The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local Education

February 17, 2014

Learning the practical applications of engineering

Classes designed by Project Lead The Way

PENDLETON — It’s just after lunch and Martin Klipsch’s civil engineering and architecture students are settling into their computer work stations.

Displayed on a big screen at the front of the classroom is the next assignment, which is to redesign a vacant industrial building in Noblesville for use as a public library.

A lot of detail and thought goes into such work, and Klipsch reminds his students about some of the specifications they must keep in mind: public restrooms, offices, a kitchen area and a work room for the staff among them.

The students will have about two weeks to complete the assignment using Autodesk Revit, a software program used by real world architects and structural engineers. The program allows students to design a building and all its components and display their work in a 3D format.

The goal of this and similar classes at Pendleton Heights is to introduce students to the skills they’ll need to earn a college engineering degree or be armed with the knowledge they’ll need after high school to find good jobs in today’s technology driven workplace, Kliipsch said.

The curriculum they use has been designed by Project Lead The Way (PLTW), an organization that had its genesis in the mid-1980s when an upstate New York high school teacher began offering pre-engineering and digital electronics classes to encourage students to study engineering.

The goal of the organization, which in 2011 moved its headquarters to Indianapolis, is to prepare “students to be the next generation of problem solvers, critical thinkers, and innovators for the global economy,’’ according to the group’s website.

Officially created in 1997, PLTW has grown to become a leader in providing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs for students in grades K - 12. Courses are offered in more than 5,000 schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 300 Indiana schools, the largest number in the country, participate in these programs.

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