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Project Lead the Way


Gaenslen students display their work Pulaski StudentsSouth Division PLTW





Project Lead the Way, a nationally established program, focuses on preparing the future technical and engineering workforce. PLTW offers curriculums for elementary school (PLTW Launch), middle school (PLTW Gateway), and high school (PLTW Engineering, PLTW Biomedical Science, and PLTW Computer Science). Through PLTW, MPS students have the opportunity to explore STEM education — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — through a fully developed curriculum intended to stimulate interest in various fields of technology.

Project Lead the Way in MPS

PLTW allows MPS to systematize and coordinate engineering as a focal point for STEM education. The program, built on national standards and linkages to postsecondary opportunities, is benchmarked to state standards.

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  • 38 schools, approximately 9,000 students in school year 2020-21, grades 6-12
  • 89% children of color
  • 46% females
  • Female student participation rates in PLTW significantly exceeds national and state rates for participation in STEM education.
  PLTW Offerings
  • Project-based courses meeting national science, mathematics, and literacy standards
  • Teacher and counselor training
  • Modern software and equipment
  • Postsecondary articulation
  • Strong support structure
  • National recognition
  • Proven record of performance
  MPS District Goals for PLTW
  • Increase test scores, particularly in math and science, in PLTW schools
  • Increase number of MPS students entering postsecondary STEM programs
  • Increase number of MPS students entering any postsecondary program
  • Increase graduation rates in PLTW schools
  • Raise career awareness of STEM fields among parents and students
  • Strengthen career education programs in middle and high schools
  For more information of PLTW

Project Lead the Way 

High Schools with PLTW Engineering

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  MPS High Schools That Offer PLTW Engineering

In PLTW Engineering, high school students engage in open-ended problem solving, learn and apply the engineering design process, and use the same industry-leading technology and software as are used in the world’s top companies.

  1. Bay View High School
  2. Bradley Tech High School
  3. Golda Meir School
  4. Milwaukee High School of the Arts 
  5. Milwaukee Marshall High School
  6. Obama School of Career and Technical Education
  7. Washington High School of Information Technology
  PLTW Engineering Courses

Introduction to Engineering Design (IED)

Students dig deep into the engineering design process, applying math, science, and engineering standards to hands-on projects such as designing a new toy or improving an existing product.

Principles of Engineering (POE)

Students explore a broad range of engineering topics, including mechanisms, strength of structure and materials, and automation, and then they apply what they know to take on challenges such as designing a self-powered car.

Civil Engineering and Architecture (CEA)

Students learn important aspects of building and site design and development, and then they apply what they know to design a commercial building.

Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM)

Students discover and explore manufacturing processes, product design, robotics, and automation, and then they apply what they have learned to design solutions for real-world manufacturing problems. 

Computer Science Principles (CSP)

Using Python® as a primary tool, students develop computational thinking skills and tackle challenges such as designing apps to solve real-world problems for clients. 

Digital Electronics (DE)

Students explore the foundations of computing by engaging in circuit design processes to create combinational logic and sequential logic (memory) as electrical engineers do in industry.

Environmental Sustainability (ES)

Students investigate and design solutions in response to real-world challenges related to clean and abundant drinking water, food supply, and renewable energy. 

Capstone Course – Engineering Design and Development (EDD)

Students identify a real-world challenge and then research, design, and test a solution, ultimately presenting their unique solutions to a panel of engineers.

High Schools with PLTW Biomedical Science

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  MPS High Schools That Offer PLTW Biomedical Science

In PLTW Biomedical Science, high school students build knowledge and skills working with the same tools used by professionals in hospitals and labs while they develop problem solving, critical and creative thinking, communication, and collaboration.

  1. Alexander Hamilton High School
  2. Milwaukee Marshall High School
  3. Casimir Pulaski High School
  4. Riverside University High School
  PLTW Biomedical Science Courses

Principles of Biomedical Science (PBS)

By engaging in activities such as dissecting a sheep heart, students explore concepts of biology and medicine to determine factors that led to the death of a fictional person. 

