PLTW Engineering

This course may be used to satisfy the Technology Education graduation requirement or as one of the courses in the CTE sequence.   IT MAY NOT BE USED FOR BOTH.


Course Description:  This foundation course emphasizes the development of a design.  Students use computer software to produce, analyze and evaluate models of projects solutions.  They study the design concepts of form and function, and then use state-of-the-art technology to translate conceptual design into reproducible products.  Students are expected to:


  • Apply the design process to solve various problems in a team setting and explore career opportunities in design engineering and understand what skills and education these jobs require (Introduction);
  • Apply adaptive design concepts in developing sketches, features, parts and assemblies (Introduction to Design);
  • Interpret sketches in using computer software to design models (Sketching and Visualization);
  • Understand mass property calculations—such as volume, density, mass, surface area, moment of inertia, product of inertia, radii of gyration, principal axes and principal moments—and how they are used to evaluate a parametric model (Modeling and Model Analysis Verification);
  • Understand cost analysis, quality control, staffing needs, packing and product marketing (Marketing); and
  • Develop portfolios to display their designs and present them properly to peers, instructors and professionals (Portfolio Development).



This course may be used to satisfy the Technology Education graduation requirement or as one of the courses in the CTE sequence.   IT MAY NOT BE USED FOR BOTH.


Course Description:  This foundation course provides an overview of engineering and engineering technology.  Students develop problem-solving skills by tackling real-world engineering problems.  Through theory and practical hands-on experiences, students address the emerging social and political consequences of technological change.  Students are expected to:


  • Know the types of engineers and their contributions to society (Overview and Perspective of Engineering).
  • Solve problems and learn how engineers work in teams to develop products (Design Process)
  • Collect and categorize data, produce graphic representations, keep an engineer’s notebook and make written and oral presentations (Communication and Documentation).
  • Apply knowledge of mechanical, electrical, fluid, pneumatic and control systems in the design process (Engineering Systems).
  • Apply knowledge of measurement, scalars and vectors, equilibrium, structural analysis, and strength of materials in the design process (Statics).
  • Understand the categories and properties of materials and how materials are shaped and joined in order to perform material testing (Materials and Materials Testing). 
  • Understand units and forms of energy, energy conversion, cycles, efficiency and energy loss, and conservation techniques (Thermodynamics).
  • Use precision measurement tools to gather and apply statistics for quality and process control.  Students will also learn about reliability, redundancy, risk analysis, factors of safety, and liability and ethics (Engineering for Quality and Reliability).
  • Understand the concepts of linear and trajectory motion and the circumstances in which it can be applied (Dynamics).

Course Description: This foundation course introduces students to applied digital logic, a key element of careers in engineering and engineering technology.  This course explores the smart circuits found in watches, calculators, video games and computers.  Students use industry-standard computer software in testing and analyzing digital circuitry.  They design circuits to solve problems, export their designs to a printed circuit auto-routing program that generates printed circuit boards, and use appropriate components to build their designs.  Students use mathematics and science in solving real-world engineering problems.  Students are expected to:


  • Understand the principles of and laws of electronics and electrical theory (Fundamentals);
  • Apply binary and hexadecimal number systems to design and construct digital circuits (Number Systems);
  • Use gates to control logic levels (Gates);
  • Understand how Boolean algebra is applied to digital systems (Boolean Algebra);
  • Interconnect gates to form combinational logic circuits (Combinational Logic Circuit Design);
  • Understand that MSI chips perform mathematical operations on binary numbers and use discrete gates or MSI chips to design, test and build adder circuits (Adding);
  • Use flip-flops in elementary memory storage and frequency division (Flip-Flops);
  • Classify by input and output the four types of shift registers (Shift Registers and Counters);
  • Classify the families of logic devices and explain the specifications of each family (Families and Specifications);
  • Explain the basic elements of a microprocessor and understand how microprocessors are turned into microcomputers (Microprocessors); and
Select and solve a digital electronics problem using computer simulation software and appropriate parts.  Prepare a presentation and write a summarizing report.  (Capstone Project)

Aerospace Engineering (AE):  The pathway course introduces students to the world of aeronautics, flight, and engineering.  Students in this course will apply scientific and engineering concepts to design materials and processes that directly measure, repair, improve, and extend systems in different environments.  Students are expected to:


  • Understand the many engineering problems faced during the development of flight, research the history of flight and identify the major components of airplanes (The History of Flight)
  • Understand the principles of aerodynamics (Aerodynamics and Aerodynamics Testing).
  • Explain fundamental theories of lift creation and stability know the names and purposes of aircraft components and create small gliders to understand the design, construction, and testing cycle of engineering (Flight Systems)
  • Apply Newton’s Three Laws of Motion, the ideas associated with the design of rocket engines and how the creation of an action results in thrust that enables rockets to move (Astronautics).
  • Students investigate the requirements for life support systems at ground level, during high-speed atmospheric travel, and in the zero-pressure, microgravity environment of space.  Students design and videotape experiments that create a positive g-force (Space
  • Design composite (layered) plastic test samples using various engineering composite materials. Through laboratory testing, they measure the stiffness of various composite materials and designs and determine the modulus of elasticity (Aerospace Materials).
  • Students research types of intelligent vehicles and learn the basic aspects of designing, building, and programming an intelligent vehicle (Systems Engineering).



Course Description:  This capstone course enables students to apply what they have learned in academic and pre-engineering courses as they complete challenging, self-directed projects.  Students work in teams to design and build solutions to authentic engineering problems. An engineer from the school’s partnership team mentors each student team.  Students keep journals of notes, sketches, mathematical calculations and scientific research.  Student teams make progress reports to their peers, mentor and instructor and exchange constructive criticism and consultation.  At the end of the course, teams present their research paper and defend their projects to a panel of engineers, business leaders and engineering college educators for professional review and feedback.  This course equips students with the independent study skills that they will need in postsecondary education and careers in engineering and engineering technology.


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. 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.