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Project Lead the Way (PLTW)

Project Lead The Way is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW creates an engaging classroom environment unlike any other. PLTW empowers students to develop and apply in-demand, transportable skills by exploring real-world challenges. Through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, students not only learn technical skills, but also learn to solve problems, think critically and creatively, communicate, and collaborate. It also provides teachers with the training, resources, and support they need to engage students in real-world learning.

PLTW Website

Is Tesla PLTW certified? 

We are a certified PLTW School of Excellence. The process takes place every five years and involves a visit by a Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) representative for meetings with parents, administrators, students and teachers as well as classroom observations.

The evaluation is designed to observe how the classes are conducted, make sure the content is being delivered to PLTW standards, and view student projects and portfolios. MSOE is the PLTW State Affiliate for Wisconsin.

Project Lead The Way classes offered:

  • Civil Engineering & Architecture (CEA)
  • Introduction to Engineering Design (IED)
  • Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM)
  • Principles of Engineering (POE)
  • Digital Electronics (DE)
  • Engineering Design & Development (EDD)

How are the Tesla PLTW courses sequenced?

  • 1st year
    • Civil Engineering & Architecture
  •  2nd year 
    • Introduction to Engineering Design
    • Computer Integrated Manufacturing
  •  3rd year  Principles of Engineering
    • Digital Electronics (with Introduction to Computer Programming)
  •  4th year  Engineering Design & Development 

Is the EDD course important in the big picture of the Tesla PLTW sequence?

Absolutely! It teaches students to apply the whole process to a product design problem and delves into the details of problem identification, research, solution generation, patent searches, patent applications and so much more.

How many courses do students need to take to get to the EDD course?

In Tesla we require that students take all five of the preceding courses before enrolling in EDD. We have made exceptions on a case by case basis but no student has ever enrolled in EDD without taking at least four of the other PLTW classes.

Can students take two levels of courses at the same time?

Yes. We have had students concurrently enrolled at two levels simultaneously. While it isn’t the ideal way to progress through the sequence of courses, for those students who have joined Tesla late in their high school career, it is the best way to experience as many courses as possible.

What math level is needed for Tesla/PLTW courses?

Civil Engineering & Architecture
Minimum: Algebra
Ideal: Geometry. The spatial reasoning in Geometry directly benefits their projects and their work in Autodesk Revit.

Introduction to Engineering Design
Minimum: Algebra
Ideal: Geometry. The spatial reasoning in Geometry directly benefits their projects
and their work in Autodesk Inventor.

Computer Integrated Manufacturing
Minimum: Algebra
Ideal: Geometry. Spatial reasoning in three dimensions is important in understanding how automation in manufacturing functions.

Principles of Engineering
Minimum: Geometry
Ideal: PreCalculus. POE students engage in projects that require
advanced math skills including trigonometric functions and basic Calculus.

Digital Electronics
Minimum: Algebra
Ideal: Advanced Algebra. They’ll need one of these two courses to better understand the Boolean Algebra involved in digital circuits.

Engineering Design & Development
Minimum: PreCalculus
Ideal: AP Calculus AB. Students who are enrolled in a high school Calculus course
will be better prepared for college and their pursuit of a degree in engineering. 

Can students receive college credit in Tesla?

Yes. Nearly all PLTW courses are worth college credit as are the Advanced Placement courses available to all AASD students. College credit earned through PLTW courses is awarded by MSOE. In addition, other schools including Marquette University, University of Wisconsin – System schools, the Wisconsin Technical College System, and over fifty colleges and universities nationwide recognize and award credit for PLTW coursework.

Learn more.

Do you have any core classes connected to the PLTW classes in Tesla?

Yes. Tesla Charter Board members and staff share a common belief that students will benefit greatly from classes that are integrated across a variety of content areas.

Math – Regular activities that tie math to engineering including hands-on labs, integrated projects and extensive use of Microsoft Excel.

English Language Arts – Enhancing activities that include technical communications and

Science – Physical and Earth Science was added this year and we are working on ways to expand science offerings and better integrate the science into the Tesla sequence.

Students are placed and sequenced in each of the above subject areas to best serve the needs of the students both in the present and as they move into the future.