To challenge the norm: NHS Project Lead The Way classes are creating solutions to everyday problems


Photo by Thomas Whalen

Thomas Whalen, Staff Writer

CWith scheduling having recently concluded, many students have signed up for classes in the PLTW department at NHS. Whether it be smaller problem-based projects or complex building challenges, these classes do it all. These classes challenge students to come up with solutions to problems in our everyday lives.


My Aerospace Engineering students are currently designing a system that could be used to reduce the amount of space junk orbiting our planet,” Andrew Wilkins said, who is a PLTW Coordinator and Engineering teacher at NHS. 


Aerospace Engineering (AE) is one of the upper level classes in the PLTW pathway here at NHS. However, there are still some interesting things going on in some of the Introduction classes like Intro to Engineering and Design (IED).


“Right now my Intro to Engineering Design students are working on a project where they are fixing parts of a product that is not designed well. They have to fix the design and determine if it looks like it will work with our 3D modeling software before we make it on the 3D printer,” Wilkins said. “During the first semester we had fun designing a carnival game.”


One of the most advanced PLTW classes at NHS, Engineering Design and Development (IDD) is working with robots. The robot they are working on was gifted to NHS by Metro Plastics and worth about $50,000 according to Wilkins. 


“I have 4 groups in my Engineering Design & Development class. One is creating a way to use a robot to deliver items from room to room in our building. Another group is designing a system that will protect wheelchairs in the cargo bay of airplanes so that people who require wheelchairs for mobility will be able to travel by airplane without worrying about the condition of their wheelchair when they arrive,” Wilkins said. “A third group is working on a way to help people with arthritis, muscular dystrophy, etc. to have better grip strength in their hands so they can perform everyday tasks like opening lids on containers. My fourth group is working on developing a cooler that is easier to pull over sand at the beach. 


Overall, there is a lot happening right now at NHS in the engineering department, and teachers and students say there is bound to be more to come.