STEM Career Pathways and Endorsements

Akins High School has seven different academies, each focused on different career interests. Every Akins student chooses their academy before their 9th grade year based on their interest. All of the engineering classes are housed in the STEM Academy. The STEM Academy is open and free to all students, regardless of past experience or test scores.
 
The Akins STEM Academy offers four different engineering pathways. In addition to a student's regular core classes, each year STEM students take one STEM elective in an elective pathway. Students choose their own pathway based on their interest. When a student completes all four STEM electives in their pathway, they get a graduation distinction called an endorsement and a special cord to wear at graduation. Below is a brief description of the courses within each engineering pathway.
 
 

New 2020-2021! Robotics

While robotic components are taught in every engineering pathway, the new Robotics pathway will specialize in robotics. This pathway will be offered for incoming freshman only. The sequence of courses will teach students the fundamentals of engineering as well as giving students in depth experience using Vex Robotics . The pathway culminates in students creating autonomous robots that compete against robots from other schools.

 

ENDORSEMENT

STEM

 

CAREER PATHWAY

Robotics

 

9th Grade

10th Grade

11th Grade

12th Grade

Principles of Applied Engineering (8716.HT00.Y)

Students explore a broad range of engineering topics including mechanisms, strength of structure and materials, and automation, and then they apply what they know to take on challenges like designing a self-powered car.

Manufacturing Engineering Technology

(8617.R000.Y)

Students discover and explore manufacturing processes, robotics, and automation, and then they apply what they have learned to design solutions for real-world manufacturing problems. 

 

Robotics 1

(8227.HT00.Y)

Robotics uses a hands-on approach to apply the concepts of robotics,
focusing on the construction and programming of autonomous mobile robots.

Robotics 2

(8725.HA00.Y)

Students will work in groups to build and test increasingly more complex mobile
robots, culminating in a robot contest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biomedical Engineering Pathway

The PLTW Biomedical Engineering Pathway is a sequence of four courses which follows the PLTW Engineering Program’s proven hands-on, real-world problem-solving approach to learning.  Students explore the concepts of human medicine and are introduced to bioinformatics, including mapping and analyzing DNA.  Through activities, like dissecting a heart, students examine the processes, structures and interactions of the human body – often playing the role of biomedical professionals to solve mysteries.  Think CSI meets ER.  They also explore the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease working collaboratively to investigate and design innovative solutions for the health challenges of the 21st century such as fighting cancer with nanotechnology. In their senior year, students create their own research project and have the ability to earn college credit from the University of Texas.

 

ENDORSEMENT

Public Service

 

CAREER PATHWAY

Biomedical Engineering- PLTW

 

9th Grade

10th Grade

11th Grade

12th Grade

Principles of Biomedical Science (8225.HT00.Y)

Student work involves the study of human medicine, research processes and an introduction to bioinformatics.  The course is designed to provide an overview of all the courses in the biomedical Sciences program and to lay the scientific foundation necessary for student success. 

Human Body Systems

(8226.HT00.Y)

Students engage in the study of the processes, structures, and interactions of the human body systems.  Students work through interesting real world cases and often play the role of biomedical professionals to solve medical mysteries.

Medical Interventions

(8227.HT00.Y)

Students investigate the variety of interventions involved in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease as they follow the lives of a fictitious family.  Lifestyle choices and preventive measures are emphasized throughout the course as well as the important roles scientific thinking and engineering design play  in the development of interventions of the future.

Project-Based Research: Biomedical Science

(UT-Austin/dual credit)

(8761.HA00.Y)

Students build on the knowledge and skills gained from previous courses to design innovative solutions for the most pressing health challenges of the 21st century. Students address topics ranging from public health and biomedical engineering to clinical medicine and physiology. They have the opportunity to work on an independent design project with a mentor or advisor from a university, medical facility, or research institution.

and/or

World Health Research (8222.HT00.Y)

What are biomedical engineering options after high school? Read job descriptions, learn about degrees, pay, and more from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website here.

 

 

 

 

Aerospace Engineering Pathway

The major focus of this pathway is to expose students to the world of aeronautics, flight and engineering through the fields of the aeronautics, aerospace engineering and related areas of study.  Lessons engage students in engineering design problems related to aerospace information systems, astronautics, rocketry, propulsion, the physics of space science, space life sciences, the biology of space science, principles of aeronautics, structures and materials, and systems engineering.  Students work in teams utilizing hands-on activities, projects and problems and are exposed to various situations faced by aerospace engineers.  In addition, students use 3D design software to help design solutions to proposed problems.  Students design intelligent vehicles to learn about documenting their project, solving problems and communicating their solutions to their peers and members of the professional community. Students in the advanced aerospace classes have the ability to compete in a large scale rocket competition.

 

ENDORSEMENT

STEM

 

CAREER PATHWAY

Aerospace Engineering- PLTW

 

9th Grade

10th Grade

11th Grade

12th Grade

 

 

 

 Intro to Engineering Design

(8735.HT00.Y)

Students dig deep into the engineering design process, applying math, science, and engineering standards to hands-on projects. They work both individually and in teams to design solutions to a variety of problems using 3-D modeling software, and use an engineering notebook to document their work. 

 

 

 

 

 

Engineering Science

(8733.HT00.Y)

Through problems that engage and challenge, students explore a broad range of engineering topics, including mechanisms, the strength of structures and materials, and automation. Students develop skills in problem solving, research, and design while learning strategies for design process documentation, collaboration, and presentation.

 

 

 

 

Aerospace Engineering

(8736.HT00.Y)

This course propels students’ learning in the fundamentals of atmospheric and space flight. As they explore the physics of flight, students bring the concepts to life by designing an airfoil, propulsion system, and rockets. They learn basic orbital mechanics using industry-standard software. They also explore robot systems through projects such as remotely operated vehicles. 

