STEM Program


    Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) courses are offered to District 15 students at all four junior high schools.

    All four District 15 Junior High Schools received national recognition as a 2021-22 Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Distinguished School!

    Our four junior highs are among just 134 middle schools across the U.S. to receive this honor. The PLTW Distinguished School designation recognizes schools committed to increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in their PLTW programs.

    To be eligible for the designation, each school had to meet the following criteria: 

    • Have more than 50 percent of the student body participate in a PLTW Gateway unit during the 2020-21 school year;  

    • Have at least 25 percent of students who participated in a PLTW Gateway unity during the 2020-21 school year also participate in at least one other PLTW Gateway unity (two or more units total) during their tenure at the school;

    • Offer at least one PLTW Gateway unit at each grade (6-8);  

    • Have strategies and supports in place that assist reasonably proportional representation with regard to race, ethnicity, poverty, and gender and can support such claims with relevant data. 

    We are so proud of our junior high schools for being a part of a community of PreK-12 schools, colleges and universities, and corporate and philanthropic partners across the country united around a passion for providing students with inspiring, engaging, and empowering learning opportunities. For more information about PLTW’s recognition program, visit

    According to, "the PLTW recognition program is designed to honor districts and schools committed to increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in their PLTW programs. These districts and schools are empowering students to thrive in an evolving world and have achieved exemplary results from their PLTW programs."

    To learn more about our STEM program, please watch the video below and read our course descriptions. 

    Design & Modeling—Design and Modeling (DM) provides students opportunities to apply the design process to creatively solve problems. Students are introduced to a unit problem in the first activity and are asked to make connections to the problem throughout the lessons in the unit. Students learn and utilize methods for communicating design ideas through sketches, solid models, and mathematical models. Students will understand how models can be simulated to represent an authentic situation and generate data for further analysis and observations. Students work in teams to identify design requirements, research the topic, and engage stakeholders. Teams design products (i.e., design a toy or game for a child with cerebral palsy), fabricate using a 3D printer and test it, and make the necessary modifications to optimize the design solution. Students will also learn how to use industry standard 3D modeling software to create a virtual image and 3D print of their designs that they can take home.  —Student Population: 6th grade students

    Computer Science for Innovators and MakersThis unit will allow students to discover computer science concepts and skills by creating personally relevant, tangible, and shareable projects. Throughout the unit, students will learn about programming for the physical world by blending hardware design and software development. They will design and develop a physical computing device, interactive art installation, or wearable, and plan and develop code for microcontrollers that bring their physical designs to life.  —Student Population: 7th grade students

    Flight and Space—The exciting world of aerospace comes alive through the Flight and Space unit. Students discover the science of flight and use aerodynamic concepts to explain how aircraft fly. Students receive an introduction to the engineering design process, investigate the effect of different airfoils on flight, use maps for navigation, and explore flight crew scheduling criteria. Students investigate how scientists and engineers play a vital role in space travel, space discovery, and living in space. They explore launch, orbit, landing, maintaining health in space, and maintaining a stable living environment for astronauts. Students work to design and model different aspects required to complete a mission to Mars. —Student Population: 7th grade students

    Robotics Automation & Robotics—Automation and Robotics teaches students critical thinking and problem-solving skills through a series of hands-on design challenges. Students will learn about mechanical systems and how they can be adapted to change speed, torque, and type of motion. Students will use this information to design, construct, and program autonomous robots that meet the criteria and constraints of a design challenge. They will learn and apply basic coding skills using RobotC programming software and construct their robots using VEX robotic kits.  —Student Population: 8th grade students

    Medical Detectives—Become medical detectives and solve medical mysteries! Apply experimental design, creative thinking, and problem-solving to investigate the inner workings of the human body, diagnose disease, and improve human health. In Medical Detectives, students play the role of real-life medical detectives as they collect and analyze medical data to diagnose diseases. They solve medical mysteries through hands-on projects and labs, measure and interpret vital signs, dissect a sheep's brain, investigate disease outbreaks, and explore how a breakdown within the human body can lead to dysfunction. —Student Population: 8th grade students

    Questions? Contact Julie Powell, Director of Instructional Technology,, 847-963-3124.