The Gateway to success for middle school students at one school is to have them take pre-engineering courses that allow them to solve problems and learn basic concepts.

Soft SkillsFarmington Middle School has added the Gateway Program to the school’s curriculum. The program was once called Gateway to Technology, and teaches students pre-engineering concepts.

“It takes a little while for the kids to understand the process of how an engineer thinks and solves problems,” said Eric Johnson, the Gateway instructor at the middle school. “This is what we are focusing on. We are looking at the process of solving problems. Even if you are not planning on becoming an engineer, it’s a process you can use every day.”

The program is part of Project Lead the Way, which has thrived for several years in the high school.

“PLTW is working to develop a pipeline from kindergarten to high school, with each class building into the next class the following year,” Johnson said. “So Gateway is simply a transition all the way through from kindergarten through the senior class.”

“The class is not required,” Johnson said. “But I have around 300 students at middle school taking my classes, so roughly half of the student body is being exposed to engineering.”

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