Project Lead The Way


What vexes you? An RFP of a different kind

The new school year is here and students enrolled in Project Lead The Way engineering and biomedical sciences will be putting STEM into action as they identify problems and develop solutions for their senior capstone projects.

Many students will identify their own problems to solve, but sometimes students can use help finding an idea worthy of a year-long project. KC STEM Alliance is issuing a “request for problems” to our network of friends and supporters so we can build a list of ideas for students to consider. If something’s vexing you, we want to know! Use this simple form to share your ideas

Preparing the next generation of engineers

Thanks to KC STEM Alliance sponsors, 5,700 engineering notebooks are on their way to PLTW students across the metro. After breaking enrollment records in 2015-16, we expect the numbers to continue to climb this school year as more districts add Launch at the elementary level and growth continues at the middle and high school levels. Read more.

Learn more about how KC STEM Alliance supports Project Lead The Way.

Get ready to rumble: 
FIRST game reveals start next week!

FIRST LEGO League: Animal Allies
Things are about to get wild! On Aug. 30, FIRST unveils the game for the 2016 FLL Challenge. Follow this link to see the details about the reveal and get ready for a great learning challenge here in Kansas City. Through FLL, designed for students ages 9 to 14, teams study a scientific question or problem and build an autonomous LEGO robot to perform a series of related missions. This season brings a few changes, including an earlier team registration deadline of Friday, Sept. 23, and a new venue for the regional championship. See the full details here.
FIRST Tech Challenge
The 2016-17 game is revealed on Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Metropolitan Community College Business & Technology Campus. To stay up to date on all all FIRST key dates, see

Registration is open for Perry Outreach Program

KC STEM Alliance is bringing the Perry Outreach Program back to Kansas City for the fifth year on Saturday, October 1, at MCC Penn Valley's Health Science Institute.

This free, one-day, hands-on experience is for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments.

The application deadline is Thursday, Sept. 1, so please spread the word! Participants should be women in grades 10 and up with an expressed interest in science, medicine and/or engineering.

Applicants should fill out our online application before Sept. 1, using this link:…/student-online-application/.

For a flyer you can share with students, click here.

Summer of STEM: Hire KC Youth

Mayor Sly James’ Hire KC Youth campaign started in 2014 as a way to help teens find summer jobs while connecting with professionals to give them a glimpse into the realities of the work world. Through Hire KC Youth’s spring job fair, KC STEM Alliance hired Henri Garbison, a Paseo Academy student who was already familiar with the KC Engineering Zone through his role as lead machinist on the school’s FIRST Robotics team.

For his summer internship with KC STEM Alliance, Henri worked with Bret Lesan, Certified Manufacturing Engineer for the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering, to train on industry lathe, Bridgeport mill, and project management. Working side-by-side with Bret, he completed several machining jobs for UMKC, and also painted FIRST LEGO League tables, organized a storage room and disassembled pieces from the FIRST season. Henri also took part in the Hire KC Youth workshops on finances, networking and service to the community. Read more about the program from The Kansas City Star.

If you haven't yet explored Kansas City's new online learning platform for youth, LRNG, click here! It's a great space for creating STEM experiences if your organization offers programming and a great place to send students if you're a teacher or youth leader. Stay up to date by subscribing to LRNG's newsletter.

Girls App Camp Series in Review

Teach a girl to make an app and what do you get? The sky’s the limit if this summer’s series of all-girl app camps is any indication. Over the course of four camps conducted at the KC EZ as part of the Girls in Tech KC initiative, students created everything from games to a mental first aid kit to help with positive thinking.
Getting hands on with technology was just one aspect of the experience. Over the course of four camps, 26 women from nine organizations came to hear the participants present their apps and to share some of their own experiences about working in the tech world. Misty Collins (pictured above) is a software engineer at Cerner and volunteered 40 hours of her Cerner-sponsored sabbatical to help KC STEM Alliance with the camps.

Carrying the Girls in Tech torch forward 
Previous Girls App Camp participant Ruby Rios (above left), now a student at Bishop Miege High School, was so moved by her experiences that she not only volunteered throughout the summer, but she also will launch a Girls Who Code Club at the KC EZ this fall. Stay tuned for more of Ruby's story and the club's launch, tentatively set for late September.

Eagle Scout project improves KC EZ work space

Things are a bit quieter in the KC Engineering Zone these days, thanks to an Eagle Scout project by Life Scout Andrew Bauer. Three FIRST Robotics teams have used KC STEM Alliance’s KC EZ as their build space for two seasons now and have had rave reviews for the safe, comfortable and spacious facility. But with 50-some high school students working together with machinery operating, the sound reverberation made it difficult to concentrate on programming and other studious tasks and the overall noise level was fatiguing.
Andrew, a Life Scout with Troop 257, chose KC STEM Alliance as his nonprofit benefactor and worked with University of Missouri-Kansas City staff and industry professionals to map out his plans. Jeff Teel, an acoustic engineer with Henderson Engineering, taught Andrew about sound absorption products and the calculations needed to determine the ideal square footage for maximum sound absorption. Keith Phillips of JE Dunn provided guidance on installation and Foundation Building Materials donated $3,500 worth of surplus Tectum Finale panels to the project.
With fellow scouts contributing labor, Andrew and his team spray painted the panels to match, moved each 40-pound panel from the warehouse to the site, and installed the panels on KC EZ’s walls just before school began. Although a formal post-test is yet to be complete, staff working in the space can already tell it’s making a difference. Thanks, Andrew, for using your STEM skills to improve this STEM learning space!

Do you have STEM-related news to share with the Kansas City STEM community? We've created a new space to share news of interest to the local STEM community and we'd love your contributions. Just use the Submit Your News form on this page to let us know!
Thank you to our sustaining partners:
KC STEM Alliance major supporters