Human Body Systems (HBS)

Through projects such as determining the identity of a skeleton using both forensic anthropology and DNA analysis, students examine the interactions of human body systems and apply what they know to solve real-world medical cases.

Medical Interventions (MI)

Students delve into activities such as designing a prosthetic arm as they follow the life of a fictional family and investigate how to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease.

Capstone Course – Biomedical Innovation (BI)

Students build on the knowledge and skills gained from previous courses to design their own innovative solutions for the most pressing health challenges of the 21st century. They have the opportunity to work on an independent project with a mentor or advisor from a university, medical facility, or research institution.

Middle Schools – Gateway

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  MPS Middle Schools That Offer PLTW Gateway

Middle schools use engineering and biomedical science curriculums that challenge, inspire, and offer students and schools variety and flexibility.

  1. Audubon Technology and Communication Center Middle School
  2. Cass Street School
  3. James Fenimore Cooper School
  4. Fairview School
  5. Benjamin Franklin School
  6. Frederick J. Gaenslen School
  7. Hayes Bilingual School
  8. Oliver Wendell Holmes School
  9. Humboldt Park School
  10. Rufus King International Middle School
  11. Golda Meir School
  12. Milwaukee Sign Language School
  13. Morse Middle School for the Gifted and Talented
  14. Barack Obama School of Career and Technical Education
  15. Rogers Street Academy
  16. Escuela Vieau
  17. Wedgewood Park International School
  PLTW Gateway Courses

Every school offers the following:

Design and Modeling

Students discover the design process and develop an understanding of the influence of creativity and innovation in their lives. They are then challenged and empowered to use and apply what they’ve learned throughout the unit to design a therapeutic toy for a child who has cerebral palsy.

Automation and Robotics

Students learn about the history and impact of automation and robotics as they explore mechanical systems, energy transfer, machine automation, and computer control systems. Using the VEX Robotics® platform, students apply what they know to design and program traffic lights, robotic arms, and more.

Computer Science for Innovators and Makers

Students will learn about programming for the physical world by blending hardware design and software development, allowing them to discover computer science concepts and skills by creating personally relevant, tangible, and shareable projects.

Other Offerings:

App Creators

Students will learn about computer science as a means of computationally analyzing and developing solutions to authentic problems through mobile app development, and they will convey the positive impact of the application of computer science to other disciplines and to society.

Energy and the Environment

Students are challenged to think big and toward the future as they explore sustainable solutions to our energy needs and investigate the impact of energy on our lives and the world. They use what they’ve learned to design and model alternative energy sources as well as evaluate options for reducing energy consumption.

Flight and Space

The exciting world of aerospace comes alive through Flight and Space. Students explore the science behind aeronautics and use their knowledge to design, build, and test an airfoil.

Science of Technology

Science impacts the technology of yesterday, today, and the future. Students apply the concepts of physics, chemistry, and nanotechnology to activities and projects, including making ice cream, cleaning up an oil spill, and discovering the properties of nano-materials.

Magic of Electrons

Students examine the behavior and parts of atoms as well as the impact of electricity on the world around them. They learn skills in basic circuitry design and use what they know to propose designs such as a burglar alarm for an art museum.

Green Architecture

Students learn how to apply green concepts to the fields of architecture and construction. They explore dimensioning, measuring, and architectural sustainability and apply what they have learned to design affordable housing units using Autodesk’s® 3D architectural design software.

Medical Detectives

Students play the role of real-life medical detectives as they collect and analyze medical data to diagnose disease. They solve medical mysteries through hands-on projects and labs, measure and interpret vital signs, dissect a sheep brain, investigate disease outbreaks, and explore how a breakdown within the human body can lead to dysfunction.

Elementary Schools – Launch

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  MPS Elementary Schools That Offer PLTW Launch

Each PLTW Launch module engages students in cross-disciplinary activities that spark a lifelong love of learning and build knowledge and skills in areas including computer science, engineering, and biomedical science.

