POE Science in Action

In 2007-2008, I participated in a task force designed to examine the technology education standards and Project Lead the Way (PLTW) courses for science content and possible equivalency in Wisconsin. 

The outcome of the task force led to the recommendation in 2008 that two PLTW courses (Principles of Engineering and Biotechnical Engineering) contain sufficient science content whereby a local school can apply for science equivalency in these courses when they are taught by a licensed technology education teacher.

Today I had the opportunity to sub in a POE (Principles of Engineering) class that is taught in my building.  Students were working (independently) on building a compound machine consisting of four interconnected simple machines with a single input, where the output is raising a flag 12 inches.

I could have easily walked into a freshman physical science course.  Students were investigating and building simple machines, as well as calculating mechanical advantage and efficiency.  See a student example:

As I was involved in the task force, I wasn’t too surprised to see the science content.  But it was nice to see the course in action, and see the students engaged in doing science.  Of course, this is clearly stated in the course description:

Students employ engineering and scientific concepts in the solution of engineering design problems. They develop problem-solving skills and apply their knowledge of research and design to create solutions to various challenges.

While POE hasn’t been approved for science equivalency in my building yet, I was still proud to see science in a non-science setting.  Courses like these signal the growing importance of STEM knowledge that our students will need to be successful in their lives.  And science equivalency also allows more students flexibility in earning science credits as required for graduation and college admission.

One comment

  • Joe Myers

    I wish my school participated in this program. I know that it has been implemented in Sioux City, IA schools but I haven’t heard of any Nebraska schools with it…I teach science but see the need for “hands-on” STEM activities that teach the science inquiry skills we need the students to enter the world having.