Making Math and Science Matter
Ohio has just introduced regional training sessions for the newly created PLTW Elementary Lessons. The lessons are being offered to elementary teachers in districts currently offering Gateway to Technology at the middle school level. The training is two hours long and can be arranged for a specific geographical area by calling Linda O'Connor at 614-466-6095.
Please click here to register your school
The cutting-edge Project Lead The Way® Elementary Lessons™ program addresses the interest and energy of elementary school students, while incorporating national standards in mathematics, science, technology, and English. The Elementary Lessons™ program is “activity oriented” to show students how technology is used in engineering to solve everyday problems in lessons of study. There are currently five instructional lessons that excite and motivate students to use their imaginations and teach them to be creative and innovative, while gaining the skills they need to develop, produce, and use products and services in an aerospace engineering theme.
The elementary lessons provide project-based learning—a hands-on approach--that is exciting and fun for the full-range of students in today’s grades 3 – 5 classrooms and that relates how technology is used in aerospace engineering to the technology used in students’ daily lives. It also promotes communication and collaboration by emphasizing a teaming approach in the instructional units. This approach utilizes the strengths of each team member to accomplish the goals of the project, while offering students learning challenges at all ability levels. Students are encouraged to read and write. Various activities are included to foster the reading and writing across the curriculum modality.
The science, technology, mathematics, and English integrated Elementary Lessons™ program helps students develop and hone skills in elementary school that enable them to enter the middle school and later high school programs with foundation knowledge and skills for success in pre-engineering. Although not intended as an introduction to the Project Lead The Way® Gateway To Technology® middle school program or Pathway to Engineering™ high school program, it is designed to excite students and provide a means for them to expand their curiosity into the realm of aerospace engineering.
Elementary Lessons™ program currently consists of five independent lessons that should be taught in conjunction with a rigorous academic curriculum. The lessons are designed to challenge and engage the exploratory minds of elementary school students. Each lesson varies in length from five to fourteen days, which contain performance objectives and suggested assessment methods. The five lessons are:
Grade 3: Why is Air in Airplane?
This lesson uses hands-on experiences to introduce students to how aircraft vehicles fly. A fictional story line is interwoven within the lesson to foster reading and writing skills while students work in an “engineering” environment. Utilizing this approach, students come to understand how engineers work and in particular are introduced to aspects of the aerospace engineering field. Students also learn sketching techniques, and use basic descriptive geometry as a component of design, measurement, and modeling their solutions. Using an engineer’s notebook and other forms of documentation, students create models and document their work to solve problems.
Grade 4: Space Colony
If you lived on the moon or another planet in a colony or settlement, what basic things would you need in order to live there? Without the living and many of the nonliving factors found on earth, how would you meet these needs on the moon or the other planet?
These and many more questions are what students will investigate and explore during this lesson. For example, since most technology depends upon an energy source, on the barren rock of the moon where there is no wind, no buried fossil fuels, or known nuclear resources, where would you get your energy? Students will learn how to answer these questions as they learn about the solar system, design and build a space colony, and then apply what they have learned to life on earth.
Grade 4: Human Air Traffic Control
The job of managing and controlling airspace falls on the air traffic controllers (ATC) who coordinate the movements of thousands of airplanes, directing them during takeoffs and landings, as well as keeping them safe distances from each other both in flight and when landing. Students will learn how to use radio protocol or guidelines that NASA astronauts, air traffic controllers, pilots, the military, and others use to communicate more effectively. They will act as an air traffic controller in a simulation that uses radio communication to land model airplanes.
Grade 5: Designing My Rover!
Through hands-on projects, students explore the science of robots and wireless communication, which is the movement of information and objects using remote control and sensing devices. Students acquire knowledge and skills in basic design and explore the impact of wireless communication in the field of aerospace engineering and on our lives. They design and prepare a prototype of a remote vehicle that will be built and programmed in the next lesson.
Grade 5: Wireless Communication
Building on what students learned regarding remote control devices in the Designing My Rover! Lesson, students will learn about the steps of the design process involving building a working model. After building their rover, students will simulate its control and use when in space or on a different planet. Depending on time, students will be encouraged to adjust their designs based on the tests of their models.
The elementary lessons are packaged in two ways:
- Each grade is packaged as a stand alone delivery method
- All lessons are packaged together to be used in a sequence
The method chosen to implement is a school choice.
Note: The fictional stories are written to follow a sequence. In the grade 3 Lesson, the fictional story is embedded within the lesson. Grade 4 and grade 5 the fictional stories are written to be incorporated either as stand-alone reading assignments or the teacher may opt to have students read some sections in class, individually, or as homework.
The flexible elementary school program provides schools with an opportunity to implement the five lessons in a variety of ways. Schools are encouraged to offer the first lesson in grade 3, but they may decide to spread the lessons through a single grade, such as grade 5. For maximum impact on student achievement, the elementary curriculum should be combined with a challenging academic curriculum in which:
Students complete mathematics successfully and the lessons are coordinated with the Elementary Lessons™ program;
Students use laboratory and technology experiences to learn scientific concepts in physical, life and earth or space sciences;
Reading instruction is included and students are encouraged to read from the Reading Across the Curriculum listing of recommended books; and
Students use language correctly and effectively to find, organize and report information through reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
Students are encouraged to learn the value of working individually, in pairs, and in teams.