  1. William Cullen Bryant School
  2. Fairview School
  3. Forest Home Avenue School
  4. Oliver Wendell Holmes School
  5. Humboldt Park School
  6. Barack Obama School of Career and Technical Education
  7. Rogers Street Academy
  8. Siefert School
  9. Escuela Vieau
  10. Walt Whitman School
  11. Clement J. Zablocki School
  PLTW Launch Courses

Aligned to Kindergarten Standards

Structure and Function: Exploring Design

Students discover the design process, identify products around them designed by engineers, and use what they’ve learned to design their own paintbrushes.

Pushes and Pulls

Students investigate different pushes and pulls and apply what they know to a swing-set installation project.

Structure and Function: Human Body

Students explore the relationship between structure and function in the human body and then design a cast.

Animals and Algorithms

Students explore the ways that people control and use technology as well as program their own digital animations.


Aligned to First-Grade Standards

Light and Sound

Students investigate light and sound and then design a tool to communicate over a distance.

Light: Observing the Sun, Moon, and Stars

Students build upon their knowledge of light and then design a playground structure that protects students from UV radiation.

Animal Adaptations

Students learn about animal adaptations and apply what they’ve learned to design a shoe made for desert exploration.

Animated Storytelling

Students build computational thinking skills by creating animations based on their own short stories. 


Aligned to Second-Grade Standards

Materials Science: Properties of Matter

Students explore materials science and devise a way to keep popsicles cold — without a cooler.

Materials Science: Form and Function

Students research the variety of ways that animals disperse seeds and pollinate plants and then use what they know to design a gardening device.

The Changing Earth

Students explore how the surface of the Earth is always changing and then design solutions for a fictional community threatened by a landslide.

Grids and Game

Students learn about the sequence and structure required in computer programs and work in teams to build tablet games.


Aligned to Third-Grade Standards

Stability and Motion: Science of Flight

Students learn about the forces involved in flight and then design a solution to deliver aid supplies via an aircraft.

Stability and Motion: Forces and Interactions

Students explore simple machines such as wheel and axles, levers, the inclined plane, and more and then use what they know to rescue a trapped zoo animal.

Variation of Traits

Students investigate the differences between inherited genetic traits and traits that are learned or influenced by the environment and then model how the gene for a plant’s stem color is passed on.

Programming Patterns

Students discover the power of modularity and abstraction and then use what they know to create a video game for a tablet.


Aligned to Fourth-Grade Standards

Energy: Collisions

Students investigate how mechanisms change energy by transferring direction, speed, type of movement, and force and then use what they know to design a car safety belt.

Energy: Conversion

Students learn how energy can be converted to meet a human need or want and then develop solutions to move donated food from a truck to a food pantry.

Input/Output: Computer Systems

Students explore how computers work and then create a reaction-time computer program to assess a baseline before a concussion occurs.

Input/Output: Human Brain

Students learn about stimuli and responses and then use what they know to create a video to teach children about concussions.


Aligned to Fifth-Grade Standards

Robotics and Automation

Students explore the ways that robots are used in today’s world and then design a mobile robot that can remove hazardous materials from a disaster site.

Robotics and Automation: Challenge

Students explore mechanical design and computer programming and then design an automatic guided vehicle to deliver supplies in a hospital.

Infection: Detection

Students explore the transmission of infection and run an experiment to help find ways to prevent the spread of illness.

Infection: Modeling and Simulation

Students investigate models and simulations and apply their knowledge to program a model that simulates the spread of infections. 


STEM Curriculum Specialist

Antonio Rodríguez
Phone: 414-475-8255

PLTW Classroom Coach

Ulices Sepúlveda
Phone: 414-475-8794

Career and Technical Education Manager

Eric Radomski
Phone: 414-475-8391

© Milwaukee Public Schools 2023
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