Project Lead gives Ottumwa High School students an engineering experience

Students at Ottumwa High School are thinking outside the box with a new engineering program.

Project Lead is a pre-engineering program. Its goal is to introduce engineering to students who wouldn't get a taste of it until they hit college.

The program offers a rigorous course load that includes more open-ended type of projects.

The Project Lead students use the engineering design process to solve complex problems.

Ryan Johnston teaches courses in the Project Lead program and said the students enjoy the unique way of learning instead of just staring at a chalk board.

"They're glad that they can use their brain and to think of creative solutions," said Johnston. "Instead of just saying well how did we do it on page 53?"

The Project Lead program originated in New York. Across the country, there are programs at the middle school and elementary school levels as well.