Hart Middle School will host an open house starting at 6 p.m. today to give the public a preview of an engineering academy it will launch in the coming school year.
The program is a national nonprofit called Project Lead the Way (PLTW), which will include a project-based engineering/STEM curriculum. Students will learn how to use professional grade design tools for real-life applications, including design, modeling, automation and robotics.
Students also will make us of use AutoDesk Inventor software to sketch, design and solid-model parts and assemblies, as well as animate and test them using the software. They will create professional design drawings and print parts using a 3D printer.
"Students will then have the opportunity to actually build and test their designs," said Hart teacher Cheri Weinhagen, who planned and will direct the new program.
"Students will learn how to document the design process from conceptual idea to a fully functioning and tested product," she said.
Weinhagen explained that through topics like robotics, flight and space, and DNA and crime scene analysis, "students will find their natural curiosity and imagination engaged in creative problem solving."
The PLTW Gateway program will provide a strong foundation for further STEM learning in high school and beyond, challenging students to solve real-world problems like cleaning oil spills and designing sustainable housing solutions, Weinhagen said.
"Using the same advanced software and tools as the world's leading companies, students will see how the application of math, science, technology, and engineering will affect their everyday lives," she said.
The PLTW engineering program is designed to prepare students to continue with the engineering programs already established at Amador Valley and Foothill high schools.
Both current Hart students and future Hart students can learn more about the program, as well as other Hart STEM programs by attending the April 29 open house.
The program will be held from 6-8 p.m. in the school's multi-purpose room, located at 4433 Willow Rd. in Pleasanton's Hacienda business park.
Weinhagen said the event will include exhibits, demonstrations and hands-on activities, including robotics teams. Hart Middle School's jazz band and choir will perform during the event.
For more information, call Weinhagen at the school at (925) 426-3102.