Sparking an interest in math, science and technology starts well before college, and the College of Engineering is working to promote those fields in middle and high schools. As one of two Southern California training centers of the Project Lead the Way program, Cal Poly Pomona prepares K-14 teachers with a hands-on engineering curriculum they can bring to their respective schools and students.
“The Project Lead the Way curriculum gives students a head start in engineering by introducing them to the creative, hands-on aspects of engineering and the experience of working in teams and giving presentations,” says Cordelia Ontiveros, associate dean of the college.
Teachers learn a year’s worth of instruction during two-week summer sessions. Six courses are offered at Cal Poly Pomona: introduction to engineering design, computer integrated manufacturing, digital electronics, principles of engineering, and basic and advanced gateway to technology.
The curriculum was introduced in 12 New York high schools during the 1997-98 academic year. Today, the programs are offered at nearly 4,000 schools in all 50 states.
Since Cal Poly Pomona’s first Project Lead the Way training session in 2009, the program has attracted 150 teachers from about 115 schools, including Upland High School, Fremont Middle School in Pomona and Don Lugo High School in Chino. This summer, 85 teachers from 60 schools have registered.
(Photo: Steve Dobbs, professor in the aerospace engineering department, launches a pair of compressed air powered wooden dragsters during Project Lead the Way.)