. Exploring science in action, students build organs and tissues on a skeletal Maniken®; use data acquisition software to monitor body functions such as muscle movement, reflex and voluntary action, and respiration; and take on the roles of biomedical professionals to solve real-world medical cases. 

Medical Interventions

Students follow the life of a fictitious family as they investigate how to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. Students explore how to detect and fight infection; screen and evaluate the code in human DNA; evaluate cancer treatment options; and prevail when the organs of the body begin to fail. Through real-world cases, students are exposed to a range of interventions related to immunology, surgery, genetics, pharmacology, medical devices, and diagnostics.

Biomedical Innovation

In the final course of the PLTW Biomedical Science sequence, students build on the knowledge and skills gained from previous courses to design innovative solutions for the most pressing health challenges of the 21st century. Students address topics ranging from public health and biomedical engineering to clinical medicine and physiology. They have the opportunity to work on an independent project with a mentor or advisor from a university, medical facility, or research institution. 

ENGINEERING SCIENCE PATHWAY

PLTW Engineering Students Become Tomorrow’s Problem Solvers Today

From launching space explorations to delivering safe, clean water to communities, engineers find solutions to pressing problems and turn their ideas into reality. PLTW Engineering empowers students to step into the role of an engineer, adopt a problem-solving mindset, and make the leap from dreamers to doers. The program’ s courses engage students in compelling, real-world challenges that help them become better collaborators and thinkers. Students take from the courses in-demand knowledge and skills they will use in high school and for the rest of their lives, on any career path they take.  

Each PLTW Engineering course engages students in interdisciplinary activities like working with a client to design a home, programming electronic devices or robotic arms, or exploring algae as a biofuel source. These activities not only build knowledge and skills in engineering, but also empower students to develop essential skills such as problem solving, critical and creative thinking, communication, collaboration, and perseverance. 

4 COURSES (science electives, taken in addition to biology, chemistry and physics)

Introduction to Engineering Design

Students dig deep into the engineering design process, applying math, science, and engineering standards to hands-on projects like designing a new toy or improving an existing product.

Principles of Engineering
Students explore a broad range of engineering topics including mechanisms, strength of structure and materials, and automation, and then they apply what they know to take on challenges like designing a self-powered car.

Computer Integrated Manufacturing
Students discover and explore manufacturing processes, product design, robotics, and automation, and then they apply what they have learned to design solutions for real-world manufacturing problems. 

Engineering Design and Development
Students identify a real-world challenge and then research, design, and test a solution, ultimately presenting their unique solutions to a panel of engineers.