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Project Lead the Way (PLTW)


Project Lead the Way at Marshalltown High School

Biomedical Sciences:

  • In Principals of Biomedical Science (PBS), students investigate various health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, sickle-cell disease, hypercholesterolemia, and infectious diseases. They determine the factors that led to the death of a fictional person, and investigate lifestyle choices and medical treatments that might have prolonged the person’s life. The activities and projects introduce
    students to human physiology, medicine, and research processes.
  • In Human Body Systems (HBS), Students examine the interactions of human body systems as they explore identity, power, movement, protection, and homeostasis. HBS students design experiments, investigate the structures and functions of the human body, and use data acquisition software to monitor body functions such as muscle movement, reflex and voluntary action, and respiration. Exploring science in action, students build organs and tissues on a skeletal manikin, work through interesting real world cases and often play the roles of biomedical professionals to solve medical mysteries.
  • In Medical Interventions (MI), 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.
  • In Biomedical Innovations (BI), 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 design project with a mentor or advisor from a university, medical facility, or research institution.

Computer Science:

  • Computer Science Essentials provides an excellent entry point for students to begin or continue the PLTW Computer Science PreK-12 experience. Students explore how innovations in computing impact and connect our world. With a gentle introduction to programming, students will learn how to put their designs into practice. Students will use visual, block-based programming and seamlessly transition to text-based programming with languages such as Python to create apps and develop websites, and learn how to make computers work together to put their design into practice. Students will apply computational thinking practices, build vocabulary, and collaborate just as computing professionals do to create products that address topics and problems important to them.
  • In Computer Science Principles, students work in teams to develop computational thinking and solve problems. The course covers the College Board’s new CS Principles framework. The course does not aim to teach mastery of a single programming language but aims instead to develop computational thinking, to generate excitement about the field of computing, and to introduce computational tools that foster creativity. The course also aims to build students’ awareness of the tremendous demand for computer specialists and for professionals in all fields who have computational skills.
  • In Computer Science A, students learn the fundamentals of Java-based programming through the creation of android applications. This course is designed to be equivalent to AP Computer Science A, which will allow students to register for the AP exam; scores of 3 or higher earn college level credit in Java programming.
  • The PLTW Cybersecurity course gives students a broad exposure to the many aspects of digital and information security, while encouraging socially responsible choices and 
    ethical behavior. It inspires algorithmic thinking, computational thinking, and especially, “outside-the-box” thinking. Students explore the many educational and career paths available to cybersecurity experts, as well as other careers that comprise the field of information security.


  • In Introduction to Engineering Design (IED), students learn problem-solving skills using a design development process. Models of product solutions are created, analyzed, and communicated using solid modeling computer-aided design software.  This is the introductory course that can be followed up with Principles of Engineering, as part of the PLTW curriculum.
  • Principles of Engineering (POE) is the second foundational course following Introduction to Engineering Design (IED). It continues to teach problem-solving skills using a design development process, with focus on applying physics principles to design problems.
  • Civil Engineering and Architecture (CEA) is the study of the design and construction of residential and commercial building projects. The course includes an introduction to many of the varied factors involved in building and site design and construction including building components and systems, structural design, storm water management, site design, utilities and services, cost estimation, energy efficiency, and careers in the design and construction industry.  
    Students will work in teams and learn about key communication methods, building codes and ordinances, engineering design calculations, and technical documentation. Problem solving skills and design experience are gained through an activity-project-problem-based (APPB) teaching and learning. CEA students use industry standard 3D architectural modeling software to facilitate site and building design and technical documentation. As the course progresses, students will learn more advanced computer modeling skills as they become more independent in their learning, more professional in their collaboration and communication, and more experienced in problem solving and design.

Project Lead the Way at Miller Middle School

There are two exciting PLTW course offerings for Miller Middle School 7th graders:

  • Automation & Robotics – Through the exploration of mechanical systems, students engage in hands-on, collaborative problem solving focused on real-world challenges. Students will generate, create, and build structures powered by mechanisms/gears to solve these real-world challenges.
  • Medical Detectives – Students solve medical mysteries through hands-on projects and labs, measure and interpret vital signs, examine nervous system structure and function, and investigate disease outbreaks.

Creative Problem Solving for 8th graders:

This course is about creative problem solving involving design. It uses engineering principles to solve problems. This course also explores creating simple apps using block coding.


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