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Arcola to Start Engineering Program in 19-20
Tom Mulligan
Monday, January 14, 2019

The district is very excited to be offering Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering classes for the 2019-2020 school year.  Project Lead the Way is an organization that offers stem curriculum in computer science, engineering and biomedical science. They believe in providing students with real world applied learning experiences. In addition to providing the innovative curriculum, they also provide and train teachers on an instructional approach they call activity-project-problem based learning (APB).  This is a research-supported approach that empowers students to discover and explore interest, imagine and design solutions to real world challenges and become independent, confident problem solvers. For an overview video on PLTW, click this link https://www.pltw.org/

In the 2019-2020 school year, the district will be offering a 9-week course to junior high school students called Design and Modeling. Students in this course apply the design process to solve problems and understand the influence of creativity and innovation in their lives. Using design software, they create a virtual image of their designs and produce a portfolio to showcase their innovative solutions.  This course provides the foundation for the high school engineering courses.

The district will also be offering the course called Introduction to Engineering (IED) at the high school. In this course, students are introduced to the engineering profession and a common approach to the solution of engineering problems, an engineering design process. Utilizing the activity-project-problem-based (APB) teaching and learning, students’ progress from completing structured activities to solving open ended projects and problems that require them to develop planning, documentation, communication, and other professional skills. For more information on this course, click on the link IED Course Resume.

In the 2020-2021 school year, the district will add the Principles of Engineering (POE) course. Students must successfully complete IED before taking POE. In this course, students explore some of the major concepts that they will encounter in a postsecondary engineering course of study. Through problems that engage and challenge, students explore a broad range of engineering topics, including mechanisms, the strength of materials and structures, automation, and kinematics. For more information on this course, click on the link POE Course Resume.

In order to offer these classes, there is a large commitment of resources.  Two key areas include changes to facilities and professional development for teachers.

Facilities - the district will be remodeling the agriculture shop area and actually added the PLTW classroom in the front of that current space. The district maintenance crew will be coordinating the installation of a wall, adding electric outlets and adding storage for the projects that will occur in the various classes. In addition, the district will be purchasing all the supplies needed, adding furniture and purchasing the necessary technology. This room will also be able to be used by the various agriculture classes as well. This additional room is possible because the district has recently constructed a new shed, which allows the district maintenance staff to remove all of their equipment and vehicles from the current agriculture room!

Teachers - the teachers of these courses must attend intensive training in the summer.  The middle school courses require several days of training and the high school classes require two weeks of training.

This new course sequence is directly aligned to the school district vision and several strategic goals!

 

*Wording for the different courses offered were taken directly from the course descriptions provide by PLTW.