Project Lead The Way

Project Lead The Way, a sequence of five courses in pre-engineering, is listed below. Students taking preengineering courses must also be enrolled in a college preparatory math course and must maintain above average grades in all their courses.


Introduction to Engineering Design

Introduction to Engineering Design is an introductory course, which develops student problem solving skills, with emphasis on the development of three-dimensional solid models. Students will work from sketching simple geometric shapes to applying a solid modeling computer software package. They will learn a problem solving design process and how it is used in industry to manufacture a product. The Computer Aided Design system (CAD) will also be used to analyze and evaluate the product design. The techniques learned, and equipment used, are state of the art and are currently being used by engineers throughout the United States.


Digital Electronics

Digital Electronics is the second Project Lead The Way course in pre-engineering. It introduces students to applied digital logic, a key element of careers in engineering and engineering technology. This course explores the smart circuits found in watches, calculators, video games and computers. Students use industry-standard software to test and analyze digital circuitry. They design circuits to solve problems, export their designs to a printed circuit program that generates printed circuit boards, and use appropriate components to actually build their designs. Students use mathematics and science in solving real-world problems.


Principles of Engineering

Principles of Engineering, the third Project Lead The Way course, provides an overview of engineering and engineering technology. Students develop problem solving skills by tackling real-world engineering problems. They explore four engineering systems and manufacturing processes: mechanical, fluid, electrical, and thermal. Students learn the properties of various materials, how materials are shaped and joined, and material testing. Through theory and practical hands-on experiences, students will address the emerging social and political consequences of technological change.Computer Integrated ManufacturingThis course teaches the fundamentals of computerized manufacturing technology. It builds on the solid-modeling skills developed in the Introduction to Engineering Design course. Students use 3-D computer software to solve design problems. They assess their solutions through mass property analysis (the relationship of design, function and materials), modify their designs, and use prototyping equipment to produce 3-D models. Students program robots to handle materials in assembly-line operations.


Engineering Design and Development

This is the capstone course in the Project Lead The Way sequence. Students apply what they have learned in academic and pre-engineering courses as they complete challenging, self-directed projects. Students work in teams to design and build solutions to authentic engineering problems. An engineer from the school’s partnership team mentors each student team. Examples of projects may include a robotic mascot for the school, a remote-controlled hovercraft, or a solar-powered device. Each team must submit progress reports and a final research paper. The team members then defend the solution with an oral presentation before an outside review panel.

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Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School

80 Locust Street,

Northampton, Ma 01060

Phone: 413-587-1414

Fax: 413-587-1406


Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex,gender identity, disability, religion or sexual orientation.