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Is Pre Engineering In High School An Oxymoron?

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Promoting ET thru K-12 Projects

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.820.1 - 9.820.6



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Paper Authors

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Warren Hill

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2550

Pre-Engineering in High School – An Oxymoron?

Dr. Warren R. Hill Weber State University


No, pre-engineering in high school is not an oxymoron. Pre-engineering can be taught in the high schools and already is being done so successfully through a nationwide program called Project Lead the Way (PLTW). PLTW is a non-profit organization that was founded specifically to attract more high school students into Engineering and Engineering Technology programs and have them succeed once they reach college.

This paper will discuss the basic operation of the program, some of the things that make the program successful, the history of PLTW, and how colleges and universities can get involved with the program. The pre-engineering courses that make up the pre-engineering curriculum in the high schools are project based and as a result, the students get to immediately apply what they are learning. The courses that make up the program will be presented and additionally, some of the reasons a high school would want to get involved in the program will be discussed.

What is Project Lead the Way?

Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is a high school pre-engineering program that has as its main focus getting high school students to enroll in engineering and engineering technology programs in college and to succeed in those programs. To accomplish this goal, PLTW, which is not-for- profit corporation, has created a series of five yearlong high school courses. These courses introduce students to engineering as a career and provide them with the critical thinking and analytical skills they will need to succeed as engineers. These courses also bring into them the necessary math, science, and language arts skills and teach these skills in the context of the pre- engineering classes. Thus, students can see the application of these subjects, many of which are not normally taught in context, such that they can understand their value and use.

These five courses are Introduction to Engineering Design (IED), Digital Electronics (DE), Principles of Engineering (POE), Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) or Civil and Architectural Engineering (CAE), and Engineering Design and Development (EDD). IED is a three-dimensional modeling course that teaches students 3D modeling using Autodesk Inventor. The DE course is a basic digital electronics course that teaches students the basics of Boolean algebra, combinatorial logic, Karnaugh mapping, and sequential logic. The POE course covers career exploration, what engineers do and how they do it, as well as some of the basics of materials including materials testing. The CIM course covers the basics of machining and robotics while the CAE course introduces students to civil and architectural engineering. The EDD course is a senior capstone where the students, working in teams, must design something,

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Hill, W. (2004, June), Is Pre Engineering In High School An Oxymoron? Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13702

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