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Engineering & Computer Science Pathways

American High School's Project Lead the Way Course of Study

Exploring Computer Science (ECS) course description: This is a beginner course for 10-12 grade students designed to introduce students to the breadth of the field of computer science through an exploration of engaging and accessible topics. Rather than focusing the entire course on learning particular software tools or programming languages. The course is designed to focus on the conceptual ideas of computing and help students understand why certain tools or languages might be utilized to solve particular problems. The goal of Exploring Computer Science is to develop in students the computational practices of algorithm development, problem solving, and programming within the context of problems that are relevant to the lives of today's students. Students will be introduced to HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, Scratch, Python, and Arduino. Group work and collaboration are daily classroom practice. 

No previous computer science experience is required. It is recommended that students have completed Algebra 1 prior to this course. This course is not a prerequisite for AP Computer Science.


Introduction to Computer Science: This is a one-semester course that covers the basics of computer programming using virtual robotics platforms and physical robots when in the classroom. The course uses blocks for coding and then transitions to RobotC. The physical robots used are Parallax Boe Bots that use an Arduino Uno. The students will also learn how to wire basic circuits.


PLTW Principles of Engineering(POE): This is a survey course exploring the different fields of engineering.    The course covers: mechanical advantage; electrical engineering through building breadboards, exploring solar panels and fuel cells; materials with stress-strain curves; truss and bridges; thermodynamics; and machine control using VEX equipment. Students develop skills in problem-solving, research, and design while learning strategies for design process documentation, collaboration, and presentation. This course is open to 10th-12th grade students. Algebra is required for this course.

PLTW Intro to Design(IED): Students dig deep into the engineering design process, applying math, science, and engineering standards to hands-on projects. They work both individually and in teams to design solutions to a variety of problems using 3-D modeling software, and use an engineering notebook to document their work. This course is open to 9th-12th grade students.


AP Computer Science A (APCSA): This is an introductory college-level computer science course. Students cultivate their understanding of coding through analyzing, writing, and testing code as they explore concepts like modularity, variables, and control structures. Prerequisite - Precalculus or concurrent enrollment.


AP Computer Science Principles (APCSP): Two-semester course open to Juniors and Seniors. This class covers the fundamentals of computer science including binary number systems, algorithm design and analysis, computer architecture with an introduction to CPU operation, fundamentals, cyber security, and an introduction to web design, javascript, and python programming. Recommended for all students considering a major in computer science. Recommended completion of Geometry and concurrent enrollment in Algebra 2.


PLTW Digital Electronics (Honors and CP): The course covers basic electronics and digital logic and design. Students design and build circuits that use combinational logic, asynchronous and synchronous sequential logic, state machines, and programmable logic controllers. Recommended for all students considering a major in engineering. CP recommended completion of Algebra 2 Precalculus. Honors recommended completion or concurrent enrollment in Calculus.


Civil Engineering and Architecture (CEA) - (at MVROP - Open to 11th/12th grade students)
This course provides an overview of the fields of Civil Engineering and Architecture, while emphasizing the interrelationship and dependence of both fields on each other. Students use state of the art software to solve real world problems and communicate solutions to hands-on projects and activities. This course covers topics such as:

  • Project Planning, 
  • Site Planning 
  • Building Design
  • Project Documentation and Presentation
  • This is a hands-on course.