Project Lead the Way

Project Lead The Way is the nation's leading provider of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs. Through world-class K-12 curriculum, high-quality teacher professional development, and outstanding partnerships, PLTW is helping students develop the skills needed to succeed in the global economy. Currently PLTW is in over 6,500 schools across the United States.

At Kearney High School, we are proud to offer the PLTW Pathway to Engineering and PLTW Pathway to Computer Science. In these pathways, students apply science, technology, engineering and math 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.

Students at Kearney High School can take the following sequence of courses in engineering:

  1. Introduction to Engineering Design (IED) - Students dig deep into the engineering design process, applying math, science, and engineering standards to hands-on projects. They work both individually and in teams to design solutions to a variety of problems using 3D modeling software, and use an engineering notebook to document their work.

  2. Principles of Engineering (POE) - Through problems that engage and challenge, students explore a broad range of engineering topics, including mechanisms, the strength of structures and materials, and automation. Students develop skills in problem solving, research, and design while learning strategies for design process documentation, collaboration, and presentation.

  3. Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) - Manufactured items are part of everyday life, yet most students have not been introduced to the high-tech, innovative nature of modern manufacturing. This course illuminates the opportunities related to understanding manufacturing. At the same time, it teaches students about manufacturing processes, product design, robotics, and automation. Students can earn a virtual manufacturing badge recognized by the National Manufacturing Badge system.

  4. Civil Engineering and Architecture (CEA) - Students learn important aspects of building and site design and development. They apply math, science, and standard engineering practices to design both residential and commercial projects and document their work using 3D architecture design software.

  5. Engineering Design and Development (EDD) - The knowledge and skills students acquire throughout PLTW Engineering come together in EDD as they identify an issue and then research, design, and test a solution, ultimately presenting their solution to a panel of engineers. Students apply the professional skills they have developed to document a design process to standards, completing EDD ready to take on any post-secondary program or career.

Students at Kearney High School can take the following sequence of courses in Computer Science:

  1. Introduction to Computer Science (ICS) - Designed to be the first computer science course for students who have never programmed before, ICS is an optimal starting point for the PLTW Computer Science program. Students work in teams to create apps for mobile devices using MIT App Inventor®. They explore the impact of computing in society and build skills in digital citizenship and cybersecurity. Beyond learning the fundamentals of programming, students build computational thinking skills by applying computer science to collaboration tools, modeling and simulation, and data analysis. In addition, students transfer the understanding of programming gained in App Inventor to text-based programming in Python® and apply their knowledge to create algorithms for games of chance and strategy.

  2. Computer Science Principles (CSP) - Using Python® as a primary tool and incorporating multiple platforms and languages for computation, this course aims to develop computational thinking, generate excitement about career paths that utilize computing, and introduce professional tools that foster creativity and collaboration. While this course can be a student's first in computer science, students without prior computing experience are encouraged to start with Introduction to Computer Science. CSP helps students develop programming expertise and explore the workings of the Internet. Projects and problems include app development, visualization of data, cybersecurity, and simulation. The course curriculum is a College Board-approved implementation of AP CS Principles.