 

Scientific Research & Design – Rockets

(8761.HA00.Y)

or

Scientific Research & Design – Robotics

(8762.HA00.Y)

or

Scientific Research & Design – Quantum Computing

(8761.HA00.Y)

The knowledge and skills students acquire throughout the engineering pathway come together in these SRD classes as they identify an issue and then research, design, and test a solution, ultimately presenting their solution to a panel of engineers. Students apply the professional skills they have developed to document a design process to standards, completing SRD ready to take on any post-secondary program or career.

 

What are aerospace engineering options after high school? Read job descriptions, learn about degrees, pay, and more from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website here.

 

 

 

 

Civil Engineering & Architecture Pathway

The main focus of this pathway is completing long-term projects that involve the development of property sites.  As students learn about various aspects of civil engineering and architecture, they apply what they learn to the design and development of a property.  The course provides teachers and students freedom to develop the property as a simulation or for students to model the experiences that civil engineers and architects face.  Students work in teams, exploring hands-on activities and projects to learn the characteristics of civil engineering and architecture.  In addition, students use 3D design software to help them design solutions to solve major course projects.  Students learn about documenting their project, solving problems and communicating their solutions to their peers and members of the professional community of civil engineering and architecture. In their senior year, students have the ability to participate in an internship with Austin-based architecture firm BLGY as they redesign and construct nearby Blaizer Elementary.

 

ENDORSEMENT

STEM

 

CAREER PATHWAY

Civil Engineering & Architecture- PLTW

 

9th Grade

10th Grade

11th Grade

12th Grade

 

 

 Intro to Engineering Design

(8735.HT00.Y)

Students dig deep into the engineering design process, applying math, science, and engineering standards to hands-on projects. They work both individually and in teams to design solutions to a variety of problems using 3-D modeling software, and use an engineering notebook to document their work.

 

 

 

 

Engineering Science

(8733.HT00.Y)

Through problems that engage and challenge, students explore a broad range of engineering topics, including mechanisms, the strength of structures and materials, and automation. Students develop skills in problem solving, research, and design while learning strategies for design process documentation, collaboration, and presentation.

 

 

 

Civil Engineering & Architecture

(8737.HT00.Y)

Students learn important aspects of building and site design and development. They apply math, science, and standard engineering practices to design both residential and commercial projects and document their work using 3-D architectural design software.

 

 

Scientific Research & Design – Architecture

(8761.HA00.Y)

or

Scientific Research & Design – Robotics

(8762.HA00.Y)

or

Scientific Research & Design – Quantum Computing

(8761.HA00.Y)

The knowledge and skills students acquire throughout the engineering pathway come together in these SRD classes as they identify an issue and then research, design, and test a solution, ultimately presenting their solution to a panel of engineers. Students apply the professional skills they have developed to document a design process to standards, completing SRD ready to take on any post-secondary program or career.

 

In the Scientific Research & Design - Architecture class, students have the opportunity to participate in an internship off campus during the school day. Find out more about the Green Building Internship here

 

What are civil engineering options after high school? Read job descriptions, learn about degrees, pay, and more from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website here.

 

 

 

 

Computer Integrated Manufacturing Pathway

The main focus of this pathway is to answer questions such as:  How are things made?  What  processes go into creating products?  Is the process for making a water bottle the same as it is for a musical instrument?  How do assembly lines work?  How has automation changed the face of manufacturing?  As students find the answers to these questions, they learn about the history of manufacturing, a sampling of manufacturing processes, robotics and automation.  The course is built around several key concepts:  computer modeling, Computer Numeric Control (CNC) equipment, Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software, robotics and flexible manufacturing systems. 


ENDORSEMENT

STEM

 

CAREER PATHWAY

Computer Integrated Manufacturing Engineering- PLTW

 

9th Grade

10th Grade

11th Grade

12th Grade

 

 

 Intro to Engineering Design

(8735.HT00.Y)

Students dig deep into the engineering design process, applying math, science, and engineering standards to hands-on projects. They work both individually and in teams to design solutions to a variety of problems using 3-D modeling software, and use an engineering notebook to document their work.

 

 

 

Engineering Science

(8733.HT00.Y)

Through problems that engage and challenge, students explore a broad range of engineering topics, including mechanisms, the strength of structures and materials, and automation. Students develop skills in problem solving, research, and design while learning strategies for design process documentation, collaboration, and presentation.

 

 

 

Computer Integrated Manufacturing

(8738.HT00.Y)

Manufactured items are part of everyday life, yet most students have not been introduced to the high-tech, innovative nature of modern manufacturing. This course illuminates the opportunities related to understanding manufacturing. At the same time, it teaches students about manufacturing processes, product design, robotics, and automation.

 

 

Scientific Research & Design – Architecture

(8761.HA00.Y)

or

Scientific Research & Design – Robotics

(8762.HA00.Y)

or

Scientific Research & Design – Quantum Computing

(8761.HA00.Y)

The knowledge and skills students acquire throughout the engineering pathway come together in these SRD classes as they identify an issue and then research, design, and test a solution, ultimately presenting their solution to a panel of engineers. Students apply the professional skills they have developed to document a design process to standards, completing SRD ready to take on any post-secondary program or career.

 

 

What are manufacturing engineering options after high school? Read job descriptions, learn about degrees, pay, and more from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website here.

 

 

 

 

Most engineering classes use Project Lead the Way (PLTW) curriculum. Course descriptions above come from the PLTW website. More information on the engineering curriculum can be found on the PLTW engineering website.

 

 

 

See the graphs below for the most recent 2019 job posting reports in Austin and its surrounding areas. STEM jobs continue to make the top 20 list of jobs in demand in Austin!