PLTW Course Descriptions

PTLW Launch (K-5)

  • PLTW Launch taps into students’ exploratory nature, engages them in learning that feels like play, and encourages them to keep discovering – now and for years to come. Whether designing a car safety belt or building digital animations, students engage in critical and creative thinking, build teamwork skills, and learn to try and try again when faced with challenges.

PLTW Gateway (6-8)

  • Design and Modeling Students discover the design process and develop an understanding of the influence of creativity and innovation in their lives. They are then challenged and empowered to use and apply what they’ve learned throughout the unit to design a therapeutic toy for a child who has cerebral palsy.
  • Automation and Robotics Students learn about the history and impact of automation and robotics as they explore mechanical systems, energy transfer, machine automation, and computer control systems. Using the VEX Robotics® platform, students apply what they know to design and program traffic lights, robotic arms, and more.
  • Introduction to Computer Science 1 In this unit, students discover the principles of this fast-growing field. They develop computer science knowledge and skills by focusing on creativity and an iterative design process as they create their own basic apps using MIT App Inventor®.
  • Introduction to Computer Science 2 In ICS 2, students continue to explore the fundamentals of the stimulating career path of computer science. They venture into text-based programming through Python and develop an app to crowdsource and analyze data on a topic of their interest.
  • Energy and the Environment Students are challenged to think big and toward the future as they explore sustainable solutions to our energy needs and investigate the impact of energy on our lives and the world. They use what they’ve learned to design and model alternative energy sources, as well as evaluate options for reducing energy consumption.
  • Flight and Space The exciting world of aerospace comes alive through Flight and Space. Students explore the science behind aeronautics and use their knowledge to design, build, and test an airfoil.
  • Green Architecture In this unit, students learn how to apply green concepts to the fields of architecture and construction. They explore dimensioning, measuring, and architectural sustainability and apply what they have learned to design affordable housing units using Autodesk’s® 3D architectural design software.
  • Medical Detectives Students play the role of real-life medical detectives as they analyze genetic testing results to diagnose disease and study DNA evidence found at a “crime scene.” They solve medical mysteries through hands-on projects and labs, investigate how to measure and interpret vital signs, and learn how the systems of the human body work together to maintain health.

PLTW Engineering (9-12)

  • 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.
  • Aerospace Engineering Students explore the physics of flight and bring what they’re learning to life through hands-on projects like designing a glider and creating a program for an autonomous space rover.
  • Civil Engineering and Architecture Students learn important aspects of building and site design and development, and then they apply what they know to design a commercial building.
  • 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.
  • Computer Science Principles Using Python® as a primary tool, students develop computational-thinking skills and tackle challenges like designing apps to solve real-world problems for clients.
  • Digital Electronics Students explore the foundations of computing by engaging in circuit design processes to create combinational logic and sequential logic (memory) as electrical engineers do in industry.
  • Environmental Sustainability Students investigate and design solutions in response to real-world challenges related to clean and abundant drinking water, food supply, and renewable energy. 
  • 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. 

PLTW Computer Science (9-12)

  • Introduction to Computer Science Students learn the fundamentals of programming and build computational-thinking skills, then apply what they know to design solutions such as crowdsourcing apps. 
  • Computer Science Principles Using Python® as a primary tool, students explore and become inspired by career paths that utilize computing, discover tools that foster creativity and collaboration, and use what they’ve learned to tackle challenges like app development and simulation. This course is endorsed by the College Board, giving students the opportunity to take the AP CSP exam for college credit.
  • Computer Science A Students collaborate to create original solutions to problems of their own choosing by designing and implementing user interfaces and Web-based databases, as well as creating a game for their friends or an app to serve a real need in the their community. This course is aligned to the AP CSA framework.

PLTW Biomedical Science (9-12)

  • Principles of Biomedical Science By engaging in activities like dissecting a sheep heart, students explore concepts of biology and medicine to determine factors that led to the death of a fictional person. 
  • Human Body Systems Through projects such as determining the identity of a skeleton using both forensic anthropology and DNA analysis, students examine the interactions of human body systems and apply what they know to solve real-world medical cases.
  • Medical Interventions Students delve into activities like designing a prosthetic arm as they follow the life of a fictitious family and investigate how to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease.
  • Biomedical Innovation Students build on the knowledge and skills gained from previous courses to design their own innovative solutions for the most pressing health challenges of the 21st century.