Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is one of the nation’s leading providers of K-12 STEM programs. Their world-class curriculum and high-quality teacher professional development model, combined with an engaged network of educators and corporate and community partners, help students develop the skills necessary to succeed in our global economy. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, PLTW delivers programs to more than 8,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. PLTW schools can be found in rural, urban, and suburban districts; across all income levels; as well as in public, private, and charter schools.
We are very excited to be the first school in Cobb County, and one of the first in the state, to implement the Project Lead The Way "Launch" curriculum for elementary schools. While our students will complete activities that support STEM lessons being done in their classrooms, we also look forward to adapting PLTW's Next Generation Science Standards curriculum to our own Cobb Teaching & Learning Standards in the Science Lab this school-year. Below are the main themes and standards that each grade level will be tackling!
Engineering 001 – Introduction: Students discover the design process and how engineers influence their lives. They explore structure and function by identifying products around them designed by engineers, asking questions engineers might ask as they design products, and determining the structure and function of items. Working in small groups, students design, build, and test a structure from available materials to withstand a force. Students apply newly acquired knowledge and skills as they utilize the design process to design, sketch, build, test, and reflect on a new tool design. (SKCS1a; SKCS3b; SKCS4a,c; SKCS5b; SKCS6a; SKP1a)
Engineering 002 – Mechanical: Students investigate different pushes and pulls on the motion of an object and develop knowledge and skills related to forces of differing strengths and directions. Their explorations include pushes and pulls found in their everyday world such as pushing a friend on a swing or pulling a wagon. Students are challenged to refine a design and successfully solve a problem, and they reflect on the effect of modifying the strength or direction of a force. (SKCS1a; SKCS3b; SKCS4a,c; SKCS5b; SKCS6a; SKE2a; SKP2a,b)
First Grade Projects
Physics 101 – Light & Sound: Students investigate light and sound, including vibration from sound waves and the effect of different materials on the path of a beam of light. After students develop understandings of light and sound, they are challenged to design a model to solve a design problem. Students use the design process to sketch, build, test, and reflect on a device that uses light or sound to communicate over a distance. (S1CS1a; S1CS3b; S1CS4a; S1CS5b; S1CS6C; S1CS7b; S1P1a-c,e)
Botany – Biomimicry in Design: Students research the variety of ways animals disperse seeds and pollinate plants. Students expand their understanding of properties of matter as they consider the form and function involved in seed dispersal and pollination. Students gain understanding of form and function and how each concept informs design. The design problem requires students to apply their knowledge and skills to design, build, and test a device that mimics one of the ways animals either disperse seeds or pollinate plants. Students reflect on the efficiency of their designs and how they were informed by nature. (S1CS1a; S1CS3b; S1CS4a; S1CS5b; S1CS6c; S1CS7b; S1L1a,c)
Second Grade Projects
Physics 201 – Materials Science: In this exploration of materials science, students investigate and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties, including color, texture, and heat conduction. After analyzing data from materials testing, students apply their knowledge and skills to determine the best material to solve a design problem. Students analyze how well the model solved the problem and determine improvements that could be made to their designs. (S2CS1a; S2CS3a,c; S2CS4a-c; S2CS5a-c; S2CS6b; S2P1a,b)
Astronomy: After observing the sun, moon, and stars, students identify and describe patterns in their recorded data. Students build upon their knowledge of light to design, build, test, and reflect on a device designed to solve a problem related to the patterns of the sun. After evaluating their design, students share their findings and ideas for ways to improve the device based on the testing data. (S2CS1a; S2CS3a,c; S2CS4a-c; S2CS5a-c; S2CS6b; S2E2a-d)
Third Grade Projects
Hydrology – The Changing Earth: Students explore how the surface of the Earth is always changing. They are introduced to different kind of maps and explore how these maps convey different kinds of information about the world in which we live, including where water is found on Earth. Students investigate the different forces that shape the surface of the Earth and design solutions to limit the impact of erosion on a fictional community.
Fourth Grade Projects
Mechanical Engineering 401 - Simple Machines: Students explore simple machines such as wheel and axles, levers, the inclined plane, and more as they investigate the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object. Students apply their knowledge of mechanisms as part of a solution to a design problem. (S4CS1a-c; S4CS3a; S4CS4a-c; S4CS5a-c; S4CS7a; S4CS8a-d; S4P3a-d)
Mechanical Engineering 402 - Energy and Force: Student exploration of mechanisms includes investigations of how mechanisms change energy by transferring direction, speed, type of movement, and force. Citing evidence, students explain the relationship between the speed of an object and the energy of that object, and predict the transfer of energy as a result of a collision between two objects. Students apply their knowledge and skills related to energy transfer in collisions to develop a vehicle restraint system. (S4CS1a-c; S4CS3a; S4CS4a-c; S4CS5a-c; S4CS7a; S4CS8a-d; S4P3a-d)
Fifth Grade Projects
Biology – Variation of Traits: Students investigate the differences between inherited genetic traits and traits that are learned or influenced by the environment. Students explore the phenomena that offspring may express different traits than parents as they learn about dominant and recessive genes. Students use what they learn to predict inheritance patterns of plants through multiple generations and investigate how predicted outcomes compare to experimental results. (S5CS1a-c; S5CS3a; S5CS4a-c; S5CS5a-c; S5CS7a; S5CS8a-d; S5L1b; S5L2a,b; S5L3a,b)