Project Lead The Way Iowa

Welcome Students, Parents, Teachers, Counselors, Administrators and Others!

Here you will find information and resources to guide you through the Iowa Project Lead The Way program. See the opportunities PLTW delivers to a growing number of young men and women exploring the Engineering and Biomedical Sciences classes that lead to exciting new careers. A pathway to the future!

Click on Action Bulletin for latest news from Project Lead The Way:

PLTW Launch

Introduce young minds to the wonders of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)

Engaging students at a young age builds confidence, grows interest, and puts them on course for strong accomplishments in middle school, high school, and beyond.

Through PLTW Launch, our program for kindergarten through fifth grade, students become problem solvers. Students use structured approaches, like the engineering design process, and employ critical thinking. They apply STEM knowledge, skills, and habits of mind, learning that it is OK to take risks and make mistakes. As teachers and students learn and discover together, education becomes far more engaging. We designed PLTW Launch to offer maximum flexibility and work in a variety of settings and scenarios, which means we have an implementation model that will work for your school or organization.

PLTW Gateway


Middle school is the perfect time for students to explore and learn that there is more than one way to reach a solution. PLTW Gateway provides engineering and biomedical science curriculum for middle school students that challenges, inspires, and offers schools variety and flexibility. Students get rigorous and relevant experiences through activity-, project-, and problem-based learning. They use industry-leading technology to solve problems while gaining skills in communication, collaboration, critical-thinking, and creativity.

PLTW Engineering

Advance students' ability to innovate, think critically, and collaborate to solve problems

PLTW Engineering is more than just another high school engineering program. It is about applying engineering, science, math, and technology to solve complex, open-ended problems in a real-world context. Students focus on the process of defining and solving a problem, not on getting the "right" answer. They learn how to apply STEM knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to make the world a better place through innovation.

PLTW students have said that PLTW Engineering influenced their post-secondary decisions and helped shape their future. Even for students who do not plan to pursue engineering after high school, the PLTW Engineering program provides opportunities to develop highly transferable skills in collaboration, communication, and critical thinking, which are relevant for any coursework or career.

PLTW Computer Science

Tomorrow's technologies, learned today

The imperative to increase our national talent pool in computer science and software engineering is clear. In fact, the number of job openings projected in 2018 for STEM fields will reach 2.8 million, and approximately half of these will be for computer specialists. To build student interest and engagement in computer science, and prepare more students for great career opportunities that require computational thinking, PLTW is launching a four-year computer science program for high school students.

The pilot for our first computer science course – PLTW Computer Science and Software Engineering (CSE) – is currently underway in more than 60 high schools across the U.S. We believe that this course is extremely valuable for every student, regardless of his or her career choice, because knowledge of computer science is increasingly vital for any career. Also, we believe that there is compelling evidence to offer students a four-year, in-depth program of study in computer science, as we have with engineering and biomedical sciences.

For these reasons, PLTW is developing a four-year Computer Science program of study for high school students, while giving schools the option to incorporate the CSE course as the third course in the PLTW Engineering program.

PLTW Biomedical Science


It was a hot summer morning, 92°F. An emergency call came in at 9:45 a.m. A man contacted the police to report that he was worried about his next-door neighbor, a woman named Anna. He said he had spoken to Anna the previous morning when he saw her walking her dog around 6:30 a.m. He decided to call the police this morning because Anna's dog had been barking excitedly for the last two hours. He tried to call Anna on the telephone, but no one answered. Both the police and an EMT arrived at the scene at 9:56 a.m. The EMT determined that Anna was dead. The police immediately notified your team of crime scene investigators as well as the medical examiner, both of which were dispatched to the house. Has a crime been committed?

This is an excerpt from the case presented to students in the first course of the PLTW Biomedical Science program, Principles of Biomedical Science. From the moment students walk into the classroom, they are immersed in the mysterious death of Anna and asked to investigate, document, and analyze evidence to solve the case. Case-based scenarios like this one span all PLTW Biomedical Science courses. Students explore a range of careers in biomedical sciences as they learn content in the context of real-world, hands-on activities, projects, and problems.


24-Oct-2014 - STEM Education Award for Inspired Teaching
Did you know that for every 3.4 STEM jobs in Iowa, there is only one STEM-qualified job seeker? And over the next 10 years, the number of STEM-related jobs will increase by 16 percent! Filling these roles with qualified candidates is crucial to Iowa’s economic growth, and it all starts with inspiring students to pursue STEM fields. The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and Kemin have teamed up to honor teachers who are inspiring Iowa’s students to develop a passion for STEM subjects. We want you to nominate a STEM educator who understands this need and motivates students to succeed in STEM.

16-Oct-2014 - REC Foundation Sets Aside 20 Grants for VEX Robotic Competition in Iowa
A limited number of REC Foundation grants are now available to help Iowa schools new to the VRC (VEX Robotics Competition) program get a team started.

14-Oct-2014 - Spread the Word: PLTW Alumni Association Membership
Please continue to spread the word about the PLTW Alumni Association! Membership is free, and all past and current students who have completed two or more PLTW courses are invited to join. Please direct eligible PLTW students and graduates to to register to become a PLTW Alumni Association member today.

13-Oct-2014 - 3 Great Resources to Help STEM Educators Fund Their Classrooms
Schools invest in their students and classrooms all year long to create top-notch learning experiences. There are a variety of ways and means to help educators locate funding they need to invest in students and keep the focus on learning. These resources, compiled by Project Lead The Way and the National 4-H Council, can help STEM teachers support their classrooms.

10-Oct-2014 - Vince Bertram (President & CEO, Project Lead The Way): A Global Model for STEM Education (Huffington Post)
Last month, a delegation of science and technology leaders from South Korea visited Los Angeles for a chance to see firsthand what American students are doing in STEM education. The delegation included the director general of the Federation of Busan Science and Technology (FOBST), an organization dedicated to supporting science curriculum and education for students in Busan, South Korea. The organization I proudly lead, Project Lead The Way (PLTW), had the opportunity to host the group. We took them to Da Vinci Science High School, a certified PLTW school, where they visited with students and teachers in several of the engineering courses. The South Korean visitors were highly impressed with the students' immersion in their learning in just the first month of school.

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Student Rostering for 2014-15 School Year Is Now Open!
Rostering for the 2014-15 school year is now open! All PLTW Launch, PLTW Gateway, PLTW Engineering, PLTW Computer Science, and PLTW Biomedical Science students need to be rostered by the PLTW District Administrator, School Administrator, or Principal. Once students are rostered, teachers can enroll them into the PLTW Learning Management System (LMS).

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