Updated: March 4, 2024
At PLTW, we understand the importance of preparing students for the real world. That's why we continuously update our curriculum to help your students see the relevance of what they're learning and how it can lead to a successful career.
Whether it is your first year, 40th year, or somewhere in between, our team at PLTW is excited to support you throughout this school year. Below are key updates you need to know as you plan for the 2023-24 school year.
Thank you for your unwavering commitment to exceptional teaching and learning. Together, we are making an impact on the lives of nearly 2.5 million U.S. students, helping every student in every grade thrive in a STEM-driven world.
New Module: Energy Exploration
- Incorporates a new interactive experience called “Main Street” that allows students to explore, observe, and investigate energy.
- In the PTLW Launch module-specific professional development course, we’ve included resources designed to build conceptual understanding and provide demonstrations for teachers.
- This new module includes support for both the VEX IQ and VEX 123 kits.
- With the release of the new module, the Energy: Collisions and Energy: Conversion module was sunset at the end of June 2023.
Update: Spatial Sense and Coding
- The VEX® 123 interactive robot is now included in the module kit, replacing the robotic mouse. The module includes dual support for the interactive robot— VEX® 123 and the robotic mouse.
- To help educators highlight connections to math as well as understand where math skills are applied in STEM learning experiences, PLTW has created:
- Downloadable Connections to Common Core State Standards for Mathematics for each grade level to show where the curriculum helps you support math learning.
- Math Discussion Questions to help you broaden student perspectives.
- Optional Math Connection Activities in multiple modules to help you go beyond what students are already doing in the module.
- Math Performance Tasks in multiple modules to aid you in driving your students’ mathematical thinking.
- Spanish-Language Modules Update
- As with all our current modules, these updates are available in Spanish, at no additional investment, to support your multilingual learners.
Major Update: Automation and Robotics
In the updated Automation and Robotics unit, students follow build guides to incrementally build a mobile robot throughout Activities 1.1 – 1.5. Since the updated unit was first published in May 2023, there were two versions of each build guide available for students: One for schools using the VEX EXP platform and one for schools using the VEX V5 platform. There are now three versions.
Schools who purchased the previous Gateway VEX Cortex kit and upgraded to the VEX EXP platform reported that they did not have all of the materials necessary to successfully complete the EXP Builds. To accommodate these schools, we added a third version of each build guide to the curriculum: EXP Blended.
Therefore, each time students are directed to gather parts and follow a build guide in Activities 1.1 – 1.5, they will follow the EXP version, the EXP Blended version, or the V5 version. Each teacher will need to assess their VEX equipment to determine which version to use with students. If you are unsure of which version to use with your students, use the Determining Your Build Guide interactive.
Update: App Creators
- Lesson 2 now offers an alternative Game Design lesson.
- This alternative lesson offers students the opportunity to design and develop mobile app games.
- Project 1.8: Build-A-Body is now Project 1.8: Build an App. The updated project includes multiple app options. Each app option has a different theme and provides a different level of challenge for students.
- The former Project 1.8 Build-A-Body app is one of the app options available in the updated project.
Update: Green Architecture
- The modeling software used in this unit is being updated from Autodesk Revit 2020 to Autodesk Revit 2023.
Computer Science for Innovators & Makers:
Equipment and Supplies Update
In response to your feedback, an update was published on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 that involves the addition of a small, fixed resistor. The resistor is used in Activity 2.1: Need Input and will improve the performance of the pressure sensor, the photocell resistor, and the flex sensor. PLTW received feedback that these sensors have been producing unreliable results when used with the micro:bit. To improve functionality and ensure reliable results, a 47K Ohm fixed resistor is needed in series with the sensors when used with the micro:bit. The curriculum now includes directions that utilize these resistors.
Schools that have not already received their kits will receive the new resistor in their delivery. However, schools that already received their kit or purchased one in the past will need to purchase it from the PLTW Store in myPLTW.
Diagrams of each setup are included below:
Pressure Sensor Setup:
Photocell Resistor Setup:
Flex Sensor Setup:
How to purchase the 47K Ohm Fixed Resistor:
100 packs of the 47K Ohm fixed resistor are available for purchase through the PLTW Store in myPLTW. To purchase these from the Store, select Optional for PLTW Programs from the filter options and click Update Filters.
Update: Computer Science Essentials
- Equipment has been updated to include a new version of the PLTW CSE Self Driving Vehicle (SDV) and mat.
- The new PLTW CSE SDV uses a VEX EXP brain and an updated chassis.
- The previous fabric mat with grid has been replaced with a more durable 5x5 grid made of 25 plastic tiles that snap together.
- The Computer Science Essentials curriculum will continue to support the PLTW CSE V5 SDV and fabric mat with grid.
