Home / Newsletters / October 22, 2017 GMLS Division Email / Challenge Minds: Project Lead the Way

Challenge Minds: Project Lead the Way

Did you know that GMLS is the only elementary school in San Diego County to be a Project Lead the Way school?? PLTW is a project-based STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum that is infused into our science (gr. K-5) and STEM (gr. 3-5) classes. The PLTW organization works in partnership with schools, higher education and the scientific community to increase the number and quality of future engineers, technologists, and biomedical professionals graduating from schools. PLTW gives our students a chance to identify real-world problems, to find unique solutions through design-thinking, and to apply their science knowledge in relevant ways. Project Lead the Way integrates science with literacy and math and is well-aligned with our K-8 science content standards. The program is rigorous, inter-disciplinary and “activity-oriented.”

Here is a glimpse of some sample topics across the grade levels:

Kindergarten – Structure and Function: Exploring Design
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. After a reading of Jack & the Beanstalk, students work in teams to design a beanstalk that can hold the weight of Jack and that is tall enough so that he can reach the castle!

1st grade: Lights and 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 problem. Students then are faced with the problem of being stranded in the woods. In teams, they use the design process to sketch, build, and test a device that would allow their team to send out a light signal for help.

5th grade: Robotics and Automation
Students expand their understanding of robotics as they explore mechanical design and computer programming. This module focuses on developing skills needed to build and program autonomous robots. As teams, students are tasked with designing, building and testing an automatic-guided vehicle to deliver supplies in a disaster area.

All of our GMLS children were “little scientists” when they came into the world. We strive to nurture this wonderful natural curiosity, to challenge their minds, and to spark a life-long interest in science and scientific careers.

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