Have any of you switched from Project lead the way to the curriculum?

My admin is pushing PLTW, but I have taken the ap csp pd- I am looking to see others opinions and why you left PLTW behind.

One advantage to staying with the code is that PTLW is a paid curriculum. I’m currently unaware of anyone making a switch for this same reason.

@terence.stone25 I am wanting to stay with - looking for others that feel that way too!

We are a PLTW school in all three areas (engineering, biomed, and CS) and for CSP this year while I have used the PLTW curriculum as the primary source, I have supplemented with various CSP activities to help fill some holes in understanding. I have asked for next year to be allowed to consider the curriculum the primary source and then supplement with the PLTW materials. Here is how I explained it to my admins.

If I were teaching CSP and students were NOT taking the course with the intent of taking the AP exams, then the PLTW curriculum would be fine. But since we intend for most of our students in AP classes to take the AP exams, then I need a program that is targeted more directly at that preparation, and CSP fits that need.

Cost issues aside (and PLTW is expensive), I do know that the PLTW CSP curriculum was actually written before it was modded into an AP approved CSP course, and I think it shows in terms of best level of AP preparation. I love the depth it has in certain areas, but such depth comes at a high time cost. I actually just developed a “parachute plan” in the event cost issues drive us to have to drop PLTW CS completely.


I know this is an old thread, but I am looking for more information on this specific topic. I teach Middle School and have been using CS Discoveries in my course for about 3 years. I feel like I have been very successful using this curriculum. My supervisor is a big fan of PLTW and has the HS Engineering classes using that curriculum. He wants to bring PLTW to the Middle School next year. I do not know enough about the PLTW CS curriculum to know how it compares to Our Intro to Engineering teacher at the MS came from the HS and taught PLTW there for one year and did not like it. That review makes me very hesitant to teach PLTW CS. I was wondering if anyone has any other feedback regarding the comparison between PLTW CS and Code.or CSD?

Very much like my earlier post about the HS level CS courses, first of all, PLTW is expensive. The MS courses aren’t as pricey to train in as the HS ones, but it still is pricey. The two middle school PLTW CS courses (each are nine week units, though they can easily extend beyond nine weeks) are App Creators, which is centered on using MIT’s App Inventor, and CSIM (CS for Innovators and Makers) which uses the micro:bit platform. Before adopting any PLTW course, you should go visit a school that has it so you can see it in action and ask questions of the teachers who teach it. Back when we adopted the engineering stuff about ten years ago, we spent a full year exploring and visiting before making a final decision.

As for the CS side of PLTW, I can safely say that it has its pros and cons, just like every other curriculum, and I say that as one who teaches predominantly PLTW CS courses and is a summer training leader for one of those courses as well. PLTW CS curricula is not perfect. No one curriculum is right for every situation - what one person thinks is awesome (because it is in their situation) might well be terrible in another. You should always be asking lots of questions of what someone did and did not like about any curriculum, and how it compares to others.

If you are looking for something where your students can work at a bit more of a “self-pacing” within the lessons themselves, and the lessons are shorter and more tightly focused, then CSD is probably the best choice. If your students are going on to other curricula in high school, I would recommend using CSD.

If you are looking at something that also incorporates more of a project based learning model (and PLTW isn’t perfect about that either), and students will go on to other PLTW CS courses in high school, and your school can afford to implement, I would recommend considering PLTW App Creators and/or CSIM. From all of I’ve heard from colleagues, CSIM is better suited to the younger end of middle school and App Creators more to the upper end of middle school.

If you would like to reach out to me privately feel free to email me at!

Hello and Thank You for this information.
I stumbled across this thread searching the web for “PLTW vs”. My school system is pushing us to follow PLTW curriculum, while I’ve used Code’s CSD for the last two school years. I don’t understand why there is this push, hence my search. I’ve taken the PLTW App Creator’s course and I’ve been to the CSD workshops. While I’m not comparing apples to apples, App Creator is one quarter and CSD is year long, CSD is clearly smoother, better supported, and engaging for my middle school students (6th-8th). I would also agree with the prior post that it is absolutely in-step with the APCSP course students would take in HS; I taught APCSP in HS two years and was a Reader for the APCSP exam for two years.
I hope I am not forced to teach PLTW instead of Code’s CSD. Again, I don’t understand the push, especially considering the extensive costs. I will continue to search and ask questions to get at the root of my system’s interest in PLTW. I will also reach out to Code Facilitator’s to help advocate for the CSD curriculum.

My guess is your district is already invested in using PLTW for engineering and/or biomed. And to be honest, for those two pathways, the PLTW curriculum is about as good as it gets in terms of prepared curricula. But for CS, there are so many options out there, and great ones at much less cost. If you have been using Code for two years and like it, you should absolutely continue with it, and I say that as a PLTW CS master teacher.