- Solution files for both EXP and V5 are provided in the Teacher Guide.
Update: Computer Science Principles
- The AWS Academy Cloud9 version of Activity 2.2.3 Demystifying Data Transmission has been removed from the course.
- AWS Academy is no longer required for Computer Science Principles.
- The activity now offers the option to use online tools in case students do not have access to the Terminal.
Improvements: Computer Science A
- All GUI programs have been scaled to work with online IDEs.
- The while loop and for loop activities (2.4.1 and 2.4.2) have been simplified.
- Activity 2.4.3 has been shortened, moving two programs to the Teacher Guide under Differentiation Opportunities.
- College Board’s Steganography Lab has been replaced with a new Image App project that does not rely on binary math; the Steganography Lab will still be available in the Teacher Guide.
- New Selection Sort and Insertion Sort videos have been created for Activity 3.7.6
- A new slideshow for the Merge Sort has been created for Activity 4.10.2.
PLTW CSA Optional Java Certification Unit
We are thrilled to announce the launch of a new optional addition to the PLTW Computer Science A (CSA) student course: the Java Certification unit.
The Java Certification unit is a supplement to the content covered in AP CSA Chapters 1-4. The activities discuss additional topics that are included in Oracle Certified Associate certification. After completing AP CSA Chapters 1- 4 and this unit, students should be qualified to take the Java SE 8 Programmer 1 Exam. Students who pass the exam will receive the Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 8 Programmer certification.
The unit is now live in the PLTW CSA student course and can be found just below Chapter 4. It is optional and intended for students who are interested in taking the certification exam. The unit has been specifically designed to be self-paced and student-driven; all answers are provided within the student course and do not require any teacher feedback.
To view the Java Certification alignment for the CSA course, click here. We’ve also compiled a Frequently Asked Questions document with additional details.
The Cyber Lab Console has been updated and added to your Site page in myPLTW.
Teachers can now schedule labs in advance, reducing spin up time.
Students will experience reduced, or in some cases, eliminated wait times when accessing the labs.
Teachers now have more control to start and relaunch labs.
Principles of Engineering: Important Updates
We're excited to announce the upcoming republishing of the Principles of Engineering (POE) curriculum on Dec. 22, 2023, with significant updates based on your valuable feedback.
These changes include course realignment, updated materials, and new instructional strategies, all detailed in this POE Update.
You can also see these changes reflected in the new Course Outline and Course Resume.
We're committed to supporting you through this transition with a webinar in early February and updated resources in PLTW Core Training. We will provide more information about these opportunities soon.
We deeply appreciate your active participation in this collaborative journey. Thank you once again for your dedication to providing the best possible POE experience for your students.
AGI STK, software exclusively used in the PLTW Engineering AE course, was recently purchased by ANSYS software.
Due to this, schools now need to transition to ANSYS STK version 12.5 or newer following new licensing procedures and guidelines.
All schools will need to use a licensing server in their school or use on a machine in their lab, as standalone licensing is no longer available. The Installation Guide on our software page has been updated to reflect the new software installation and server installation. If you have questions, contact the PLTW Solution Center.
We are excited to share some important updates to the Digital Electronics (DE) course for the 2024-25 school year. These changes, which we shared with our Master Teachers at the recent MasterMinds event, were guided by the valuable feedback we received from the DE Network last fall.
Key Highlights of the Update:1. Technology and Equipment Optimization:
- We're collaborating with Master Teachers and National Instruments and Digilent to update the technology used in the course.
- The current myDigital Protoboard and NI myDAQ will be replaced by the myDigital Canvas Board and Analog Discovery 3, as the NI myDAQ is being phased out.
- The PLTW-S7 FPGA module will continue to be used.
- To address the recent challenges in sourcing chips, we are developing and offering a new chips set (IC Kit).
- New equipment will be listed in the myPLTW Store in March 2024.
- Shipments will start in Spring 2024.
- For those ordering for the 2024-25 school year, it's recommended to wait until the new equipment is available in the store.
- Support for the current technology (myDAQ, Protoboard, TTL chips IC Kit) will continue through the 2025-26 school year.
- We'll emphasize careers in microelectronics and semiconductor workforce preparation.
- This update aligns with the CHIPS and Science Act, offering potential local funding opportunities for schools adopting Digital Electronics.
5. Updated Teacher Guide:
- The Teacher Guide will be updated to support the integration of the new technology and will also be restructured to include Lesson Quick Guides and Resources for each activity, project, and problem.
- All updates will be included in the 2024 Online Core Training.
We believe these updates will significantly enhance the learning experience and better prepare students for future opportunities. As always, we appreciate your dedication and look forward to supporting you through these changes.
