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SkillsUSA Contest and Program Correlation to PLTW Courses

SkillsUSA's Principles of Technology contest evaluates students' understanding of basic technical concepts/principles of the applied sciences and ability to demonstrate and explain the concept/principle in action and application.



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Any technical concept from the Principles of Engineering foundation course or Introduction to Engineering Design foundation course may be demonstrated, provided it is related to principles of technology and incorporates basic principles of the applied sciences. As part of the contest a paper is prepared and presented followed by a technical demonstration where the knowledge, underlying theories, and applications of the chosen principle(s) in action and application is demonstrated In the contest and students are evaluated on their overall presentation, physics knowledge, delivery style, primary point of communications, illustrations used, verbal techniques/ poise, introduction/ending, self confidence, technical writing skills and oral skills.

In SkillsUSA's Related Technical Math contest contestants demonstrate skills required to solve mathematical problems commonly found in the professional and technical occupations through a written test. Skills demonstrated include addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of whole numbers, fractions and decimals; applied word problems; percentages; ratio proportions; averages; area; volume; metric measures and traditional (Imperial) measures and trigonometry. Math skills developed in the PLTW Pathway to Engineering courses would help prepare students for this contest.

Aspects of PLTW's Digital Electronics will help prepare students for SkillsUSA's Electronics Technology contest. Electronics Technology contest is divided into five sections: customer service exam, written exam, soldering, breadboarding and troubleshooting. Contestants' will demonstrate their knowledge of analog and digital circuitry; ability to troubleshoot electronic circuits; ability to construct and test experimental circuits; and, ability to design and select circuit components. All aspects of the competition test contestants' abilities to use and calibrate electronic equipment, record and organize data, and demonstrate proper safety practices.

PLTW’s Capstone Course in Engineering Design and Development has strong correlation to SkillsUSA's Engineering Technology contest. Both the PLTW course and the SkillsUSA contest involve a team of students analyzing a given problem and then designing, building, testing and presenting live functioning prototype engineering project.

Both the course and contest judge the quality of clear, concise communication skills, especially in oral presentation. Both share the following constituent pedagogical elements in achieving desired results.

  • Problem analysis
  • Creative thinking/innovation
  • Research
  • Planning
  • Design process
  • Storyboarding
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Market research, including economic and cultural influences and aesthetics
  • Cost analysis
  • Prototyping
  • Assessment
  • Resume writing

Safety protocols are imbedded in the orientation and judging of Engineering Technology and all SkillsUSA contests.

PLTW's Capstone course appears to emphasize technical and expository writing skills more than does SkillsUSA's Engineering Technology contest. PLTW's course has a larger documentation trail. SkillsUSA's contest appears to evaluate professional comportment in presentation more than PLTW's course.

Other STEM-related contests

3-D Visualization and Animation
Automated Manufacturing Technology
Career Pathways Showcase
CNC Milling
CNC Turning
Humanoid Robotics
Mobile Electronics
Mobile Robotics
Principles of Technology
Robotics and Automation
Sustainability Solutions
Technical Drafting

Visit this link for a listing of all SkillsUSA competitions.

About PLTWProject Lead the Way logo
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is the nation’s leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education curricular programs used in schools. Through its world-class curriculum, high-quality professional development, and an engaged network of educators, students, universities and professionals, PLTW is preparing students for the global economy and to be the next generation of STEM professionals. PLTW's comprehensive curriculum has been designed by PLTW teachers, university educators, engineering and biomedical professionals, and school administrators to promote critical thinking, creativity, innovation and real-world problem solving skills in students. The hands-on, project-based program engages students on multiple levels, exposes them to areas of study that they typically do not pursue, and provides them with a foundation and proven path to college and career success. More than 4,700 schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are currently offering PLTW courses to their students. For more information, visit:

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