Update: PLTW Capstone
Access to PLTW Capstone will remain open for all credentialed high school teachers for the 2023-24 school year.
PLTW Engineering Design and Development will officially change to PLTW Capstone in the 2024-25 school year to be more inclusive of students from all three PLTW High School pathways – PLTW Computer Science, PLTW Engineering, and PLTW Biomedical Science.
Teachers previously trained in Engineering Design and Development or Biomedical Innovations will have immediate access to PLTW Capstone. This will be a one-time granting of a Capstone Credential for existing EDD/BI teachers.
This does not change the Biomedical Innovation course. Biomedical Innovation will continue to be offered by PLTW indefinitely.
Non-credentialed teachers in schools with PLTW programs can gain access to the course after completion of the PLTW Capstone Core Training.
Major Update: Human Body Systems
The previous version of HBS was sunset on June 30, 2023.
Review the 2023-2024 Update Training Resources chapter in the Teacher Guide of the new Human Body Systems course.
- Key components of the update include:
- New engaging cases, real-world career exploration, and novel theming and staging.
- Instant cases presented in a video format at the “Quick Clinic”.
- New gamified elements to support student learning and enhance the hands-on lab experience.
- Pathogen Patrol is an experience on Roblox in which students will explore immunological processes.
Seven PLTW Courses Recommended for College Credit by the American Council on Education
We're excited to announce that American Council on Education (ACE) Learning Evaluations has evaluated and recommended college credit for seven PLTW courses: Civil Engineering and Architecture, Cybersecurity, Digital Electronics, Human Body Systems, Principles of Biomedical Science, Medical Interventions, and Principles of Engineering.
Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents and more than 200 related associations nationwide.
All seven courses are now listed on the ACE National Guide. As college credit opportunities are solidified, all information will be listed on PLTW's Student Opportunities page. For more information, please view the Frequently Asked Questions document.
New This Year for the End-of-Course Assessments
Both the legacy and updated POE courses will have End-of-Course (EoC) Assessments available.
• Students rostered for the legacy POE course will be eligible to take the EoC in fall 2023 and spring 2024.
• Students rostered for the updated POE course will be eligible to take the EoC only in Spring 2024.
• When we announced that the legacy POE course would be available for one more year we provided guidance that students wishing to take an EoC should be rostered in POEL.
• The new EoC for POE will be reflective of the updates released in January 2024. We recognize this will present a challenge for new POE teachers and students who may not have worked through topics that will be included from the legacy course. We are working with our Master Teachers to develop strategies to cover new topics.
Kite 4.0 is required to administer the EoC Assessment in 2023-24. To ensure the best and most secure testing experience possible, Kite 3.0 has been removed from our supported list. The underlying software has released essential updates. The newer app version brings better security and improved functionality to protect student data.
For more information on EoC Assessments, download the 2023-24 Assessments Administration Manual.
PLTW Core Training and Professional Development Suite
PLTW Core Training and Professional Development Suite trainings run year-round, and classes are continually added. We offer training opportunities to enhance your skills and instructional approaches for the classroom. Explore professional development opportunities.
We are pleased to share these competitive PLTW grant opportunities for schools in partner-selected communities across the country made possible by Ameren, Boston Scientific, John Deere, Lockheed Martin, and Verizon.
Ameren is PLTW’s newest philanthropic partner, whose $140,000 commitment will support PLTW grants to new and existing PLTW programs in Ameren service territories in Illinois and Missouri.
Explore these grant opportunities and others made possible by Burns & McDonnell, Chevron, and Tesla/Nevada DOE. We will continue to post additional grant opportunities supported by more partners throughout the 2023-24 fiscal year.
Visit the PLTW website to learn more about these new opportunities to further support STEM education.
PLTW is proud to announce the next PLTW Summit is scheduled October 3-5, 2024 in San Diego, CA. PLTW Summit is offered every two years in the fall and is a great opportunity to network, collaborate, and learn alongside educators from across the country.
Stay tuned for more information on the Events website for more details.
PLTW provides PreK-12 schools, teachers, and students with hands-on, interdisciplinary STEM-based curriculum that uniquely prepares students for life and their future careers. PLTW rejuvenates teachers, providing world-class experiences that keep them on the forefront of how to prepare students for the demands of tomorrow. PLTW:
- Has provided professional development opportunities to more than 80,000 teachers giving them the support and resources needed to inspire students
- Offers best-in-class teacher training: PLTW Core Training with Master Teachers
- Continuously updates teacher resources that are available on demand
- Facilitates teacher networking opportunities
- Develops curriculum by a team of writers, many of whom are former teachers
Learn more about PLTW on pltw.org.